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Back to Baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the British Household Panel Survey

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  • Andrew E. Clark
  • Yannis Georgellis

Abstract

We look for evidence of adaptation in wellbeing to major life events using eighteen waves of British panel data. Adaptation to marriage, divorce, birth of child and widowhood appears to be rapid and complete; this is not so for unemployment. These findings are remarkably similar to those in previous work on German panel data. Equally, the time profiles with life satisfaction as the wellbeing measure are very close to those using a twelve-item scale of psychological functioning. As such, the phenomenon of adaptation may be a general one, rather than being found only in German data or using single-item wellbeing measures.
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Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2013. "Back to Baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the British Household Panel Survey," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(319), pages 496-512, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:80:y:2013:i:319:p:496-512
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecca.12007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336.
    2. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Clark, Andrew E & Georgellis, Yannis & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-241, May.
    6. Qari, Salmai, 2014. "Marriage, adaptation and happiness: Are there long-lasting gains to marriage?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 29-39.
    7. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    8. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    9. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 291-308.
    10. Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2010. "Back to baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the BHPS," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564821, HAL.
    11. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 291-308.
    12. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2011. "Life Satisfaction Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 190-211, March.
    13. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 291-308.
    14. Richard Lucas & Andrew Clark, 2006. "Do People Really Adapt To Marriage?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 405-426, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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