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

Binder, Martin and Coad, Alex (2011) From Average Joe's happiness to Miserable Jane and Cheerful John: using quantile regressions to analyze the full subjective well-being distribution. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 79 (3). pp. 275-290. ISSN 0167-2681

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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.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0511 Affection. Feeling. Emotion
Depositing User: Alex Coad
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2012 11:56
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2012 11:56
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39796
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