Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2120784
 
 

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Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference


Daniel J. Benjamin


Cornell University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ori Heffetz


Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Miles S. Kimball


University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nichole Szembrot


Cornell University - Department of Economics

December 12, 2013

American Economic Review, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
This paper proposes foundations and a methodology for survey-based tracking of well-being. First, we develop a theory in which utility depends on “fundamental aspects” of well-being, measurable with surveys. Second, drawing from psychologists, philosophers, and economists, we compile a comprehensive list of such aspects. Third, we demonstrate our proposed method for estimating the aspects’ relative marginal utilities — a necessary input for constructing an individual-level well-being index — by asking ~4,600 U.S. survey respondents to state their preference between pairs of aspect bundles. We estimate high relative marginal utilities not only for happiness and life satisfaction, but also for aspects related to family, health, security, values, and freedoms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, subjective well-being, stated preference, well-being index

JEL Classification: A13, D69, E01, I31

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: July 31, 2012 ; Last revised: December 20, 2013

Suggested Citation

Benjamin, Daniel J. and Heffetz, Ori and Kimball, Miles S. and Szembrot, Nichole, Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference (December 12, 2013). American Economic Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2120784 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2120784

Contact Information

Daniel J. Benjamin
Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )
414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Ori Heffetz (Contact Author)
Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )
324 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607.255.4668 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/faculty/profiles/heffetz/
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Miles S. Kimball
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )
611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States
734-764-2375 (Phone)
734-764-2769 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Nichole Szembrot
Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )
414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
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