Measuring Cross-National Differences in Subjective Wellbeing

Jason Riis, New York University, USA
Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, USA
In light of studies showing that differences in life circumstances contribute relatively little to subjective well-being, large cross-national differences in life satisfaction are quite surprising. As evidence that these differences are not based on real differences in moment-to-moment experience, we appeal to the large discrepancy between subjective and objective national indicators of health. Analyses of these health data strongly suggest that national differences in life satisfaction (at least between wealthy, developed countries) are due to response style artifacts. We discuss a new, time-based measure of well-being that is less prone to response style artifacts.
[ to cite ]:
Jason Riis and Daniel Kahneman (2007) ,"Measuring Cross-National Differences in Subjective Wellbeing", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 355-358.