Alex Bryson, David Blanchflower, 11 January 2022

Pulse rates have been overlooked as a potentially valuable way of capturing individuals’ wellbeing. The value of pulse rate as a wellbeing metric is that, unlike subjective wellbeing metrics, it is recorded on an objective cardinal scale. This column uses empirical analyses of the English and Scottish Health Surveys and the 1958 National Child Development Study to show pulse is highly correlated with subjective wellbeing, that pulse equations look very similar to those for subjective wellbeing, and that pulse is predictive of subjective wellbeing and labour market outcomes later in life.

Le-Yu Chen, Ekaterina Oparina, Nattavudh Powdthavee, Sorawoot Srisuma, 18 March 2019

Recent critiques of wellbeing research have shown that mean comparisons of reported and latent happiness across groups are valid only under strong assumptions that are usually rejected by the data. This leads to scepticism over whether econometric analysis of wellbeing data can be used to inform policy. This column suggests using the median rather than the mean, because the median ranking is stable across all increasing transformations. When focusing on the median of wellbeing data, the Easterlin Paradox still holds.

Federica Liberini, Eugenio Proto, Michela Redoano, 15 November 2013

Retrospective voting – voting for incumbents if one’s situation has improved under the politician’s watch – is a well-established pattern. This column shows that this pattern also applies when ‘improvement’ is measured by a subjective measure of well-being. Among the stark results discussed is the finding that newly widowed women are 10% less likely to be pro-incumbent than the control group.


CEPR Policy Research