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The financial crisis and the well-being of Americans

Angus Deaton ()

Oxford Economic Papers, 2012, vol. 64, issue 1, 1-26

Abstract: I use daily data on self-reported well-being (SWB) to examine how the Great Recession affected the emotional and evaluative lives of the population. In the fall of 2008 and lasting into the spring of 2009, at the bottom of the stock market, Americans reported sharp declines in their life evaluation, sharp increases in worry and stress, and declines in positive affect. By the end of 2010, in spite of continuing high unemployment, these measures had largely recovered. The SWB measures do a better job of monitoring short-run levels of anxiety than the medium-term evolution of the economy. Even very large macroeconomic shocks will cause small and hard to detect effects on SWB. Life evaluation questions are extremely sensitive to question order effects--asking political questions first reduces reported life evaluation by an amount that dwarfs the effects of even the worst of the crisis. Copyright 2012 Oxford University Press 2011 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2012
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Chapter: The Financial Crisis and the Well-Being of America (2011) Downloads
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