The Gold of One’s Ring is Not Far More Precious than the Gold of One’s Heart: Reported Life Satisfaction Among Married and Cohabitating South African Adults
AbstractThis paper tests for differences in reported life satisfaction between married and cohabiting persons, i.e. the cohabitation gap, and in particular whether selection factors can explain the cohabitation gap. The paper also explores whether age at marriage and at start of cohabitation as well as the duration of relationship type matters for subjective well-being. Based on statistical and regression analysis of the 2008 National Income Dynamics Survey, married and cohabiting persons exhibit some differences in their respective determinants of life satisfaction. While the age at relationship commencement has no relationship with well-being, there is evidence to suggest that married people become more satisfied at a later stage in marriage, while cohabitants are more satisfied initially. A significant cohabitation gap exists (0.251), but after controlling for various selection factors, the cohabitation gap virtually disappears (0.042) and becomes insignificant, which suggests that marriage and cohabitation are very similar in South Africa. Relative income, absolute income, and education explain the largest part of the cohabitation gap. Against the global backdrop of an increasing trend towards cohabitation and declining marriage rates, the overall results of this paper suggest that, since a cohabitation gap no longer exists after controlling for selection factors, South Africans may as well not go the “official route” of entering into marriage, as cohabitation provides similar benefits in terms of its contribution to individual satisfaction with life. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.
Volume (Year): 14 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1389-4978
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Joerg Dittmann & Jan Goebel, 2010. "Your House, Your Car, Your Education: The Socioeconomic Situation of the Neighborhood and its Impact on Life Satisfaction in Germany," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 96(3), pages 497-513, May.
- Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008.
"Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
- Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Oswald, Andrew J, 1997.
"Happiness and Economic Performance,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
- Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, .
"Happiness, Economy and Institutions,"
IEW - Working Papers
015, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Steven Stern & Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard, 1999.
"Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce in a Model of Match Quality,"
Virginia Economics Online Papers
322, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
- Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard & Steven Stern, 2006. "Cohabitation, Marriage, And Divorce In A Model Of Match Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 451-494, 05.
- Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007.
"Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces,"
NBER Working Papers
12944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
- Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," CEPR Discussion Papers 6144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and divorce: changes and their driving forces," Working Paper Series 2007-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," IZA Discussion Papers 2602, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Timothy Hinks & Carola Gruen, 2005.
"What is the Structure of South African Happiness Equations? Evidence from Quality of Life Surveys,"
16, Economic Research Southern Africa.
- Timothy Hinks & Carola Gruen, 2007. "What is the Structure of South African Happiness Equations? Evidence from Quality of Life Surveys," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 311-336, June.
- Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991.
"Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market,"
Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington
91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
- Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
- Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
- Katarina Nordblom, 2004. "Cohabitation and Marriage in a Risky World," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 325-340, 04.
- Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 1997.
"The Relationship between Happiness, Health and Socio-economic Factors: Results Based on Swedish Micro Data,"
Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance
207, Stockholm School of Economics.
- Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 2001. "The relationship between happiness, health, and socio-economic factors: results based on Swedish microdata," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 553-557.
- Arland Thornton, 1988. "Cohabitation and marriage in the 1980s," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 497-508, November.
- Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2003.
"Is the Structure of Happiness Equations the Same in Poor and Rich Countries? The Case of South Africa,"
Development and Comp Systems
0309003, EconWPA, revised 06 Nov 2003.
- Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2003. "Is The Structure Of Happiness Equations The Same In Poor And Rich Countries? The Case Of South Africa," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 675, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1994. "Noncooperative Bargaining Models of Marriage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 132-37, May.
- Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
- Abbott Ferriss, 2002. "Religion and the Quality of Life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 199-215, September.
- Anke C. Zimmermann & Richard A. Easterlin, 2006. "Happily Ever After? Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Happiness in Germany," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(3), pages 511-528.
- Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
- Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
- Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
- Ann Berrington & Ian Diamond, 2000. "Marriage or cohabitation: a competing risks analysis of first-partnership formation among the 1958 British birth cohort," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 163(2), pages 127-151.
- Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
- Mochon, Daniel & Norton, Michael I. & Ariely, Dan, 2008. "Getting off the hedonic treadmill, one step at a time: The impact of regular religious practice and exercise on well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 632-642, November.
- Larry Bumpass & James Sweet, 1989. "National Estimates of Cohabitation," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 615-625, November.
- Finbarr Brereton & J. Peter Clinch & Susana Ferreira, 2008. "Employment and Life-Satisfaction: Insights from Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 39(3), pages 207-234.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F Baum).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.