Can Marginal Rates of Substitution Be Inferred from Happiness Data? Evidence from Residency Choices release_yqx5w4k72zfhjiwpslovaefmuq

by Daniel J. Benjamin, Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, Alex Rees-Jones

Published in The American Economic Review by American Economic Association.

2014   Volume 104, Issue 11, p3498-3528


We survey 561 students from U.S. medical schools shortly after they submit choice rankings over residencies to the National Resident Matching Program. We elicit (a) these choice rankings, (b) anticipated subjective well-being (SWB) rankings, and (c) expected features of the residencies (such as prestige). We find substantial differences between choice and anticipated-SWB rankings in the implied tradeoffs between residency features. In our data, evaluative SWB measures (life satisfaction and Cantril's ladder) imply tradeoffs closer to choice than does affective happiness (even time-integrated), and as close as do multi-measure SWB indices. We discuss implications for using SWB data in applied work.
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Type  article-journal
Stage   published
Year   2014
Language   en ?
DOI  10.1257/aer.104.11.3498
PubMed  25404759
PMC  PMC4231441
Wikidata  Q30870363
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ISSN-L:  0002-8282
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