How Much Should We Trust Life Satisfaction Data? Evidence from the Life in Transition Survey
39 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2014 Last revised: 15 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 12, 2014
We analyse responses to two similar life satisfaction questions asked during the same interview for each respondent in a major cross-country household survey covering the transition region, Turkey and five Western European countries. We show that while the answers to the two questions are broadly consistent for most people, the responses for some groups differ significantly. Older and less healthy respondents show systematically lower levels of self-reported satisfaction in the later question, as do those living under less democratic, more repressive regimes. We also find evidence that responses to the later question are influenced by preceding questions on socio-economic status and social capital, and that response precision depends on the interviewee's socio-economic status. Our results have important implications for the design and length of household surveys that contain subjective questions.
Keywords: happiness, LiTS, transition region
JEL Classification: D6, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation