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How well do individuals predict their future life satisfaction? Evidence from panel data following a nationwide exogenous shock

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  • Paul Frijters
  • Harry Greenwell
  • John P. Haisken-DeNew
  • Michael A. Shields

Abstract

Using German panel data, we investigate how well individuals predict their own future life satisfaction. The context is the decade following the 1990 reunification of Germany, which provided a large shock to the future prospects of the inhabitants of the former East Germany. We find that the majority of East Germans significantly overestimated the satisfaction gains from reunification in the years immediately after transition, but by 1994 had converged on correct aggregate expectations. Some evidence of micro-heterogeneity in the prediction errors is found by age and education. For West Germans, we find some initial over-optimism, although less than for East Germans.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1326-1346

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:42:y:2009:i:4:p:1326-1346

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Kind & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2012. "Sons' Unexpected Long Term Scarring Due to Fathers' Unemployment," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne wp2012n21, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Marzieh Abolhassani & Rob Alessie, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being Around Retirement," De Economist, Springer, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 349-366, September.
  3. Marcus Klemm, 2011. "You Don‘t Know what You‘ve got till It‘s Gone! Unemployment and Intertemporal Changes in Self-Reported Life Satisfaction," Ruhr Economic Papers, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen 0297, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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