The mid-week effect and why thursdays are blue : The weekly rhythm of satisfaction in Hungary
Research on the weekly fluctuation in people’s satisfaction has produced mixed results about the nadir of levels of satisfaction in different countries. This paper uses a Hungarian household survey with approximately 3400 individual observations. The fluctuation in satisfaction over the course of the week is assessed according to the day on which the personal interview was conducted during a six-week period of fieldwork. The analysis investigates the extent to which this is the result of a random process. Unlike previous analysis, the nadir in satisfaction (in Hungary) is found to occur midweek. This is explained as being related to workload. The results are robust after controlling for the interviewers’ unobserved characteristics or the hour of completion of the interview. Modification in workdays owing to national holidays did not alter the results. The results reveal which social groups are especially vulnerable to fluctuations in satisfaction. This could have practical consequences for a more efficient work-life balance. The paper suggests questions for future research, which in particular should seek to understand differences between nations in terms of the nadir of satisfaction and to find a solution to the self-selection problem that may result in an underestimation of the true size of the weekly nadir.