Can Marginal Rates of Substitution Be Inferred from Happiness Data? Evidence from Residency Choices Journal Article uri icon



  • We survey 561 students from US medical schools shortly after they submit choice rankings over residencies to the National Resident Matching Program. We elicit (i) these choice rankings, (ii) anticipated subjective well-being (SWB) rankings, and (iii) expected features of the residencies (such as prestige). We find substantial differences between choice and anticipated-SWB rankings in the implied trade-offs between residency features. In our data, evaluative SWB measures (life satisfaction and Cantril's Ladder) imply trade-offs closer to choice than does affective happiness (even time-integrated), and as close as do multimeasure SWB indices. We discuss implications for using SWB data in applied work. (JEL D12, I31)

publication date

  • November 1, 2014

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • March 12, 2017 2:08 AM

Full Author List

  • Benjamin DJ; Heffetz O; Kimball MS; Rees-Jones A

author count

  • 4

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-8282

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 3498

end page

  • 3528


  • 104


  • 11