Self-reported life satisfaction is highly heterogeneous across similar countries, a phenomenon that may be explained by the different scales and benchmarks that people use to evaluate themselves. This study uses cross-sectional data gathered from older populations in ten European countries to compare estimates from a model that assumes reporting styles are constant across respondents against estimates from a model in which anchoring vignettes help correct for individual-specific scale biases. Variations in response scales explain much of the difference in the raw data. Moreover, the cross-country ranking in life satisfaction depends significantly on scale biases.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.

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