IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/econjl/v127y2017i599p126-142..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well‐Being: Results from Four Data Sets

Author

Listed:
  • Terence C. Cheng
  • Nattavudh Powdthavee
  • Andrew J. Oswald

Abstract

There is a large amount of cross‐sectional evidence for a midlife low in the life cycle of human happiness and well‐being (a ‘U shape’). Yet no genuinely longitudinal inquiry has uncovered evidence for a U‐shaped pattern. Thus, some researchers believe the U is a statistical artefact. We re‐examine this fundamental cross‐disciplinary question. We suggest a new test. Drawing on four data sets, and only within‐person changes in well‐being, we document powerful support for a U shape in longitudinal data (without the need for formal regression equations). The article’s methodological contribution is to use the first‐derivative properties of a well‐being equation.

Suggested Citation

  • Terence C. Cheng & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well‐Being: Results from Four Data Sets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(599), pages 126-142.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:599:p:126-142.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.12256
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. D. Kuang & B. Nielsen & J. P. Nielsen, 2008. "Forecasting with the age-period-cohort model and the extended chain-ladder model," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 95(4), pages 987-991.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2019. "Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham's Happiness for All?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 57(2), pages 385-402, June.
    2. Julia M. Rohrer & Martin Bruemmer & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2017. "Worries across Time and Age in Germany: Bringing Together Open- and Close-Ended Questions," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1671, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Moschion, Julie & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2018. "The welfare implications of addictive substances: A longitudinal study of life satisfaction of drug users," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 206-221.
    4. Chen, Le-Yu & Oparina, Ekaterina & Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Srisuma, Sorawoot, 2019. "Have Econometric Analyses of Happiness Data Been Futile? A Simple Truth about Happiness Scales," IZA Discussion Papers 12152, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Paul Downward & Peter Dawson, 2016. "Is it Pleasure or Health from Leisure that We Benefit from Most? An Analysis of Well-Being Alternatives and Implications for Policy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 443-465, March.
    6. Amina Ahmed Lahsen & Alan T. Piper, 2019. "Property rights and intellectual property protection, GDP growth and individual well-being in Latin America," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 28(1), pages 1-21, December.
    7. Bryson, Alex & Forth, John & Gray, Helen & Stokes, Lucy, 2019. "Does Employing Older Workers Affect Workplace Performance?," IZA Discussion Papers 12598, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Mujcic, Redzo & Oswald, Andrew J., 2018. "Is envy harmful to a society's psychological health and wellbeing? A longitudinal study of 18,000 adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 198(C), pages 103-111.
    9. Schwandt, Hannes, 2016. "Unmet aspirations as an explanation for the age U-shape in wellbeing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 75-87.
    10. Ning Li, 2016. "Multidimensionality of Longitudinal Data: Unlocking the Age-Happiness Puzzle," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 305-320, August.
    11. Carol Graham & Julia Ruiz Pozuelo, 2017. "Happiness, stress, and age: how the U curve varies across people and places," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 225-264, January.
    12. Piper, Alan T., 2015. "Sliding down the U-shape? A dynamic panel investigation of the age-well-being relationship, focusing on young adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 54-61.
    13. Alan T. Piper, 2016. "Sleep duration and life satisfaction," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 63(4), pages 305-325, December.
    14. Lahsen, Amina. A & Piper, Alan T., 2018. "Property Rights and Intellectual Property Protection, GDP growth and Well-Being in Latin America," MPRA Paper 90034, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Piper, Alan T., 2014. "Sliding down the U-shape? An investigation of the age-well-being relationship, with a focus on young adults," MPRA Paper 55819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Philipp Biermann & Juergen Bitzer & Erkan Goeren, 2019. "The Relationship between Age and Subjective Well-Being: Estimating Within and Between Effects Simultaneously," Working Papers V-421-19, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2019.
    17. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2017. "Do Humans Suffer a Psychological Low in Midlife? Two Approaches (With and Without Controls) in Seven Data Sets," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 337, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    18. Shir, Nadav & Nikolaev, Boris N. & Wincent, Joakim, 2019. "Entrepreneurship and well-being: The role of psychological autonomy, competence, and relatedness," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1-1.
    19. Connelly, Rachel & Iannotti, Michael & Maurer-Fazio, Margaret & Zhang, Dandan, 2014. "Coresidency, Ethnicity, and Happiness of China's Rural Elders," IZA Discussion Papers 8194, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Edsel L. Beja, 2018. "The U-shaped relationship between happiness and age: evidence using world values survey data," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 52(4), pages 1817-1829, July.
    21. AMENDOLA, Adalgiso & DELL'ANNO, Roberto & PARISI, Lavinia, 2015. "Happiness, Inequality and Relative Concerns in European Countries," CELPE Discussion Papers 136, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    22. Andrew E. Clark, 2018. "Four Decades of the Economics of Happiness: Where Next?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 245-269, June.
    23. Seppo Laaksonen, 2018. "A Research Note: Happiness by Age is More Complex than U-Shaped," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 471-482, February.
    24. Ning Li, 2014. "Multidimensionality of Longitudinal Data: Unlocking the Age-Happiness Puzzle," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n04, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:599:p:126-142.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.