Knowing What is Good for You. Empirical Analysis of Personal Preferences and the 'Objective Good'
European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research
The paper argues that there is a valuable overlap between "objective good" and people's preferences over basic needs. Firstly, using survey data with 30,000 observations from twenty European countries I analyse the determinants of individual's "experienced utility". The proxy for utility is overall life satisfaction. The results indicate that the commonly used measures of well-being - labour market situation, health, housing conditions and social relations - significantly influence people's satisfaction, ceteris paribus. Secondly, the stability of preferences is tested using Hungarian data from the 1990s. The results indicate that there was only very limited change in the relationship between measures of objective well-being and life satisfaction despite the landslide of societal and economic transformation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: Quality of life, capabilities, happiness, basic needs, economic transition
JEL Classification: D63, I31, P36working papers series
Date posted: November 1, 2004
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