Does information affect reported life satisfaction?

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master's thesis
Title Does information affect reported life satisfaction?
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
I investigate the impact of information about the distribution of income on reported life satisfaction. A general model is proposed that explains the data generating process behind reported life satisfaction as a function of comparison with others. I test whether actual or perceived position in the income distribution is of greater influence on reported life satisfaction and find significant evidence to suggest that perception is the more important of the two. I show that this conclusion is robust to the inclusion of controls for a number of related measures of welfare. This evidence adds to the current consensus within economics that opposes the use of life satisfaction data in an index along the lines of the index of `Gross National Happiness'.

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