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Born to be mild? Cohort effects don't explain why well-being is U-shaped in age

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris)

Abstract

The statistical analysis of cross-section data very often reveals a U-shaped relationship between subjective well-being and age. This paper uses fourteen waves of British panel data to distinguish between a pure life-cycle or aging effect, and a fixed cohort effect that depends on year of birth. Panel analysis controlling for fixed effects continues to produce a U-shaped relationship between well-being and age, although this U-shape is flatter for life satisfaction than for the GHQ measure of mental well-being. The pattern of the estimated cohort effects differs between the two well-being measures and, to an extent, by demographic group. In particular, those born earlier report more positive GHQ scores, controlling for their current age; this phenomenon is especially found for women.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00590307.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00590307

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00590307
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Related research

Keywords: well-being ; aging ; cohort effects ; panel analysis;

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. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Luis Angeles, 2008. "Adaption or social comparison? The effects of income on happiness," Working Papers 2009_09, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow, revised Jun 2009.
  2. Luis Angeles, 2009. "Do children make us happier?," Working Papers 2009_10, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  3. Stanca, Luca, 2012. "Suffer the little children: Measuring the effects of parenthood on well-being worldwide," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 742-750.
  4. Paul Frijters & Tony Beatton, 2008. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," NCER Working Paper Series 26, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  5. Shams, Khadija, 2012. "What does a well-being perspective add to our understanding of poverty?," MPRA Paper 40132, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2008. "Happiness over the life cycle: exploring age-specific preferences," MPRA Paper 7302, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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