Monetary Valuations of Life Conditions in a Consistent Framework: The Life Satisfaction Approach
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The life satisfaction approach (LSA) enables researchers to attach monetary values to nonmarket circumstances that affect people’s life satisfaction. Previous studies employ LSA to examine how the environment, health, and social capital, etc. affect life satisfaction. This study focuses on the OECD Better Life Index and intends to evaluate more comprehensive socioeconomic characteristics. Considering comprehensive factors about life enables us to avoid biased estimation. This study also considers more consistent estimation methods. Previous studies tend to attach monetary valuations in different settings. Thus, it is difficult to compare the effects of different socioeconomic circumstances. This study employs LSA to estimate the happiness functions of Japanese survey respondents by incorporating extensive socioeconomic characteristics as explanatory variables. Controlling for multiple factors affecting subjective wellbeing, we more accurately attach monetary values to each factor within a consistent analytical framework. By doing so, we assess factors’ relative comparable influence on subjective wellbeing. We adopt three estimation procedures to check robustness against model specifications. Results indicate that respondents value small changes in their socioeconomic circumstances more highly than other factors. Especially, circumstances surrounding quality of life carry higher equivalent monetary valuations than material living standards.
KeywordsHappiness Life satisfaction approach Better Life Index Stochastic frontier Data envelopment analysis
We appreciate Hideyuki Mizobuchi of Ryukoku University for computing results applying DEA. The authors thank Stephanie Rossouw (co-editor), and the anonymous referees for helpful comments.
This research was partially funded by a Grant-in-Aid for Specially Promoted Research (26000001) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan, and Ministry of Environment, Japan. The results and conclusions of this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency.
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