Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/170891
Authors: 
Akay, Alpaslan
Bargain, Olivier
Jara, Xavier
Year of Publication: 
2017
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers 10907
Abstract: 
Subjective well-being (SWB) data is increasingly used to perform welfare analyses. Interpreted as 'experienced utility', SWB has recently been compared to 'decision utility' using specific experiments, most often based on stated preferences. Results point to an overall congruence between these two types of welfare measures. We question whether these findings hold in the more general framework of non-experimental and large-scale data, i.e. the setting commonly used for policy analysis. For individuals in the British household panel, we compare the ordinal preferences either "revealed" from their labor supply decisions or elicited from their reported SWB. The results show striking similarities on average, reflecting the fact that a majority of individuals made decisions that are consistent with SWB maximization. Differences between the two welfare measures arise for particular subgroups, lending themselves to intuitive explanations that we illustrate for specific factors (health and labor market constraints, 'focusing illusion', aspirations).
Subjects: 
decision utility
experienced utility
labor supply
subjective well-being
JEL: 
C90
I31
J22
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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