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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

No 18374, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

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 not only for happiness and life satisfaction, but also for aspects related to family, health, security, values, and freedoms.

JEL-codes: A13 D69 E01 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap
Note: AG PE
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Published as Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Nichole Szembrot, 2014. "Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2698-2735, September.

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