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(Mis-)Predicted Subjective Well-Being Following Life Events

Author

Listed:
  • Reto Odermatt
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

The correct prediction of how alternative states of the world affect our lives is a cornerstone of economics. We study how accurate people are in predicting their future well-being after facing major life events. Based on individual panel data, we compare people’s life satisfaction forecasts reported in the first interview after a major life event with their actual evaluations five years later on. This is done after the individuals experience widowhood, unemployment, disability, marriage, separation, or divorce. We find systematic prediction errors that seem at least partly driven by unforeseen adaptation after the first four of these events.

Suggested Citation

  • Reto Odermatt & Alois Stutzer, 2019. "(Mis-)Predicted Subjective Well-Being Following Life Events," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 245-283.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:17:y:2019:i:1:p:245-283.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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