Discussion paper / School of Business & Economics ; 2009/12 : Economics
happiness; life satisfaction; income; disutility of labor
We reexamine the claim that the effect of income on subjective well-being suffers from a
systematic downward bias if one ignores that higher income is typically associated with more work effort. We analyze this claim using German panel data, controlling for individual unobserved heterogeneity, and specifying the impact of working hours in a non-monotonic form. Our results suggest that the impact of working hours on happiness is rather small and exhibits an inverse U-shape. We do not find evidence that leaving working hours out of the analysis leads to an underestimation of the income effect.
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