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ISER Working Paper Series 2008-39

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! Survey design and the analysis of satisfaction

Authors

Publication date

01 Nov 2008

Abstract

Surveys differ in the way they measure satisfaction and happiness, so comparative research findings are vulnerable to distortion by survey design differences. We examine this using the British Household Panel Survey, exploiting its changes in question design and parallel use of different interview modes. We find significant biases in econometric results, particularly for gender differences in attitudes to the wage and hours of work. Results suggest that the common empirical finding that women care less than men about their wage and more about their hours may be an artifact of survey design rather than a real behavioural difference.

Subjects

Survey Methodology, Wages And Earnings, and Well Being

Notes

working paper

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Related publications

  1. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! Survey design and the analysis of satisfaction

    Gabriella Conti and Stephen Pudney

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