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Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study

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  • Clark, Andrew E.
  • Lee, Tom

Abstract

We here use data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) to provide one of the first analyses of the distal (early-life) and proximal (later-life) correlates of older-life subjective well-being. Unusually, we have two distinct measures of the latter: happiness and eudaimonia. Even after controlling for proximal covariates, outcomes at age 18 (IQ score, parental income and parental education) remain good predictors of well-being over 50 years later. In terms of the proximal covariates, mental health and social participation are the strongest predictors of both measures of well-being in older age. However, there are notable differences in the other correlates of happiness and eudaimonia. As such, well-being policy will depend to an extent on which measure is preferred.

Suggested Citation

  • Clark, Andrew E. & Lee, Tom, 2017. "Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1706, CEPREMAP.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:1706
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    File URL: http://www.cepremap.fr/depot/docweb/docweb1706.pdf
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    1. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2011. "Is Happiness Different From Flourishing? Cross-Country Evidence from the ESS," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 121(1), pages 17-34.
    2. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
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    6. Graham, Carol & Nikolova, Milena, 2015. "Bentham or Aristotle in the Development Process? An Empirical Investigation of Capabilities and Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 163-179.
    7. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2018. "The Origins of Happiness: The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course," Post-Print halshs-01631510, HAL.
    8. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2002. "Inverse probability weighted M-estimators for sample selection, attrition, and stratification," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 1(2), pages 117-139, August.
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    10. Bruce Sacerdote, 2007. "How Large are the Effects from Changes in Family Environment? A Study of Korean American Adoptees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 119-157.
    11. Andrew E. Clark & Akiko Kamesaka & Teruyuki Tamura, 2015. "Rising aspirations dampen satisfaction," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(5), pages 515-531, October.
    12. Wehner, Caroline & Schils, Trudie & Borghans, Lex, 2016. "Personality and Mental Health: The Role and Substitution Effect of Emotional Stability and Conscientiousness," IZA Discussion Papers 10337, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    14. Christopher Boyce & Alex Wood & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 287-305, March.
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    16. Andrew E. Clark & SeEun Jung, 2017. "Does Compulsory Education Really Increase Life Satisfaction?," Inha University IBER Working Paper Series 2017-6, Inha University, Institute of Business and Economic Research, revised Jul 2017.
    17. Fletcher Jason M. & Schurer Stefanie, 2017. "Origins of Adulthood Personality: The Role of Adverse Childhood Experiences," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 17(2), pages 1-22, April.
    18. Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard, 2017. "Do More of Those in Misery Suffer from Poverty, Unemployment or Mental Illness?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 27-41, February.
    19. 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).
    20. Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "SWB as a Measure of Individual Well-Being," Working Papers halshs-01134483, HAL.
    21. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
    22. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 159-184, Winter.
    23. Andrew Clark & Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard & Nattavudh Powdthavee & George Ward, 2017. "Origins of happiness," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 497, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    24. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2014. "Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 688-719, November.
    25. Eric Reither & Robert Hauser & Karen Swallen, 2009. "Predicting adult health and mortality from adolescent facial characteristics in yearbook photographs," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(1), pages 27-41, February.
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    1. Early-Life Correlates of Later-Life Well-Being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2018-02-20 19:19:51

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    Cited by:

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    2. Claudia Börnhorst & Dörte Heger & Anne Mensen, 2019. "Associations of childhood health and financial situation with quality of life after retirement – regional variation across Europe," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(4), pages 1-17, April.
    3. Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios & Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, 2020. "Protecting the mental health of future adults: Disentangling the determinants of adolescent bullying victimisation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 253(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life-course; well-being; eudaimonia; health; happiness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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