subjective well-being

Author
Abstract

This monograph proposes a new approach for measuring features of society’s subjective
well-being, based on time allocation and affective experience. We call this approach
National Time Accounting (NTA). National Time Accounting is a set of methods for
measuring, comparing and analyzing how people spend and experience their time --
across countries, over historical time, or between groups of people within a country at a
given time. The approach is based on evaluated time use, or the flow of emotional
experience during daily activities. After reviewing evidence on the validity of subjective
well-being measures, we present and evaluate diary-based survey techniques designed to
measure individuals’ emotional experiences and time use. We illustrate NTA with: (1) a
new cross-sectional survey on time use and emotional experience for a representative
sample of 4,000 Americans; (2) historical data on the amount of time devoted to various
activities in the United States since 1965; and (3) a comparison of time use and wellbeing
in the United States and France. In our applications, we focus mainly on the Uindex,
a measure of the percentage of time that people spend in an unpleasant state,
defined as an instance in which the most intense emotion is a negative one. The U-index
helps to overcome some of the limitations of interpersonal comparisons of subjective
well-being. National Time Accounting strikes us as a fertile area for future research
because of advances in subjective measurement and because time use data are now
regularly collected in many countries.

Year of Publication
2008
Number
523
Date Published
04/2008
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
8165
Krueger, A. (2008). National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp0141687h46j (Original work published 04/2008AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of drinking arsenic contaminated water on mental health. Drinking water with an unsafe arsenic level for a prolonged period can lead to arsenicosis and associated illness. Based on rich and newly collected household survey data from Bangladesh, we construct several measures for arsenic contamination that include the actual arsenic level in the respondent’s tubewell (TW), and past institutional arsenic test results as well as their physical and mental health. In contrast to the existing literature, we provide objective measures of arsenic exposure and take advantage of the quasi-randomness of arsenic distribution to account for the potential endogeneity of developing arsenicosis related to possible selection of certain households into using safe or unsafe sources of water. We take the pre-1999 use of TW as an instrument and structural modelling as alternatives for robustness checks. We find that suffering from an arsenicosis symptom is strongly negatively related to mental health, even more so than from other illnesses. While we cannot disentangle the specific mechanisms that drive the results, we do provide a framework for thinking about the role that physiological, social, and psychological factors may play on it.

Year of Publication
2016
Number
607
Date Published
09/2016
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
9836
Zimmermann, K., Chowdhury, S., & Krause, A. (2016). Arsenic Contamination of Drinking Water and Mental Health. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp018w32r809h (Original work published 09/2016AD)
Working Papers