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(Mis-)Predicted Subjective Well-Being Following Life Events

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  • Reto Odermatt
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

The correct prediction of how alternative states of the world affect our lives is a cornerstone of economics. We study how accurate people are in predicting their future well-being after facing major life events. Based on individual panel data, we compare people's life satisfaction forecasts reported in the first interview after a major life event with their actual evaluations five years later on. This is done after the individuals experience widowhood, unemployment, disability, marriage, separation or divorce. We find systematic prediction errors that seem at least partly driven by unforeseen adaptation after the first four of these events.

Suggested Citation

  • Reto Odermatt & Alois Stutzer, 2017. "(Mis-)Predicted Subjective Well-Being Following Life Events," CREMA Working Paper Series 2017-12, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2017-12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. The impact bias against Labour
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2017-09-29 17:51:17

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    Cited by:

    1. Odermatt, Reto & Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Stutzer, Alois, 2017. "Overoptimistic Entrepreneurs: Predicting Wellbeing Consequences of Self-Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 11098, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Hielke Buddelmeyer & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Mark Wooden, 2015. "The Stress Cost of Children," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2015n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Kuhn, Andreas, 2015. "The Individual Perception of Wage Inequality: A Measurement Framework and Some Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 9579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Jara, Xavier, 2017. "'Fair' Welfare Comparisons with Heterogeneous Tastes: Subjective versus Revealed Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 10908, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Krekel, Christian & Zerrahn, Alexander, 2017. "Does the presence of wind turbines have negative externalities for people in their surroundings? Evidence from well-being data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 221-238.
    6. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Jara, Xavier, 2017. "Back to Bentham, Should We? Large-Scale Comparison of Experienced versus Decision Utility," IZA Discussion Papers 10907, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier B. & Jara, H. Xavier, 2017. "Back to Bentham, Should We? Large-Scale Comparison of Experienced versus Decision Utility," GLO Discussion Paper Series 52, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adaptation; life satisfaction; life events; projection-bias; subjective well-being; utility prediction; unemployement;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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