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Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of NationsNational Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being$
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Alan B. Krueger

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226454566

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226454573.001.0001

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Thoughts on “National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life”

Thoughts on “National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life”

(p.227) 8 Thoughts on “National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life”
Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations
Erik Hurst
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses an objection to one of the National Time Accounting (NTA) approaches, that is, some people seek out and want to experience negative emotions. For example, people sometimes pay money to watch movies that make them sad, this is a valid point. Over all episodes of the day, positive emotions and negative ones tend to be inversely correlated. The U-index presumes that an experience is unpleasant if a negative emotion is felt more strongly than a positive one, but this may not be the case for all people all the time. Also, people self-select the activities they engage in. Thus, it is not straightforward to infer that an activity that is rated as highly enjoyable by its average participant will be enjoyable to someone who does not partake in that activity. This type of selection problem is common in economic data, and can be addressed with econometric methods.

Keywords:   National Time Accounting, NTA, negative emotions, positive emotions, U-index, economic data, econometric methods

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