Does Weather Really Influence the Measurement of Life Satisfaction?
- 1.2k Downloads
Since the beginning of the nineties, a number of studies indicate that weather conditions at interview day can have an effect on measurement, in particular regarding life satisfaction. In their seminal paper, Schwarz and Clore (J Pers Soc Psychol 45(3):513–523, 1983) show higher reported life satisfaction for sunny days, a finding which is replicated recently by Kämpfer and Mutz (Soc Indic Res 110(2):579–595, 2013). However, both studies are based on relatively small samples (from a few dozen up to 200 cases). We use data of the German Family Panel (pairfam) and local weather data for every respondent to investigate if weather effects on satisfaction measurement can be replicated with a large sample (about 7,000 respondents). In addition to cross-sectional analyses in which we follow closely the approach of Kämpfer and Mutz, we estimate fixed effects regressions to model the effect of weather on individual changes in satisfaction over time. We do neither find an effect of nice weather on the day of the interview on the respondents’ ratings of general life satisfaction nor a consistent effect on any of the other satisfaction measures. These results show that at least with simple weather measures as they have been used as yet a relationship between weather conditions at interview day and answering behavior regarding life satisfaction cannot be found.
KeywordsLife satisfaction Mood Weather Sunshine Measurement error
We thank Josef Brüderl for his support, Daniel Fuss for the data service as well as Klaus Pforr and the reviewers for helpful comments. This paper uses data from the German Family Panel pairfam, coordinated by Josef Brüderl, Johannes Huinink, Bernhard Nauck, and Sabine Walper. Pairfam is funded as long-term project by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
- Barrington-Leigh, C. P. (2008). Weather as a transient influence on survey-reported satisfaction with life. MPRA paper no. 25736.Google Scholar
- Brauns, H., & Steinmann, S. (1999). Educational reform in France, West-Germany and the United Kingdom: Updating the CASMIN educational classification. ZUMA-Nachrichten, 44, 7–45.Google Scholar
- Connolly Pray, M. (2011). Some like it mild and not too wet: The influence of weather on subjective well-being. CIRPÉE working paper, pp. 11–16.Google Scholar
- Guven, C. (2009). Weather and financial risk-taking: Is happiness the channel? SOEP papers on multidisciplinary panel data research no. 218.Google Scholar
- Huinink, J., Brüderl, J., Nauck, B., Walper, S., Castiglioni, L., & Feldhaus, M. (2011). Panel analysis of intimate relationships and family dynamics (pairfam): Conceptual framework and design. Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, 23(1), 77–101.Google Scholar
- Mutz, M., & Kämpfer, S. (2011). …and now the weather: Does weather influence the assessment of political and economic issues? Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 40(4), 208–226.Google Scholar
- Nauck, B., Brüderl, J., Huinink, J., & Walper, S. (2013). Beziehungs- und Familienpanel (pairfam). GESIS Datenarchiv, Köln. ZA5678 Datenfile version 3.1.0, doi: 10.4232/pairfam.56126.96.36.199.
- Schwarz, N. (2012). Feelings-as-information theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 289–308). Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
- Schwarz, N., & Strack, F. (1999). Reports of subjective well-being: Judgmental processes and their methodological implications. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 61–84). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- Wooldridge, J. M. (2003). Introductory econometrics: A modern approach. Mason: Thomson.Google Scholar