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What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-Course Model of Well-Being

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew E. Clark
  • Francesca Cornaglia
  • Richard Layard
  • Nattavudh Powdthavee
  • James Vernoit

Abstract

If policy-makers care about well-being, they need a recursive model of how adult life-satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences, acting both directly and (indirectly) through adult circumstances. We estimate such a model using the British Cohort Study (1970). The most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the child's emotional health. Next comes the child's conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child's intellectual development. This has obvious implications for educational policy. Among adult circumstances, family income accounts for only 0.5% of the variance of life-satisfaction. Mental and physical health are much more important.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Richard Layard & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2013. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-Course Model of Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1245, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1245
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
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    3. Knapp, Martin & McDaid, David & Parsonage, Michael, 2011. "Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention: the economic case," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 32311, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    5. 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.
    6. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Well-being; Life-satisfaction; Intervention; Model; Life-course; Emotional health; Conduct; Intellectual performance; Success;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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