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Journal Article

From Average Joe's happiness to Miserable Jane and Cheerful John: using quantile regressions to analyze the full subjective well-being distribution

Authors

Publication date

2011

Abstract

Standard regression techniques are only able to give an incomplete picture of the relationship between subjective well-being and its determinants since the very idea of conventional estimators such as OLS is the averaging out over the whole distribution: studies based on such regression techniques thus are implicitly only interested in Average Joe’s happiness. Using cross-sectional data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) for the year 2006, we apply quantile regressions to analyze effects of a set of explanatory variables on different quantiles of the happiness distribution and compare these results with a standard regression. Among our results we observe a decreasing importance of income, health status and social factors with increasing quantiles of happiness. Another finding is that education has a positive association with happiness at the lower quantiles but a negative association at the upper quantiles. We explore the robustness of our findings in various ways.

Published in

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

Volume and page numbers

79 , 275 -290

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2011.02.005

ISSN

16

Links

http://serlib0.essex.ac.uk/record=b1646363~S5

Notes

Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*

#514142


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