No book is complete without an epilogue. Let us now look back to see how far we have come in this book, and let us also look ahead.
In this book we embarked on a systematic exploration of so-called satisfaction questions. Satisfaction questions probe feelings of satisfaction with various aspects of life. They refer to our health, our job, our financial situation, etc. Similar questions can be posed referring to matters which are not so directly related to our own situation. For instance, we can ask for an evaluation of government policy. There, we can distinguish between how government policy affects our own situation and how the policy affects the situation of the country. It could also be that we ask people for an evaluation of a fictitious situation, such as how they would evaluate an income 20 percent below their actual income. In the latter case, when we ask for an evaluation of the prevailing and/or fictitious situations, etc., we try to get insight into the individual norms of individuals. We can also ask for evaluations of events like a concert, a football match, etc. Such questions provide information on personal feelings, the character of the respondent, and, last but not least, about the appreciation by the respondent of the item which has to be evaluated, say the evaluandum.
There already exists a long tradition in psychology and sociology with respect to this type of questions. Apart from primary analysis, the answers have also been analysed by means of multivariate models like factor analysis and principal components, but economists have always distrusted the validity and the information value of such questions. As a consequence, the typical tools of econometrics, namely the regression-type models in which dependent variables are singled out and 'explained' by a set of explanatory variables, have not been systematically applied for the analysis of satisfaction questions, although some economists, notably Oswald and Clark, and Frey in the last decade, have applied probit and logit analysis. These questions have not been systematically analysed by means of models in the sense that economists give to this word. In this book we tried to develop and to apply a methodology by which we can