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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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Carol Graham & Soumya Chattopadhyay, 2013. "Gender and well-being around the world," International Journal of Happiness and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(2), pages 212-232.
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    4. James J. Heckman & Stefano Mosso, 2014. "The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 689-733, August.
    5. 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.
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    11. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Cornaglia Francesca & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-course Model of Well-being," Post-Print halshs-01109062, HAL.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life-course; well-being; eudaimonia; health; happiness;

    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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