- Jeff Frank M.S. Candidate Community Development and Applied Economics University of Vermont The Metrics of Happiness: Assessing Subjective Well-Being using Anchoring Vignette Surveys
To see if we can use an adapted version of the Anchoring Vignette survey technique to measure happiness in a way that will offer elasticity values for the contributing factors of happiness as well as a a workable social utility function.
Terminology: Happiness = Subjective Well-Being
How it’s currently done
ESM – Experience Sampling Method
Edgeworth’s Hedonimeter device
DRM - Day Reconstruction Method
- Remembrance of things past, synthetic happiness
- Happiness through unhappiness, default state +
- Jevons, fMRI, neuro-parameters,
- (aka How yu doin?), ordinal categories
Self-Assessment Surveys with Ordinal Categories
“ Taken all together, how would you say things are these days – would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?”
General Social Survey (Davis, Smith and Marsden, 2001)
What’s wrong with Self-Assessment?
Ordinal category response surveys aren’t very good at big self-assessment topics like Happiness.
People have bias embedded in their self-assessments.
Positive : “Paul has a normal life and a very loving family. How happy is Paul?” 0___________________________________________________100 ||||||||||1|||||||||2||||||||||3||||||||||4|||||||||5|||||||||||6|||||||||||7|||||||||8||||||||||9|||||||||| Negative: “Kim has a normal life but has no family at all. How happy is Kim?” 0___________________________________________________100 ||||||||||1|||||||||2||||||||||3||||||||||4|||||||||5|||||||||||6|||||||||||7|||||||||8||||||||||9||||||||||
Finding Variable Elasticities % Chg Q % Chg P = % Chg Happiness = (High-Low)/ Low % Chg Variable = 100% Def Elasticity: The measure of the percentage change in one variable brought about by a 1% change in another variable. 0____________|____________________|__________________100 ||||||||||1|||||||||2||||||||||3||||||||||4||||||||||5|||||||||||6|||||||||||7||||||||||8||||||||||9|||||||||| Low Family =25, High Family =65 %Chg F = 1.6 E(H,F) = 1.6 / 1 = 1.6 Means that a 1% increase in Family will result in a 1.6% increase in overall happiness.
Two-Input CES Function:
Q(x,y) = γ ∙[ β ∙x ρ + (1- β )∙y ρ ] 1/ ρ
Cobb-Douglas Utility Function:
Y = AL α K β
Need to understand substitutability of inputs
Substitutability of Inputs
Comparing each match, which makes you more happy?
Marriage = M Intelligence = I Spirituality = S Family = F Wealth = W Volunteering = V Extroversion = X Aesthetics = A Job satisfaction = J J J A J X X J V X V J W X V W F F F F F F J A X V S F S J I X I I F S I M M M M M F M I M J A X V W F S I M
Results of Priority Matrix
Family = 8
Marriage = 6
Job Satisfaction = 6
Extroversion = 5
Intelligence = 4
Volunteerism = 3
Spirituality = 2
Wealth = 1
Aesthetics = 1
F = 1 M = 0.75 J = 0.75 X = 0.625 I = 0.5 V = 0.375 S = 0.25 W = 0.125 A = 0.125 Variable Priority 8 H f(M) = 0.75 M ^ 1.6
N = 21 Elasticities
Marriage = 0.404
Intelligence = -0.055
Spirituality = 0.182
Family = 0.483
Wealth = 0.241
Volunteering = 0.157
Extroversion = 0.328
Aesthetics = 0.243
Estimating Real Happiness
We can estimate Real Happiness to compare with Reported Happiness using census and biographic data to apply to our Happiness function.
Difference between Real an Reported is presence of DIF
Uses and Policy Implications
Could help prioritize social programs by identifying what actions will cause best results.
Identifies negatives of threats to these variables.
Identify policy directives, inclusion of well-being.
Offers hard measures for well-being valuation.
Can help define: Development
Help identify community and international development goals.