IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/jhappi/v14y2013i2p433-456.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Gold of One’s Ring is Not Far More Precious than the Gold of One’s Heart: Reported Life Satisfaction Among Married and Cohabitating South African Adults

Author

Listed:
  • Ferdi Botha

    ()

  • Frikkie Booysen

    ()

Abstract

This paper tests for differences in reported life satisfaction between married and cohabiting persons, i.e. the cohabitation gap, and in particular whether selection factors can explain the cohabitation gap. The paper also explores whether age at marriage and at start of cohabitation as well as the duration of relationship type matters for subjective well-being. Based on statistical and regression analysis of the 2008 National Income Dynamics Survey, married and cohabiting persons exhibit some differences in their respective determinants of life satisfaction. While the age at relationship commencement has no relationship with well-being, there is evidence to suggest that married people become more satisfied at a later stage in marriage, while cohabitants are more satisfied initially. A significant cohabitation gap exists (0.251), but after controlling for various selection factors, the cohabitation gap virtually disappears (0.042) and becomes insignificant, which suggests that marriage and cohabitation are very similar in South Africa. Relative income, absolute income, and education explain the largest part of the cohabitation gap. Against the global backdrop of an increasing trend towards cohabitation and declining marriage rates, the overall results of this paper suggest that, since a cohabitation gap no longer exists after controlling for selection factors, South Africans may as well not go the “official route” of entering into marriage, as cohabitation provides similar benefits in terms of its contribution to individual satisfaction with life. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Ferdi Botha & Frikkie Booysen, 2013. "The Gold of One’s Ring is Not Far More Precious than the Gold of One’s Heart: Reported Life Satisfaction Among Married and Cohabitating South African Adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 433-456, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:14:y:2013:i:2:p:433-456
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-012-9337-3
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10902-012-9337-3
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Larry Bumpass & James Sweet, 1989. "National Estimates of Cohabitation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(4), pages 615-625, November.
    2. Joerg Dittmann & Jan Goebel, 2010. "Your House, Your Car, Your Education: The Socioeconomic Situation of the Neighborhood and its Impact on Life Satisfaction in Germany," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 96(3), pages 497-513, May.
    3. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
    4. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    5. Mochon, Daniel & Norton, Michael I. & Ariely, Dan, 2008. "Getting off the hedonic treadmill, one step at a time: The impact of regular religious practice and exercise on well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 632-642, November.
    6. Arland Thornton, 1988. "Cohabitation and marriage in the 1980s," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(4), pages 497-508, November.
    7. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    8. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard & Steven Stern, 2006. "Cohabitation, Marriage, And Divorce In A Model Of Match Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 451-494, May.
    9. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    10. Abbott Ferriss, 2002. "Religion and the Quality of Life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 199-215, September.
    11. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    12. Finbarr Brereton & J. Peter Clinch & Susana Ferreira, 2008. "Employment and Life-Satisfaction: Insights from Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 39(3), pages 207-234.
    13. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 2001. "The relationship between happiness, health, and socio-economic factors: results based on Swedish microdata," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 553-557.
    14. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1994. "Noncooperative Bargaining Models of Marriage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 132-137, May.
    15. Katarina Nordblom, 2004. "Cohabitation and Marriage in a Risky World," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 325-340, April.
    16. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
    17. Timothy Hinks & Carola Gruen, 2007. "What is the Structure of South African Happiness Equations? Evidence from Quality of Life Surveys," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 311-336, June.
    18. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
    19. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2003. "Is the Structure of Happiness Equations the Same in Poor and Rich Countries? The Case of South Africa," Development and Comp Systems 0309003, EconWPA, revised 06 Nov 2003.
    20. Ann Berrington & Ian Diamond, 2000. "Marriage or cohabitation: a competing risks analysis of first-partnership formation among the 1958 British birth cohort," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 163(2), pages 127-151.
    21. 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.
    22. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
    23. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2008. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9787111235767, April.
    24. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    25. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
    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. Ferdi Botha & Frikkie Booysen, 2014. "Family Functioning and Life Satisfaction and Happiness in South African Households," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 163-182, October.
    2. Ferdi Botha, 2014. "Life Satisfaction and Education in South Africa: Investigating the Role of Attainment and the Likelihood of Education as a Positional Good," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 555-578, September.
    3. Byela Tibesigwa & Martine Visser & Brennan Hodkinson, 2016. "Effects of Objective and Subjective Income Comparisons on Subjective Wellbeing," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 361-389, August.
    4. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9834-x is not listed on IDEAS

    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:spr:jhappi:v:14:y:2013:i:2:p:433-456. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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.