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Does it matter how happiness is measured? Evidence from a randomized controlled experiment


Studer, Raphael (2011). Does it matter how happiness is measured? Evidence from a randomized controlled experiment. Working paper series / Department of Economics No. 49, University of Zurich.

Abstract

A continuous and a discrete rating scale were implemented for a single item happiness question in a representative survey. A randomized controlled experiment enables unique analyses on data quality and distributions, which suggest superiority of the continuous scale. Results raise doubts about earlier inferences drawn on correlates of happiness. So far only self-assessed discrete happiness data have been used for research into the determinants of happiness. However, distribution distortions were found for the numerically labeled discrete scale, especially for women. Through this discretization bias, the widely reported gender happiness inequality puzzle can be explained.

A continuous and a discrete rating scale were implemented for a single item happiness question in a representative survey. A randomized controlled experiment enables unique analyses on data quality and distributions, which suggest superiority of the continuous scale. Results raise doubts about earlier inferences drawn on correlates of happiness. So far only self-assessed discrete happiness data have been used for research into the determinants of happiness. However, distribution distortions were found for the numerically labeled discrete scale, especially for women. Through this discretization bias, the widely reported gender happiness inequality puzzle can be explained.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:C81, I31
Language:English
Date:November 2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:08
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
ISSN:1664-7041
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-51553

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