A considerable amount of recent research has focused on cross-country differences in subjective well- being or life satisfaction, but mostly limited to comparisons of Europe and the U.S. A fundamental problem in all international comparisons-cross-sectional and time series analyses-of subjective well-being is that one has to assume that response scales are the same across countries, across time, and across groups of respondents within a country. However, residents of different countries may differ in the subjective thresholds they use in demarcating satisfaction into discrete categories. To address the issue of comparability of response scales across countries, we will exploit a vignette methodology that allows identification of response scale differences within and between countries. Vignettes can be used to make response scales comparable. In this project we will administer vignettes to respondents in the Gallup World Poll (GWP). Vignette responses will also be used to better understand and correct differences in response scales across countries and socio-economic groups within countries. We will extend the reach of previous analysis by administering life satisfaction vignettes to respondents in about 120 countries in the GWP over the course of four years providing data for approximately 120,000 respondents all over the world. In addition, we will place repeat vignettes into a subset of those countries in the fifth year. These vignettes will present hypothetical scenarios covering four key life domains: income, family relations, job, and health. These domains are chosen because the current literature has documented them as key determinants of overall life satisfaction.
It is important to know the determinants of life satisfaction and well-being across nations of the world. To provide valid ranking for ranking of well being, it is necessary to correct for cultural differences in how people answer subjective questions. To accomplish this aim, we will administer life satisfaction vignettes to respondents in about 120 countries using the Gallup World survey providing data for approximately 120,000 respondents all over the world.