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The Determinants Of Well-Being Prioritisation Over The Life Cycle


  • Ocean, Neel

    (University of Warwick)


Recently, a novel attempt has been made to estimate priorities for the different aspects of subjective well-being, in order to understand where resources might best be allocated. However, the determinants of, and life cycle trends for prioritisation have yet to be studied. This paper - the first to study these issues - finds no consistent evidence of variation in priorities over the life cycle, unlike the ‘mid-life crisis’ observed for levels. Life satisfaction is the most valued aspect of well-being throughout life. However, people overestimate the value placed by others on happiness. Well-being priorities are strongly influenced by well-being levels, and individual fixed effects such as personality, health level, and smoking frequency. The separation of aspects into cognitive and affective factors may provide additional insight into how individuals generate priorities, and hence inform the optimal targeting of policy.

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  • Ocean, Neel, 2016. "The Determinants Of Well-Being Prioritisation Over The Life Cycle," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 301, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:301

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    3. Mujcic, R. & Oswald, A.J., 2016. "Evolution of well-being and happiness after increases in consumption of fruit and vegetables," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 106(8), pages 1504-1510.
    4. O'Donnell, Gus & Oswald, Andrew J., 2015. "National well-being policy and a weighted approach to human feelings," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 59-70.
    5. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2012. "Heresy or enlightenment? The well-being age U-shape effect is flat," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 235-238.
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