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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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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Method of the month: Semiparametric models with penalised splines
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2017-12-19 13:00:05

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2014. "Big and Tall: Is there a Height Premium or Obesity Penalty in the Labor Market?," IZA Discussion Papers 8606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Thieme, Paula & Dittrich, Dennis Alexis Valin, 2015. "A life-span perspective on life satisfaction," MPRA Paper 64700, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Alberto Montagnoli & Mirko Moro, 2014. "Everybody Hurts: Banking Crises and Individual Wellbeing," Working Papers 2014010, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    7. Chadi, Adrian, 2014. "Dissatisfied with Life or with Being Interviewed? Happiness and Motivation to Participate in a Survey," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100505, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2017. "Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham's Happiness for All?," IZA Discussion Papers 11184, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J, 2018. "Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham’s Happiness for All?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1153, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    10. Wunder, Christoph & Heineck, Guido, 2013. "Working time preferences, hours mismatch and well-being of couples: Are there spillovers?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 244-252.
    11. 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).
    12. Judith Clifton & Daniel Díaz-Fuentes & Marcos Fernández-Gutiérrez, 2014. "The impact of socio-economic background on satisfaction: evidence for policy-makers," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 183-206, October.
    13. Clemens Hetschko, 2016. "On the misery of losing self-employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 461-478, August.
    14. Pelgrin, Florian & St-Amour, Pascal, 2016. "Life cycle responses to health insurance status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 76-96.
    15. Murtin, Fabrice & Boarini, Romina & Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2017. "Beyond GDP: Is there a law of one shadow price?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 390-411.
    16. Felix FitzRoy & Michael Nolan & Max Steinhardt & David Ulph, 2014. "Testing the tunnel effect: comparison, age and happiness in UK and German panels," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, December.
    17. Christian Pfeifer, 2013. "Life satisfaction and the consumption values of partners and friends: Empirical evidence from German panel survey data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(4), pages 3131-3142.
    18. Christoph Wunder & Johannes Schwarze, 2014. "Is Posner Right? An Empirical Test of the Posner Argument for Transferring Health Spending from Old Women to Old Men," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 1239-1257, December.
    19. Lin, Yi-Chen & Hwang, Ruey-Ching & Deng, Wen-Shuenn, 2015. "Heterogeneity in the relationship between subjective well-being and its determinants over the life cycle: A varying-coefficient ordered probit approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 372-386.
    20. Baetschmann, Gregori & Staub, Kevin E. & Studer, Raphael, 2016. "Does the stork deliver happiness? Parenthood and life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 242-260.
    21. repec:bla:ausecr:v:49:y:2016:i:4:p:474-482 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Schnitzlein Daniel D. & Wunder Christoph, 2016. "Are We Architects of Our Own Happiness? The Importance of Family Background for Well-Being," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 125-149, January.
    23. Chadi, Adrian, 2013. "The role of interviewer encounters in panel responses on life satisfaction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 550-554.
    24. Wunder, Christoph, 2016. "Working hours mismatch and well-being: comparative evidence from Australian and German panel data," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145544, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    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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