, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 7-18
Date: 17 Dec 2008

Time Use and Subjective Well-Being in France and the U.S.

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Social scientists and policymakers have long been interested in comparing the subjective well-being (SWB) of populations over time and across countries, although SWB is hard to define and measure. Nevertheless, attempts have been made to rank countries based on SWB (e.g., Veenhoven 1996; OECD 2005). Cross-country data have also been used to study the effect on SWB of public policies, economic conditions and institutions (e.g., Alesina et al. 2002; Frey and Stutzer 2002; Blanchflower 2007). The most common measure of SWB in these studies is based on a question that asks respondents about their overall level of life satisfaction or happiness. Other measures of SWB include ecological momentary assessment (EMA; Stone et al. 1999) and the day reconstruction method (DRM; Kahneman et al. 2004). These measures collect individuals’ time use and affective experience over time, either using real-time data collection or diary recall methods. An advantage of such time-based SWB data is that they co ...

The authors thank Leandro Carvalho, Amy Krilla and Leila Saboni for excellent research assistance.