Chloé Michel, Michelle Sovinsky, Eugenio Proto, Andrew Oswald, 27 May 2019

Although the negative impact of conspicuous consumption has been discussed for more than a century, the link between advertising and individual is not well understood. This column uses longitudinal data for 27 countries in Europe linking change in life satisfaction to variation in advertising spend. The results show a large negative correlation that cannot be attributed to the business cycle or individual characteristics.

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.

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