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

Daniel Benjamin, Ori Heffetz, Miles Kimball and Nichole Szembrot

American Economic Review, 2014, vol. 104, issue 9, 2698-2735

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 for aspects related to family, health, security, values, freedom, happiness, and life satisfaction.

JEL-codes: C43 C83 D12 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.9.2698
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