Happiness Quantified: A Satisfaction Calculus Approach

By Bernard Van Praag; Ada Ferrer-I-Carbonell | Go to book overview

Aggregation of satisfactions

This chapter is partly based on Van Praag, Frijters, and Ferrer-i-Carbonell (2003).

As we pointed out in Chapter 1 we can distinguish various life domains and, on top of that, 'life as a whole'. We can evaluate our satisfaction with respect to these separate domains in numerical terms; similarly, we can evaluate our satisfaction with 'life as a whole'. We call the latter concept 'general satisfaction', or GS for short. We are aware of the fact that some people will express their doubts as to whether it is possible to evaluate the quality of their 'life as a whole'. And even if it is thought possible, some may have reservations about the validity of such answers. However, we observe that thousands of respondents apparently have no difficulty in answering such a question, and that those responses seem to be comparable. Hence, we will accept this as empirical evidence that respondents are able to evaluate their life and that those responses lend themselves to scientific analysis.

General satisfaction can be analyzed as a domain satisfaction (DS), as we did in the previous chapter. We shall start by doing that. A second approach is to consider GS as an aggregate of all the DS. If our satisfaction with respect to one domain increases, this should imply that our GS increases as well under ceteris paribus conditions. That means that not only our variable to be explained is a satisfaction but that our explanatory variables are (domain) satisfactions as well. We do not know of this approach in the existing literature. Hence, we are interested not only in the estimated relationship but in the methodology as well.

Moreover, in the British data set there is not only a question on job satisfaction (JS) as such but there are also questions posed with respect to several aspects of the job values; job sub-domains, so to speak. We may then consider JS itself as an aggregate of satisfaction with respect to those separate sub-domains. Hence, in this chapter we apply the aggregating approach to JS as an aggregate of various job sub-domain satisfactions.

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Happiness Quantified: A Satisfaction Calculus Approach
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • A Satisfaction Calculus Approach iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Analysis of Income Satisfaction 15
  • Domain Satisfactions 44
  • Aggregation of Satisfactions 77
  • Political Satisfaction 96
  • Males, Females, and Households 114
  • Impact of Past and Future on Satisfaction 136
  • Influence of the Reference Group on Norms 158
  • Health and Subjective Well-Being 177
  • Effects of Climate on Welfare and Well-Being 205
  • Compensations for Aircraft Noise Nuisance 219
  • Taxation and Well-Being 239
  • Subjective Income Inequalities 263
  • Subjective Inequalitiesgeneralized Approach 281
  • Poverty 291
  • Epilogue 318
  • References 323
  • Index 333
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