Who Settles for Less? Subjective Dispositions, Objective Circumstances, and Housing Satisfaction
- 524 Downloads
In recent years there has been growing interest in individuals’ self-perceptions of their wellbeing on the grounds that these complement well-established objective indicators of welfare. However, individuals’ assessments depend on both objective circumstances and subjective, idiosyncratic dispositions, such as aspirations and expectations. We add to the literature by formulating a modelling strategy that uncovers how these subjective dispositions differ across socio-demographic groups. This is then tested using housing satisfaction data from a large-scale household panel survey from Australia. We find that there are significant differences in the way in which individuals with different characteristics rate the same objective reality. For instance, male, older, migrant, and Indigenous individuals rate equal housing conditions more favourably than female, younger, Australian-born, and non-Indigenous individuals. These findings have important implications for how self-reported housing satisfaction, and wellbeing data in general, are to be used to inform evidence-based policy.
KeywordsWellbeing Satisfaction Housing Subjective dispositions Housing conditions Fixed effects
We would like to thank Mark Western, Cameron Parsell, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier draft which substantively improved this work. This paper uses data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.
- Campbell, A., Converse, P., & Rodgers, W. (1976). The quality of American life. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
- Clark, A. E. (2007). Born to be mild? Cohort effects don’t (fully) explain why well-being is U-shaped in age. IZA discussion paper no. 3170.Google Scholar
- Easterlin, R. A. (2003). Happiness of women and men in later life: Nature, determinants, and prospects’. In M. J. Sirgy, D. Rahtz, & A. C. Samli (Eds.), Advances in quality-of-life theory and research. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
- Francescato, G., Weidemann, S., Anderson, J. R., & Chenoweth, R. (1974). Evaluating residents’ satisfaction in housing for low and moderate income families: A multi-method approach. In D. H. Carson (Ed.), Man-environment interactions: Evaluation and applications. Washington: Environmental Design Research Association.Google Scholar
- Frey, B., & Stutzer, A. (2002). Happiness and economics: How the economy and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Jacobs, D., Wilson, J., Dixon, S., Smith, J., & Evens, A. (2009). The relationship of housing and population health: A 30-year retrospective analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 117, 597–604.Google Scholar
- Jones, K., & Duncan, C. (1996). People and places: The multilevel model as a general framework for the quantitative analysis of geographical data. In P. Longley & M. Batty (Eds.), Spatial analysis: Modelling in a GIS environment. Cambridge: Geoinformation International.Google Scholar
- Marcelli, E., & Easterlin, R. (2005). Beyond gender differences in US life cycle happiness. Working papers 2, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston.Google Scholar
- Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. (2012). HILDA survey annual report 2011. Available online at: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/hilda/Annual_Report/areport2011.pdf.
- Merton, R. K. (1957). Continuities in the theory of reference groups and social structure. In R. K. Merton (Ed.), Social theory and social structure. Glencoe: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Morgan, S. L. (2006). Expectations and aspirations. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), The Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2011). Housing conditions. In How’s life? Measuring well-being. OECD Publishing. Google Scholar
- Robinson, J., & Godbey, G. (1997). The surprising ways americans use their time. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
- Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). Sydney: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Tomaszewski, W., Meiklejohn, C., Smith, A., & Haynes, M. (2013) Residential mobility in later life and its links with housing conditions and wellbeing of older people. In 7th Australasian housing researchers’ conference.Google Scholar
- Waldron, S. (2010). Measuring subjective wellbeing in the UK. ONS working paper, Newport: ONS.Google Scholar
- Weidemann, S., & Anderson, J. (1985). A conceptual framework for residential satisfaction. In I. Altman & C. Werner (Eds.), Home environments. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar