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Do Danes and Italians Rate Life Satisfaction in the Same Way? Using Vignettes to Correct for Individual-Specific Scale Biases


Self-reported life satisfaction is highly heterogeneous across similar countries. This phenomenon can be largely explained by the di¤erent scales and benchmarks adopted by individuals when evaluating themselves. We use cross-sectional data on the population aged 50 and over in ten European countries to compare estimates from a model in which reporting styles are assumed to be constant across respon- dents with those from a model in which anchoring vignettes are used to correct for individual-speci?c scale biases. We ?nd that variations in response scales explain a large part of the di¤erences found in raw data. Moreover, the cross-country ranking in life satisfaction signi?cantly depends on scale biases.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 11/20.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:11/20
Contact details of provider: Postal: HEDG/HERC, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
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  7. Andrew Clark & Fabrice Etilé & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Claudia Senik & Karine Van Der Straeten, 2004. "Heterogeneity in reported well-being:Evidence from twelve European countries," PSE Working Papers hal-00242916, HAL.
  8. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Kristensen, Nicolai & Pozzoli, Dario, 2009. "External Validation of the Use of Vignettes in Cross-Country Health Studies," IZA Discussion Papers 3989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2009. "Slipping Anchor? Testing the Vignettes Approach to Identification and Correction of Reporting Heterogeneity," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-091/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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  15. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590570 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Kristensen, Nicolai & Johansson, Edvard, 2006. "New Evidence on Cross-Country Differences in Job Satisfaction Using Anchoring Vignettes," Working Papers 06-1, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  17. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
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  22. repec:pse:psecon:2005-43 is not listed on IDEAS
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