Does Being Well-Off Make Us Happier? Problems of Measurement
Jiri Zuzanek
Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

The paper uses time use data collected between 1998 and 2005 by Statistics Canada and experience sampling data collected during the same period at the University of Waterloo to examine relationships between economic growth, household income, and subjective sense of well-being. The paper puts to test two propositions made by Easterlin (1974), namely that personal and household incomes correlate positively with subjective well-being, but this does not apply to the relationship between perceived well-being and societal economic growth. Specifically, the paper examines: (a) whether the use of “process benefits” (Juster, 1990) and “process benefits” measures of subjective well-being (Kahneman & Krueger, 2006) alters Easterlin's observations about the effects of income on perceived well-being, and (b) whether retrospective enjoyment ratings of daily activities foretell a cumulative impact of respondents' time use on their overall sense of well-being?

Keywords: Economic growth; Household income; Time use; Subjective well-being

Biography: Dr. Jiri Zuzanek is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences of the University of Waterloo (Canada). His main area of interest are relationships between time use, time pressure, emotional well-being and health as reflected in time diary and Experience Sampling surveys.