Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Smock says cohabitation does not reduce odds of marriage

Smock cited in story on how low marriage rates may exacerbate marriage-status economic inequality

Shapiro says Americans' seemingly volatile spending pattern linked to 'sensible cash management'

Highlights

Susan Murphy named Distinguished University Professor

Sarah Burgard and former PSC trainee Jennifer Ailshire win ASA award for paper

James Jackson to be appointed to NSF's National Science Board

ISR's program in Society, Population, and Environment (SPE) focuses on social change and social issues worldwide.

Next Brown Bag


PSC Brown Bags will return in the fall

What Do You Think Would Make You Happier? What Do You Think You Would Choose?

Publication Abstract

Benjamin, Daniel J., Miles Kimball, O. Heffetz, and A. Rees-Jones. 2012. "What Do You Think Would Make You Happier? What Do You Think You Would Choose?" American Economic Review, 102(5): 2083-2110.

Would people choose what they think would maximize their subjective well-being (SWB)? We present survey respondents with hypothetical scenarios and elicit both choice and predicted SWB rankings of two alternatives. While choice and predicted SWB rankings usually coincide in our data, we find systematic reversals. We identify factors-such as predicted sense of purpose, control over one's life, family happiness, and social status-that help explain hypothetical choice controlling for predicted SWB. We explore how our findings vary by SWB measure and by scenario. Our results have implications regarding the use of SWB survey questions as a proxy for utility.

DOI:10.1257/aer.102.5.2083 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3532045. (Pub Med Central)

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next