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Can Marginal Rates of Substitution Be Inferred from Happiness Data? Evidence from Residency Choices

Daniel J. Benjamin, Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, Alex Rees-Jones

NBER Working Paper No. 18927
Issued in March 2013, Revised in February 2014

---- Acknowledgments ----

We thank Al Roth for valuable early suggestions, and Matthew Adler, Greg Besharov, Aaron Bodoh- Creed, Angus Deaton, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Dan Gilbert, Sean Nicholson, Ted O'Donoghue, Andrew Oswald, and Richard Thaler for valuable comments. We are grateful to participants at the Cornell Behavioral Economics Research Group, Cornell Behavioral/Experimental Lab Meetings, UCLA/UCSB Conference on Field Experiments, Michigan Retirement Research Center Annual Meeting, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics, AEA Annual Meeting, Duke Law School New Scholarship on Happiness Conference, FMSH Workshop on Well-Being and Preferences, Whitebox Advisors Graduate Student Conference, and NBER Summer Institute, as well as seminar audiences at Chicago Booth, Cornell, Hebrew University, Ben-Gurion University, and Princeton for helpful comments. We thank Allison Ettinger, Matt Hoffman, and Andrew Sung for outstanding research assistance. Thoughtful suggestions by the editor and anonymous referees substantially improved the paper. We are grateful to NIH/NIA grants R01-AG040787 and R01-AG020717-07 to the University of Michigan and T32-AG00186 to the NBER, and to the S. C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, for financial support. This project was approved by the Cornell University IRB. The authors declare that they have no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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