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Other-Regarding Preferences, Spousal Disability and Happiness: Evidence from German Couples

  • Nils Braakmann

This paper considers the impact of adverse health shocks that hit an individual's partner on subjective well-being. Using data on couples from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the years 1984 to 2006, I compare the losses in well-being caused by own and spousal disability using panel-regressions. I find that women and to a lesser extent men are harmed by spousal disability which is consistent with the existence of other-regarding preferences within couples. The magnitude of effects suggests that spousal disability is about one quarter to one half as harmful as individual disability with larger effects being found for women.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.99100.de/diw_sp0194.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 194.

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Length: 21 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp194
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  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Kristensen, Nicolai & Westergaard-Nielsen, Niels, 2008. "Economic Satisfaction and Income Rank in Small Neighbourhoods," Working Papers 08-25, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Adrian Bruhin & Rainer Winkelmann, 2007. "Happiness Functions with Preference Interdependence and Heterogeneity: The Case of Altruism within the Family," SOI - Working Papers 0702, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Feb 2008.
  4. SonjaC. Kassenboehmer & JohnP. Haisken-DeNew, 2009. "You're Fired! The Causal Negative Effect of Entry Unemployment on Life Satisfaction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 448-462, 03.
  5. Wim Groot & Henri�tte Maassen van den Brink & Erik Plug, 2004. "Money for health: the equivalent variation of cardiovascular diseases," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 859-872.
  6. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Bernard M.S. van Praag, 2002. "The subjective costs of health losses due to chronic diseases. An alternative model for monetary appraisal," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(8), pages 709-722.
  7. Ville, I. & Ravaud, J. -F. & Group, Tetrafigap, 2001. "Subjective well-being and severe motor impairments: the Tetrafigap survey on the long-term outcome of tetraplegic spinal cord injured persons," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 369-384, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
  11. Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2008. "You’re Fired! The Causal Negative Effect of Unemployment on Life Satisfaction," Ruhr Economic Papers 0063, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
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