IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/auu/dpaper/468.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How Well Do Individuals Predict Their Future Life Satisfaction? Rationality and Learning Following a Nationwide Exogenous Shock

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Frijters
  • John P. Haisken-DeNew
  • Michael Shields

Abstract

Over recent years a number of papers have uses individual or household longitudinal survey data to investigate the rationality of income expectations. In this paper we provide a novel contribution to this literature by examining the ability of individuals to correctly predict their own future life satisfaction using longitudinal data for East Germans. The environment in which this analysis is based is the decade following reunification of Germany, and it is generally accepted that reunification was completely unexpected and delivered a particularly large shock to the future prospects of the inhabitants of the former East Germany. We therefore take it as a 'natural' experiment through which to study the rationality of expectations and the adjustment of expectations over a period of substantial transition. Our results show that the majority of East Germans significantly over-estimated the gains from reunification. As with the recent literature on income expectations, we find strong evidence of micro-heterogeneity with the largest prediction errors being for the young, the poorly educated and those with children. An important result, however is that expectations and realisations of life satisfaction in East Germany had essentially converged only five years after reunification, at a level considerably below that of West Germans.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael Shields, 2003. "How Well Do Individuals Predict Their Future Life Satisfaction? Rationality and Learning Following a Nationwide Exogenous Shock," CEPR Discussion Papers 468, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:468
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP468.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lovell, Michael C, 1986. "Tests of the Rational Expectations Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 110-124, March.
    2. Das, Marcel & van Soest, Arthur, 1999. "A panel data model for subjective information on household income growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 409-426, December.
    3. Bonham, Carl S & Cohen, Richard H, 2001. "To Aggregate, Pool, or Neither: Testing the Rational-Expectations Hypothesis Using Survey Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(3), pages 278-291, July.
    4. Helliwell, John F., 2003. "How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
    5. Clark, Andrew E & Georgellis, Yannis & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-241, May.
    6. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    7. Smith, Jeremy & McAleer, Michael, 1995. "Alternative Procedures for Converting Qualitative Response Data to Quantitative Expectations: An Application to Australian Manufacturing," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 165-185, April-Jun.
    8. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328.
    9. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    10. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    11. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    12. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Bernard M.S. van Praag, 2002. "The subjective costs of health losses due to chronic diseases. An alternative model for monetary appraisal," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(8), pages 709-722.
    13. Marjorie A. Flavin, 1991. "The Joint Consumption/Asset Demand Decision: A Case Study in Robust Estimation," NBER Working Papers 3802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-984, November.
    15. Roberts, John M., 1997. "Is inflation sticky?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 173-196, July.
    16. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
    17. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-735, September.
    18. Carl S Bonham & Richard H Cohen, 2000. "Testing the Rational Expectations Hypothesis using Survey Data," Working Papers 200007, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    19. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Saving and income smoothing: Evidence from panel data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1251-1279, July.
    20. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    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. Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Sinning, Mathias, 2007. "Social Deprivation and Exclusion of Immigrants in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3153, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life Satisfaction; Rationality; Learning; German Reunification;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    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:auu:dpaper:468. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cpanuau.html .

    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.