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. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    2. Lovell, Michael C, 1986. "Tests of the Rational Expectations Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 110-124, March.
    3. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Das, J.W.M. & Dominitz, J. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1997. "Comparing Predictions and Outcomes : Theory and Application to Income Changes," Discussion Paper 1997-45, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. 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.
    7. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-241, May.
    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. 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.
    10. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    18. 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, December.
    19. 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.
    20. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    21. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Saving and income smoothing: Evidence from panel data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1251-1279, July.
    22. 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.
    23. 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.
    24. Roberts, John M., 1997. "Is inflation sticky?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 173-196, July.
    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 of Labor Economics (IZA).

    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. Frijters, Paul & Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Shields, Michael A., 2002. "Individual Rationality and Learning: Welfare Expectations in East Germany Post-Reunification," IZA Discussion Papers 498, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Paul Frijters & Harry Greenwell & John P. Haisken‐DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2009. "How well do individuals predict their future life satisfaction? Evidence from panel data following a nationwide exogenous shock," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(4), pages 1326-1346, November.
    3. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    5. Antje Mertens & Miriam Beblo, 2016. "Self-Reported Satisfaction and the Economic Crisis of 2007–2010: Or How People in the UK and Germany Perceive a Severe Cyclical Downturn," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 537-565, January.
    6. Peiro, Amado, 2006. "Happiness, satisfaction and socio-economic conditions: Some international evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 348-365, April.
    7. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
    8. Antje Mertens & Miriam Beblo, 2016. "Self-Reported Satisfaction and the Economic Crisis of 2007–2010: Or How People in the UK and Germany Perceive a Severe Cyclical Downturn," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 537-565, January.
    9. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michale A. Shields, 2001. "The Value of Reunification in Germany: An Analysis of Changes in Life Satisfaction," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 828, The University of Melbourne.
    10. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2012. "Jobless, Friendless and Broke: What Happens to Different Areas of Life Before and After Unemployment?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(315), pages 557-575, July.
    11. Roberta Distante, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being, Income and Relative Concerns in the UK," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 81-105, August.
    12. Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Sinning, Mathias, 2007. "Social Deprivation and Exclusion of Immigrants in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3153, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Shields, Michael A. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2001. "Exploring the Economic and Social Determinants of Psychological and Psychosocial Health," IZA Discussion Papers 396, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
    15. Salland, Jan, 2021. "Income Comparison and Happiness within Households," Working Paper 191/2021, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    16. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 291-308.
    17. Aguilar, Alexandra Cortés & García Muñoz, Teresa M. & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2013. "Heterogeneous self-employment and satisfaction in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 44-61.
    18. Yu, Ge, 2003. "Comparing Expectations and Outcomes: Application to UK Data," MPRA Paper 502, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2005.
    19. Mike Shields & Mark Wooden, 2003. "Investigating the Role of Neighbourhood Characteristics in Determining Life Satisfaction," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2003n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    20. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Ronnie Schöb & Joachim Weimann, 2010. "Dissatisfied with Life but Having a Good Day: Time-use and Well-being of the Unemployed," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 867-889, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life Satisfaction; Rationality; Learning; German Reunification;
    All these keywords.

    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: https://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 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: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cpanuau.html .

    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.