XREAP 2008-02: The Causal Relationship between Individual’s Choice Behavior and Self-Reported Satisfaction: the Case of Residential Mobility in the EU

One of the most persistent and lasting debates in economic research refers to whether the answers to subjective questions can be used to explain individuals’ economic behavior. Using panel data for twelve EU countries, in the present study we analyze the causal relationship between self-reported housing satisfaction and residential mobility. Our results indicate that: i) households unsatisfied with their current housing situation are more likely to move; ii) housing satisfaction raises after a move, and; iii) housing satisfaction increases with the transition from being a renter to becoming a homeowner. Some interesting cross-country differences are observed. Our findings provide evidence in favor of use of subjective indicators of satisfaction with certain life domains in the analysis of individuals’ economic conduct.

Luis Diaz-Serrano, Alexandrina P. Stoyanova (CREB)