I'm unhappy because (a) I'm poor, (b) the S&P tanked, (c) it's 3:00 PM, (d) all of the above

Following up on our post on income vs happiness, there's more research coming out this week: time vs. happiness (Science) and stock market vs. happiness (NBER).

Scott A. Golder & Michael W. Macy

Abstract: We identified individual-level diurnal and seasonal mood rhythms in cultures across the globe, using data from millions of public Twitter messages. We found that individuals awaken in a good mood that deteriorates as the day progresses—which is consistent with the effects of sleep and circadian rhythm—and that seasonal change in baseline positive affect varies with change in daylength. People are happier on weekends, but the morning peak in positive affect is delayed by 2 hours, which suggests that people awaken later on weekends.

Hourly changes in individual affect broken down by day of the week (top, PA; bottom, NA). Each series shows mean affect (black lines) and 95% confidence interval (colored regions). Credit: Science

The Financial Crisis and the Well-Being of Americans
Angus S. Deaton

Abstract: The Great Recession was associated with large changes in income, wealth, and unemployment, changes that affected many lives. Since January 2008, the Gallup Organization has been collecting daily data on 1,000 Americans each day, with a range of self-reported well-being (SWB) questions. I use these data to examine how the recession affected the emotional and evaluative lives of the population, as well as of subgroups within it. In the fall of 2008, around the time of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and lasting into the spring of 2009, at the bottom of the stock market, Americans reported sharp declines in their life evaluation, sharp increases in worry and stress, and declines in positive affect. By the end of 2010, in spite of continuing high unemployment, these measures had largely recovered, though worry remained higher and life evaluation lower than in January 2008. The SWB measures do a much better job of monitoring short-run levels of anxiety as the crisis unfolded than they do of reflecting the evolution of the economy over a year or two. Even large macroeconomic shocks to income and unemployment can be expected to produce only small and hard to detect effects on SWB measures. SWB, particularly evaluation of life as a whole, is sensitive to question order effects. Asking political questions before the life evaluation question reduces reported life evaluation by an amount that dwarfs the effects of even the worst of the crisis; these order effects persist deep into the interview, and condition the reporting of hedonic experience and of satisfaction with standard of living. Methods for controlling these effects need to be developed and tested if national measures are to be comparable over space and time.

"ladder" is a measure of positive feelings about one's life evaluation.

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