Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Wellbeing
This paper analyzes the effects of business cycle volatility on measures of subjective well-being, including self-reported happiness and life satisfaction. I find robust evidence that high inflation and, to a greater extent, unemployment lower perceived well-being. Greater macroeconomic volatility also undermines well-being. These effects are moderate but important: eliminating unemployment volatility would raise well-being by an amount roughly equal to that from lowering the average level of unemployment by a quarter of a percentage point. The effects of inflation volatility on well-being are less easy to detect and are likely smaller.
Published: Wolfers, Justin. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence From Surveys Of Subjective Well-Being," International Finance, 2003, v6(1,Apr), 1-26.