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Do people really adapt to marriage?

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  • Richard E. Lucas

    (MSU - Michigan State University - Michigan State University, DIW - Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung - German Institute for Economic Research)

  • 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

Although cross-sectional studies have shown a reliable association between marital status and subjective well-being, a recent longitudinal study (Lucas, Clark, Georgellis, & Diener, 2003) found no support for the idea that happiness increases after marriage. Instead, participants who got married reported short-term increases followed by complete adaptation back to baseline levels of well-being. However, researchers have criticized this study on two grounds. First, these results contradict cohort-based analyses from a nationally representative sample. Second, these analyses do not control for pre-marriage cohabitation, which could potentially inflate baseline levels of well-being. The original data (plus four additional waves) are reanalyzed to address these concerns. Results confirm that individuals do not get a lasting boost in life satisfaction following marriage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00590574.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00590574

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00590574
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Related research

Keywords: life satisfaction anticipation ; habituation ; marriage ; cohabitation;

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  1. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2005. "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IZA Discussion Papers 1811, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Ed Diener, 2002. "Re-Examining Adaptation and the Setpoint Model of Happiness: Reactions to Changes in Marital Status," DELTA Working Papers, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) 2002-08, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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