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Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph Wunder

    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Andrea Wiencierz

    (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

  • Johannes Schwarze

    (University of Bamberg, DIW Berlin, and IZA Bonn)

  • Helmut Küchenhoff

    (Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität Munich)

Abstract

This paper applies semiparametric regression models using penalized splines to investigate the profile of well-being over the life span. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), the analysis shows a common, and quite similar, age-specific pattern of life satisfaction for both Britain and Germany that can be characterized by three age stages. The evidence suggests that the U-shaped profile is a good approximation of decreasing and increasing well-being in the first and second stage. After people reached their late 60s, however, a decline in well-being is found in the third stage. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff, 2013. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 154-167, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:1:p:154-167
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    Keywords

    subjective well-being; life satisfaction; semiparametric regression; penalized splines;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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