IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Longitudinal Evidence for Reciprocal Effects Between Life Satisfaction and Job Satisfaction


  • Piotr Bialowolski

    (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
    WSB University)

  • Dorota Weziak-Bialowolska

    (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)


The evidence for a correlation between life satisfaction and job satisfaction is strong; however, it is mostly based on cross-sectional results, which precludes establishing valid causal links between work and well-being. Limited longitudinal research suffers from relatively small sample sizes, narrow focus on a particular professional or national group, and differences in the lags between the waves of data examined. We address these issues by using three national, representative longitudinal studies with up to 30 years of repeated annual measurements of job satisfaction and life satisfaction. Using data from 216,573 individuals and applying panel vector autoregression models, we seek to establish whether, and to what extent, job satisfaction influences subsequent life satisfaction and life satisfaction has a concurrent impact on subsequent job satisfaction. Our findings corroborate that life satisfaction and job satisfaction are positively and reciprocally related, as in the spillover theory, and that life satisfaction influences job satisfaction more strongly than vice versa. The magnitude of the impact is found to be population-specific and time sensitive, with the highest effect in the subsequent year and with statistically significant effects lasting even up to 5 years. Gender, age, education, and household member status were found to differentiate the strength of the relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Piotr Bialowolski & Dorota Weziak-Bialowolska, 2021. "Longitudinal Evidence for Reciprocal Effects Between Life Satisfaction and Job Satisfaction," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 1287-1312, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:22:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s10902-020-00273-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-020-00273-1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Zwick, 2015. "Training older employees: what is effective?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 36(2), pages 136-150, May.
    2. Lee A. Lillard & Constantijn W. A. Panis, 1998. "Panel Attrition from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics: Household Income, Marital Status, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 437-457.
    3. Bruce Headey & Ruut Veenhoven & Alex Wearing, 1991. "Top-down versus bottom-up theories of subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 81-100, February.
    4. AlisonL. Booth & JanC. vanOurs, 2008. "Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Puzzle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages 77-99, February.
    5. Hannah J. Swift & Christin-Melanie Vauclair & Dominic Abrams & Christopher Bratt & Sibila Marques & Maria-Luisa Lima, 2014. "Revisiting the Paradox of Well-being: The Importance of National Context," The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, The Gerontological Society of America, vol. 69(6), pages 920-929.
    6. Janet Near, 1984. "Relationships between job satisfaction and life satisfaction: Test of a causal model," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 351-367, November.
    7. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    8. Love, Inessa & Zicchino, Lea, 2006. "Financial development and dynamic investment behavior: Evidence from panel VAR," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 190-210, May.
    9. Michael R. M. Abrigo & Inessa Love, 2016. "Estimation of panel vector autoregression in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 16(3), pages 778-804, September.
    10. Yarid Ayala & José Ma. Peiró Silla & Núria Tordera & Laura Lorente & Jesús Yeves, 2017. "Job Satisfaction and Innovative Performance in Young Spanish Employees: Testing New Patterns in the Happy-Productive Worker Thesis—A Discriminant Study," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 1377-1401, October.
    11. Piotr Bialowolski & Eileen McNeely & Tyler J VanderWeele & Dorota Weziak-Bialowolska, 2020. "Ill health and distraction at work: Costs and drivers for productivity loss," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(3), pages 1-15, March.
    12. Alfonso Sousa‐Poza & Andrés A. Sousa‐Poza, 2000. "Taking Another Look at the Gender/Job‐Satisfaction Paradox," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 135-152, May.
    13. Arthur A. Stone & Joseph E. Schwartz & Joan E. Broderick & Angus Deaton, 2010. "A snapshot of the age distribution of psychological well-being in the United States," Working Papers 1230, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    14. Headey, Bruce & Muffels, Ruud, 2014. "Two-way Causation in Life Satisfaction Research: Structural Equation Models with Granger-Causation," IZA Discussion Papers 8665, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Judge, Timothy A. & Hulin, Charles L., 1993. "Job Satisfaction as a Reflection of Disposition: A Multiple Source Causal Analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 388-421, December.
    16. Michael R.M. Abrigo & Inessa Love, 2016. "Estimation of Panel Vector Autoregression in Stata: a Package of Programs," Working Papers 201602, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    17. Clark, Andrew E., 1997. "Job satisfaction and gender: Why are women so happy at work?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 341-372, December.
    18. Dobrow, Shoshana R. & Ganzach, Yoav & Liu, Yihao, 2018. "Time and job satisfaction: a longitudinal study of the differential roles of age and tenure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64664, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    20. Furnham, Adrian, 1983. "The protestant work ethic, human values and attitudes towards taxation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 113-128, June.
    21. Simon L. Albrecht, 2012. "The influence of job, team and organizational level resources on employee well‐being, engagement, commitment and extra‐role performance," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 33(7), pages 840-853, October.
    22. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    23. Brendan Baird & Richard Lucas & M. Donnellan, 2010. "Life Satisfaction Across the Lifespan: Findings from Two Nationally Representative Panel Studies," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 183-203, November.
    24. John Zelenski & Steven Murphy & David Jenkins, 2008. "The Happy-Productive Worker Thesis Revisited," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 521-537, December.
    25. Ed Diener & Ed Sandvik & Larry Seidlitz & Marissa Diener, 1993. "The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 195-223, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Ardianti, Retno & Obschonka, Martin & Davidsson, Per, 2022. "Psychological well-being of hybrid entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    2. Xiao Zhou & Hualiang Li & Qiru Wang & Chaolin Xiong & Aihua Lin, 2023. "The Relationship between Personality Traits, Work–Family Support and Job Satisfaction among Frontline Power Grid Workers," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(3), pages 1-15, February.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hertweck, Matthias & Brey, Bjoern, 2017. "The Persistent Effects of Monsoon Rainfall Shocks in India: A Nonlinear VAR Approach," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168256, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Kannyiri Banyen & Nicholas Biekpe, 2020. "Financial integration, competition and bank efficiency: evidence from Africa’s sub-regional markets," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 53(4), pages 495-518, November.
    3. Sleibi, Yacoub & Casalin, Fabrizio & Fazio, Giorgio, 2020. "Bank-specific shocks and aggregate leverage: Empirical evidence from a panel of developed countries," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 49(C).
    4. Ryan H. Murphy & Colin O’Reilly, 2019. "Applying panel vector autoregression to institutions, human capital, and output," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 57(5), pages 1633-1652, November.
    5. Sigmund, Michael & Ferstl, Robert, 2021. "Panel vector autoregression in R with the package panelvar," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 693-720.
    6. sheunesu zhou, 2020. "Shadow Banking, Bank Liquidity and Monetary Policy Shocks in Emerging Countries: A Panel VAR Approach," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 11(6), pages 46-59.
    7. Marshall, Emily C. & Saunoris, James & Solis-Garcia, Mario & Do, Trang, 2023. "Measuring the size and dynamics of U.S. state-level shadow economies using a dynamic general equilibrium model with trends," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    8. Kacou Yves Thierry Kacou & Yacouba Kassouri & Andrew Adewale Alola & Mehmet Altuntaş, 2022. "Examining the sustainable development approach of migrants' remittances and financial development in sub‐Saharan African countries," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(5), pages 804-816, October.
    9. Pazouki, Azadeh & Zhu, Xiaoxian, 2022. "The dynamic impact among oil dependence volatility, the quality of political institutions, and government spending," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
    10. Aslan, Alper & Ocal, Oguz & Ozsolak, Baki & Ozturk, Ilhan, 2022. "Renewable energy and economic growth relationship under the oil reserve ownership: Evidence from panel VAR approach," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 402-410.
    11. Li, Shengfeng & Hoque, Hafiz & Thijssen, Jacco, 2021. "Firm financial behaviour dynamics and interactions: A structural vector autoregression approach," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    12. Alexandra-Anca Purcel, 2020. "Developing states and the green challenge. A dynamic approach," Post-Print hal-03182341, HAL.
    13. Alexandra-Anca PURCEL, 2020. "Developing States and the Green Challenge. A Dynamic Approach," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(2), pages 173-193, July.
    14. Cosimo Magazzino, 2017. "The relationship among economic growth, CO2 emissions, and energy use in the APEC countries: a panel VAR approach," Environment Systems and Decisions, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 353-366, September.
    15. Wang, Jing & Rickman, Dan S. & Yu, Yihua, 2022. "Dynamics between global value chain participation, CO2 emissions, and economic growth: Evidence from a panel vector autoregression model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    16. Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández, 2018. "Alternative Approaches to Technological Change when Growth is BoPC," Department of Economics University of Siena 795, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    17. Dimitrios Karamanis, 2022. "Defence partnerships, military expenditure, investment, and economic growth: an analysis in PESCO countries," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 173, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    18. MAÏ ASSAN CHEDI, Maman, 2022. "Does Defence Expenditure Affect Education and Health expenditures in Saharan Africa?," African Journal of Economic Review, African Journal of Economic Review, vol. 10(4), September.
    19. Odolinski, Kristofer & Wheat, Phillip, 2016. "Dynamics in rail infrastructure provision: maintenance and renewal costs in Sweden," Working papers in Transport Economics 2016:23, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI), revised 11 Dec 2017.
    20. Kumeka, Terver Theophilus & Uzoma-Nwosu, Damian Chidozie & David-Wayas, Maria Onyinye, 2022. "The effects of COVID-19 on the interrelationship among oil prices, stock prices and exchange rates in selected oil exporting economies," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).


    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:22:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s10902-020-00273-1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.