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The Causal Relationship between Individual’s Choice Behavior and Self-Reported Satisfaction: the Case of Residential Mobility in the EU


  • Luis Diaz-Serrano

    () (IZA, CREB, GRIT. Department of Economics. Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Av. de la Universitat, 1. 43204 Reus (SPAIN).)

  • Alexandrina P. Stoyanova

    () (CREB, Department of Economic Theory. Universitat de Barcelona. Av. Diagonal, 690. 08028 Barcelona (SPAIN).)


One of the most persistent and lasting debates in economic research refers to whether the answers to subjective questions can be used to explain individuals’ economic behavior. Using panel data for twelve EU countries, in the present study we analyze the causal relationship between self-reported housing satisfaction and residential mobility. Our results indicate that: i) households unsatisfied with their current housing situation are more likely to move; ii) housing satisfaction raises after a move, and; iii) housing satisfaction increases with the transition from being a renter to becoming a homeowner. Some interesting cross-country differences are observed. Our findings provide evidence in favor of use of subjective indicators of satisfaction with certain life domains in the analysis of individuals’ economic conduct.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Diaz-Serrano & Alexandrina P. Stoyanova, 2008. "The Causal Relationship between Individual’s Choice Behavior and Self-Reported Satisfaction: the Case of Residential Mobility in the EU," Working Papers XREAP2008-02, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Mar 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrp:wpaper:xreap2008-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-141, May.
    2. Bernard M.S. van Praag & Paul Frijters, 1999. "The measurement of welfare and well-being; the Leyden approach," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 071a, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    3. Frijters, Paul, 2000. "Do individuals try to maximize general satisfaction?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 281-304, June.
    4. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    5. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
    6. Chung, Eui-Chul & Haurin, Donald R., 2002. "Housing choices and uncertainty: the impact of stochastic events," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 193-216, September.
    7. Holly Barcus, 2004. "Urban-Rural Migration in the USA: An Analysis of Residential Satisfaction," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(6), pages 643-657.
    8. Alex Bryson & Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora, 2004. "Does Union Membership Really Reduce Job Satisfaction?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 439-459, September.
    9. Clark, Andrew E., 2001. "What really matters in a job? Hedonic measurement using quit data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 223-242, May.
    10. Clark, Andrew E., 1997. "Job satisfaction and gender: Why are women so happy at work?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 341-372, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Díaz Serrano, Luis, 2008. "Individual Aspirations and Satisfaction:Quantifying the Importance of Homeownership," Working Papers 2072/13268, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    2. Díaz Serrano, Luis & Ferrer Carbonell, Ada & Hartog, Joop, 2009. "Disentangling the Housing Satisfaction Puzzle: Does Homeownership Really Matter?," Working Papers 2072/42898, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Housing satisfaction; residential mobility; homeownership; individual’s choice behavior.;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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