Happier Than Them, but More of Them Are Happy: Aggregating Subjective Well-Being

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April 2019
Paper author(s): 
Cristina Sechel
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness

This paper proposes the use of headcount-based indicators for the measurement of national Subjective Well-Being (SWB). It provides a methodological contribution to the challenge of threshold selection for headcount measures using Cognitive Dissonance Theory operationalised using life satisfaction data from World/Eurpean Values Surveys. A Betaregression approach is employed to explore the empirical relationships between national SWB and objective measures of well-being contributing to the empirical literature on social indicators. The use of this model is novel in this context. The findings reveal relationships between objective measures of development and SWB that are not apparent when average national SWB is used. For example, I find no significant link between national income and the share of satisfied individuals.


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