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Well-being over time in Britain and the USA

  • Blanchflower, David G.
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

This paper estimates micro-econometric happiness equations for the United States and Great Britain. Reported levels of wellbeing have declined over the last quarter of a century in the US; life satisfaction has run approximately flat through time in Britain. These findings are consistent with the Easterlin hypothesis (1974, 1995). The happiness of American blacks, however, has risen. Despite legislation on gender discrimination, the well-being of women has declined. White women in the US have been the biggest losers. Well-being equations have a stable structure. Money buys happiness. People care also about relative income. Wellbeing is U-shaped in age. The paper estimates the dollar values of events like unemployment and divorce. They are large. A lasting marriage (compared to widow-hood as a ‘natural’ experiment), for example, is estimated to be worth $100,000 a year.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2004)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (July)
Pages: 1359-1386

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:7-8:p:1359-1386
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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