The Analysis of Human Feelings: A Practical Suggestion for a Robustness Test

30 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2021

See all articles by Jeffrey Bloem

Jeffrey Bloem

University of Minnesota

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Governments, multinational companies, and researchers today collect unprecedented amounts of data on human feelings. These data provide information on citizens' happiness, levels of customer satisfaction, employees' satisfaction, mental stress, societal trust, and other important variables. Yet a key scientific difficulty tends to be downplayed, or even ignored, by many users of such information. Human feelings are not measured in objective cardinal units. This paper aims to address some of the ensuing empirical challenges. It suggests an analytical way to approach the scientific complications of ordinal data. The paper describes a dichotomous-around-the-median (DAM) test, which, crucially, uses information only on direction within an ordering and deliberately discards the potentially unreliable statistical information in ordered data. Applying the proposed DAM approach, the paper demonstrates that it is possible to check and replicate some of the key conclusions of previous research—including earlier work on the effects upon human well-being of higher income.

JEL Classification: C18, C25, I31, I39

Suggested Citation

Bloem, Jeffrey and Oswald, Andrew J., The Analysis of Human Feelings: A Practical Suggestion for a Robustness Test. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3905067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3905067

Jeffrey Bloem (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
523510 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
2
Abstract Views
46
PlumX Metrics