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Do people exaggerate how happy they are? Using a promise to induce truth-telling

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Fredrik Carlsson
Mitesh Kataria
Publicerad i Oxford Economic Papers
Volym 70
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 784-798
ISSN 0030-7653
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för nationalekonomi med statistik
Sidor 784-798
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1093/oep/gpy003
Ämneskategorier Nationalekonomi

Sammanfattning

We investigate a novel approach to reduce measurement error in subjective well-being (SWB) data. Using a between-subject design, half of the subjects are asked to promise to answer the survey questions truthfully to make them commit to truth-telling. We find a statistically significant difference between mean stated well-being between the two samples (with and without a promise). People are consistently found to exaggerate their happiness and for several different aspects of life, without a promise. We then investigate to what extent the differences in stated well-being also affect the inference from regressions models on the determinants of SWB. The effect on the covariates are only weakly statistically significant and only for a few variables, if we compare the samples with and without the promise. Thus, this means that the policy implications based on an SWB study only marginally depends on whether we include a truth-telling question or not.

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