NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Nichole Szembrot

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Working Papers and Chapters

February 2013Aggregating Local Preferences to Guide Marginal Policy Adjustments
with Daniel J. Benjamin, Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball: w18787
We propose a social choice rule for aggregating preferences elicited from surveys into a marginal adjustment of policy from the status quo. The mechanism is: (i) symmetric in its treatment of survey respondents; (ii) ordinal, using only the orientation of respondents’ indifference surfaces; (iii) local, using only preferences in the neighborhood of current policy; and (iv) what we call “first-order strategy-proof,” making the gains from misreporting preferences second order. The mechanism could be applied to guide policy based on how policy affects responses to subjective well-being surveys.

Published: Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Nichole Szembrot, 2013. "Aggregating Local Preferences to Guide Marginal Policy Adjustments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 605-10, May. citation courtesy of

September 2012Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference
with Daniel J. Benjamin, Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball: w18374
This paper proposes foundations and a methodology for survey-based tracking of well-being. First, we develop a theory in which utility depends on “fundamental aspects” of well-being, measurable with surveys. Second, drawing from psychologists, philosophers, and economists, we compile a comprehensive list of such aspects. Third, we demonstrate our proposed method for estimating the aspects’ relative marginal utilities—a necessary input for constructing an individual-level well-being index—by asking ~4,600 U.S. survey respondents to state their preference between pairs of aspect bundles. We estimate high relative marginal utilities not only for happiness and life satisfaction, but also for aspects related to family, health, security, values, and freedoms.

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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