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Family, money, and health: regional differences in the determinants of life cycle life satisfaction

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  • Rachel Margolis
  • Mikko Myrskylä

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    Abstract

    We examine how family, money, and health explain variation in life satisfaction (“happiness”) over the life cycle. Globally, these factors explain a substantial fraction of happiness, increasing from 12 percent in young adulthood to 15 percent in mature adulthood. Health is the most important factor, and its importance increases with age. Income is important only at ages below 50. Remarkably, the contribution of family is small across ages. Across regions health is most important in the wealthier, and income in the poorer regions of the world. Family explains a substantial fraction of happiness only in Western Europe and Anglophone countries.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2012-012.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2012-012.

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    Length: 29 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2012-012

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    Keywords: World; family; health; income; mental health;

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    1. Bernard M.S. van Praag & P. Frijters & A. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2002. "The Anatomy of Subjective Well-being," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-022/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
    3. Robert Cummins, 1996. "The domains of life satisfaction: An attempt to order chaos," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 303-328, January.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2001. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1938, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    6. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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