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Author:Wolfers, Justin 

Working Paper
Subjective well-being, income, economic development and growth

We explore the relationships between subjective well-being and income, as seen across individuals within a given country, between countries in a given year, and as a country grows through time. We show that richer individuals in a given country are more satisfied with their lives than are poorer individuals, and establish that this relationship is similar in most countries around the world. Turning to the relationship between countries, we show that average life satisfaction is higher in countries with greater GDP per capita. The magnitude of the satisfaction-income gradient is roughly the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2010-28

Working Paper
Macroeconomic derivatives: an initial analysis of market-based macro forecasts, uncertainty, and risk

In September 2002, a new market in "Economic Derivatives" was launched allowing traders to take positions on future values of several macroeconomic data releases. We provide an initial analysis of the prices of these options. We find that market-based measures of expectations are similar to survey-based forecasts, although the market-based measures somewhat more accurately predict financial market responses to surprises in data. These markets also provide implied probabilities of the full range of specific outcomes, allowing us to measure uncertainty, assess its driving forces, and compare ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2005-26

Working Paper
Interpreting prediction market prices as probabilities

While most empirical analysis of prediction markets treats prices of binary options as predictions of the probability of future events, Manski (2004) has recently argued that there is little existing theory supporting this practice. We provide relevant analytic foundations, describing sufficient conditions under which prediction markets prices correspond with mean beliefs. Beyond these specific sufficient conditions, we show that for a broad class of models prediction market prices are usually close to the mean beliefs of traders. The key parameters driving trading behavior in prediction ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-11

Working Paper
Five open questions about prediction markets

Interest in prediction markets has increased in the last decade, driven in part by the hope that these markets will prove to be valuable tools in forecasting, decisionmaking and risk management--in both the public and private sectors. This paper outlines five open questions in the literature, and we argue that resolving these questions is crucial to determining whether current optimism about prediction markets will be realized.
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-06

Working Paper
Aggregate shocks or aggregate information? costly information and business cycle comovement

When similar patterns of expansion and contraction are observed across sectors, we call this a business cycle. Yet explaining the similarity and synchronization of these cycles across industries remains a puzzle. Whereas output growth across industries is highly correlated, identifiable shocks, like shocks to productivity, are far less correlated. While previous work has examined complementarities in production, we propose that sectors make similar input decisions because of complementarities in information acquisition. Because information about driving forces has a high fixed cost of ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-26

Working Paper
Trust in public institutions over the business cycle

We document that trust in public institutions?and particularly trust in banks, business and government?has declined over recent years. U.S. time series evidence suggests that this partly reflects the pro-cyclical nature of trust in institutions. Cross-country comparisons reveal a clear legacy of the Great Recession, and those countries whose unemployment grew the most suffered the biggest loss in confidence in institutions, particularly in trust in government and the financial sector. Finally, analysis of several repeated cross-sections of confidence within U.S. states yields similar ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2011-11

Working Paper
Partisan impacts on the economy: evidence from prediction markets and close elections

Political economists interested in discerning the effects of election outcomes on the economy have been hampered by the problem that economic outcomes also influence elections. We sidestep these problems by analyzing movements in economic indicators caused by clearly exogenous changes in expectations about the likely winner during election day. Analyzing high frequency financial fluctuations on November 2 and 3 in 2004, we find that markets anticipated higher equity prices, interest rates, and oil prices and a stronger dollar under a Bush presidency than under Kerry. A similar ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-08

Working Paper
The paradox of declining female happiness

By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women?s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women?s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2009-11

Working Paper
Marriage and divorce: changes and their driving forces

We document key facts about marriage and divorce, comparing trends through the past 150 years and outcomes across demographic groups and countries. While divorce rates have risen over the past 150 years, they have been falling for the past quarter century. Marriage rates have also been falling, but more strikingly, the importance of marriage at different points in the life cycle has changed, reflecting rising age at first marriage, rising divorce followed by high remarriage rates, and a combination of increased longevity with a declining age gap between husbands and wives. Cohabitation has ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2007-03

Journal Article
New uses for new macro derivatives

Economic forecasters often look to the performance of futures markets to help predict such economic developments as movements in the price of oil and other commodities. In addition, relatively new financial market instruments, like TIPS, help policymakers get a handle on the public's inflation expectations. ; In the last few years, derivatives markets involving bets on future economic events have emerged. In October 2002, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank joined forces to form a market in what they call "Economic Derivatives." More recently, other U.S.-based markets have been created for ...
FRBSF Economic Letter

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Stevenson, Betsey 4 items

Zitzewitz, Eric 3 items

Refet S. Gürkaynak 1 items

Sacks, Daniel W. 1 items

Snowberg, Erik 1 items

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