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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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Author Info

  • 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 Working Papers with number halshs-00590307.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper: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. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Axel Skytthe, 2005. "Partner + Children = Happiness? The Effects of Partnerships and Fertility on Well-Being," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(3), pages 407-445.
  2. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and Happiness: Evidence, Explanations and Economic Implications. Working paper #5," NCER Working Paper Series 5, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  4. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  5. Kapteyn, Arie & Van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Van Herwaarden, Floor G., 1978. "Individual welfare functions and social reference spaces," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 173-177.
  6. Uppal, Sharanjit, 2006. "Impact of the timing, type and severity of disability on the subjective well-being of individuals with disabilities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 525-539, July.
  7. Hayo, Bernd & Seifert, Wolfgang, 2003. "Subjective economic well-being in Eastern Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 329-348, June.
  8. Propper, Carol & Jones, Kelvyn & Bolster, Anne & Burgess, Simon & Johnston, Ron & Sarker, Rebecca, 2005. "Local neighbourhood and mental health: Evidence from the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(10), pages 2065-2083, November.
  9. 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.
  10. Frank, Robert H, 1989. "Frames of Reference and the Quality of Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 80-85, May.
  11. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2003. "Unhappiness and Crime: Evidence from South Africa," Development and Comp Systems 0310003, EconWPA, revised 17 Mar 2004.
  14. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
  15. Anke C. Zimmermann & Richard A. Easterlin, 2006. "Happily Ever After? Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Happiness in Germany," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(3), pages 511-528.
  16. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  17. Theodossiou, I., 1998. "The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological well-being: A logistic regression approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 85-104, January.
  18. Shields, Michael A. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2001. "Exploring the Economic and Social Determinants of Psychological and Psychosocial Health," IZA Discussion Papers 396, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
  20. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
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Cited by:
  1. Shams, Khadija, 2012. "What does a well-being perspective add to our understanding of poverty?," MPRA Paper 40132, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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