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An Examination of the Dynamics of Happiness Using Vector Autoregressions

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  • Martin Binder

    ()

  • Alex Coad

    ()

Abstract

We use a panel vector autoregressions model to examine the coevolution of changes in happiness and changes in income, health, marital status as well as employment status for the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) data set. This technique allows us to simultaneously analyze the impact of the aforementioned factors on each other. We find that increases in happiness are associated with subsequent increases in income, marriage, employment, and health variables, while increases in the these life-domain variables (except health) tend to be followed by decreases in happiness in subsequent periods, suggesting adaptation dynamics in all domains. These findings are quite robust to different model specifications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2009-04.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2009-04

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Keywords: Happiness dynamics; vector autoregressions; subjective well-being; BHPS Length 36 pages;

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References

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  1. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  2. Kate Antonovics & Robert Town, 2004. "Are All the Good Men Married? Uncovering the Sources of the Marital Wage Premium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 317-321, May.
  3. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
  6. Jeffrey S. Gray, 1997. "The Fall in Men's Return to Marriage: Declining Productivity Effects or Changing Selection?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 481-504.
  7. Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
  8. Johnston, David W. & Propper, Carol & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Comparing Subjective and Objective Measures of Health: Evidence from Hypertension for the Income/Health Gradient," IZA Discussion Papers 2737, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
  10. Shiv, Baba & Huber, Joel, 2000. " The Impact of Anticipating Satisfaction on Consumer Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 202-16, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
  13. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew E. Clark, 2005. "Do people really adapt to marriage?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590574, HAL.
  14. Santarelli, Enrico & Vivarelli, Marco, 2006. "Entrepreneurship and the Process of Firms’ Entry, Survival and Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 2475, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Wadsworth, M.E.J & Montgomery, S.M & Bartley, M.J, 1999. "The persisting effect of unemployment on health and social well-being in men early in working life," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(10), pages 1491-1499, May.
  16. Gardner, Jonathan & Andrew Oswald, 2002. "Does Money Buy Happiness? A Longitudinal Study Using Data on Windfalls," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 81, Royal Economic Society.
  17. van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1991. "Ordinal and cardinal utility : An integration of the two dimensions of the welfare concept," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-89, October.
  18. Blackburn, McKinley & Korenman, Sanders, 1994. "The Declining Marital-Status Earnings Differential," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 247-70, July.
  19. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  20. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  21. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00175048 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew, 2004. "How is mortality affected by money, marriage, and stress?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1181-1207, November.
  23. Alex Coad, 2007. "Exploring the "mechanics" of firm growth : evidence from a short-panel VAR," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne r07037, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  24. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  25. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. What makes you happy? Expectations
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-06-26 15:38:00
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2010. "Disentangling the Circularity in Sen's Capability Approach – An Analysis of the Co-Evolution of Functioning Achievement and Resources," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.

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