Why Is The World Getting Older? The Influence of Happiness on Mortality
AbstractWorld life expectancy has risen by around 20 years in the last 50 years. This period has also witnessed rising happiness levels around the world suggesting that happiness might be one of the causes behind the decline in mortality. We investigate the relationship between happiness and mortality using the German Socio-Economic Panel. We consider doctor visits, self-reported health, and presence of chronic illness as health measures. After controlling for initial health conditions, we find that happiness extends life expectancy. 10 percent increase in happiness decreases probability of death by four percent, and this effect is more pronounced for men and younger people. Happiness plays a more important role for chronically ill people in decreasing mortality than for those who are not chronically ill. The positive influence of happiness on mortality can offset the negative impact of chronic illness. Marriage decreases mortality and this effect appears to work through increased happiness.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance in its series Economics Series with number 2009_03.
Date of creation: 13 Mar 2009
Date of revision:
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happiness; mortality; health; chronic illness.;
Other versions of this item:
- Cahit Guven & Rudolph Saloumidis, 2009. "Why Is the World Getting Older?: The Influence of Happiness on Mortality," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 198, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2009-07-28 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2009-07-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2009-07-28 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HEA-2009-07-28 (Health Economics)
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- Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," Research Memorandum 043, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
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