The%20Distance%20between%20Perception%20and%20Reality%20in%20the%20Social%20Domains%20of%20Life

Working Papers

The Distance between Perception and Reality in the Social Domains of Life


CODE: IDB-WP-423
PUBLISHED: August 2013
LANGUAGE: English
RELATED TOPICS: Poverty Reduction and Labor
DOWNLOAD FILE IN: English

Abstract:

The distance between perception and reality with respect to the social domains of life is often striking. Using survey data collected on Latin American countries, this paper provides an overview of the main empirical findings on the gaps between perception and reality in four social domains—health, employment, the perception of security, and social ranking. The overview emphasizes the psychological biases that may explain the gaps. Biases associated with cultural values are very relevant with respect to health and job satisfaction. Cultural differences across countries are pronounced in perceptions of health, while cultural differences across socioeconomic groups are more apparent with respect to job satisfaction. Affect and availability heuristics are the dominant sources of bias in the case of perceptions of security. The formation of subjective social rankings appears to be less culturally dependent but more dependent on the socioeconomic development in the country. The gaps between objective and subjective indicators in the social domains of life are a rich source of data to help understand how perceptions are formed, identify important aspects of people’s lives that do not appear in official indicators, inform public debate on social policy, and shed light on public attitudes on key social issues.

Related Research by JEL Codes:
(or click here to find research by JEL Codes)
  • A Cross-Country Analysis of the Risk Factors for Depression at the Micro and Macro Level
    Working Papers
    IDB-WP-195 - September 2010

    Past research has provided evidence of the role of some personal characteristics as risk factors for depression. However, few studies have examined jointly their specific impact and whether country characteristics change the probability of being depressed. In general, this is due to the use of single-country databases. The aim of this paper is to extend previous findings by employing a much larger ... (View publication)

  • Is Informality a Good Measure of Job Quality? Evidence from Job Satisfaction Data
    Working Papers
    WP-654 - December 2008

    The formality status of a job is the most widely used indicator of job quality in developing countries. However, a number of studies argue that, at least for some workers, the informality status may be driven by choice rather than exclusion. This paper uses job satisfaction data from three low-income countries (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) to assess whether informal jobs are less valued th ... (View publication)

  • Entrepreneurship in Latin America: A Step Up the Social Ladder?
    Books
    IDB-BK-124 - March 2014

    This book looks at the potential and the limits of policies to promote entrepreneurship as an important vehicle for social mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as steps to remove the constrains that hamper entrepreneurship. (View publication)

Hello, Welcome to the IDB!

Please join our mailing list by simply entering your email below.