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Journal article
When experienced and decision utility concur: The case of income comparisons

October 2017
Paper No' :

Tags: discrete-choice experiments; income comparisons; reference-group income; satisfaction

While there is now something of a consensus in the economics of happiness literature that income comparisons to others help determine subjective well-being, debate continues over the relative importance of own and reference-group income, in particular in research on the Easterlin paradox. The variety of results in this domain have produced some scepticism regarding happiness analysis, and in particular with respect to the measurement of reference-group income. We here use data from an original Internet survey in Japan to compare the relative-income results from happiness regressions to those from hypothetical-choice experiments. This kind of validation of experienced utility via direct comparison with decision utility remains rare in this literature. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.