A Note on the High Stability of Happiness: The Minimal Effects of a Nuclear Catastrophe on Life Satisfaction
Using life satisfaction as a direct measure of individual utility has become popular in the empirical economic literature. In this context, it is crucial to know what circumstances or changes the measure is sensitive to. Is life satisfaction a volatile concept that is affected by minor changes in life circumstances? Or is it a reliable measure of personal happiness? This paper will analyze the impact of a catastrophe, namely the nuclear catastrophe of Chernobyl, on life satisfaction. I use longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study and especially information collected on a monthly basis which allows the researcher to study calendar effects. The following clear-cut results are found. While concern about the environment rose immediately after the nuclear incident, life satisfaction changed little. This suggests that although people were aware of the severity of the catastrophe, they did not feel that their individual well-being had been affected. This finding is highly relevant to the life satisfaction literature as it shows that the life satisfaction measure is very stable and robust against societal and global events. It is shown to predominantly reflect personal life circumstances like health, employment, income, and the family situation and this relationship is apparently not disturbed by global events. Thus, my results reinforce previous findings on the relationship between life satisfaction and individual life characteristics as the stability of their outcome measure is approved.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Mohrenstraße 58, D-10117 Berlin|
Web page: http://www.diw.de/en/soep
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David G. Blanchflower & Andrew Oswald, 2007.
"Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?,"
NBER Working Papers
12935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Is Well-Being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?," IZA Discussion Papers 3075, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 826, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002.
"How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?,"
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers
02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001.
"What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
503, CESifo Group Munich.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
- Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2007.
"Quantifying the Psychological Costs of Unemployment: The Role of Permanent Income,"
SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research
32, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Andreas Knabe & Steffen Ratzel, 2011. "Quantifying the psychological costs of unemployment: the role of permanent income," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(21), pages 2751-2763.
- Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2007. "Quantifying the psychological costs of unemployment: the role of permanent income," FEMM Working Papers 07012, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
- Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007.
"The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements,"
SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research
1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
- Jörg Dittmann, 2005. "Entwicklung der Kriminalitätseinstellungen in Deutschland: eine Zeitreihenanalyse anhand allgemeiner Bevölkerungsumfragen," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 468, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
- Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2005. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521848053, November.
- Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
- Clark, Andrew E., 2007. "Born To Be Mild? Cohort Effects Don’t (Fully) Explain Why Well-Being Is U-Shaped in Age," IZA Discussion Papers 3170, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ulrich Schimmack & Jürgen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2008. "The Influence of Environment and Personality on the Affective and Cognitive Component of Subjective Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 89(1), pages 41-60, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp109. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.