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What Can Happiness Research Tell Us about Altruism?: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel

  • Johannes Schwarze
  • Rainer Winkelmann

Much progress has been made in recent years on developing and applying a direct measure of utility using survey questions on subjective well-being. In this paper we explore whether this new type of measurement can be fruitfully applied to the study of interdependent utility in general, and altruism between parents and children in particular. We introduce an appropriate econometric methodology and, using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the years 2000 - 2002, find that the parents' self-reported happiness depends positively, albeit not very strongly, on the happiness of adult children who moved out.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.43020.de/dp475.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 475.

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Length: 25 p.
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp475
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  1. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  2. Terza, Joseph V., 1987. "Estimating linear models with ordinal qualitative regressors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 275-291, March.
  3. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  4. 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.
  5. Lars P. Feld & Sarah Necker & Bruno S. Frey, 2014. "Happiness of Economists," CESifo Working Paper Series 5099, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Exploring the economic and social determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 513-537.
  7. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2005. "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IZA Discussion Papers 1811, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1989. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 3046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  10. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rainer Winkelmann, 2002. "Subjective Well-Being and the Family: Results from an Ordered Probit Model with Multiple Random Effects," SOI - Working Papers 0204, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Jan 2004.
  12. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Phelps, Charlotte D., 2001. "A clue to the paradox of happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 293-300, July.
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1981. "Altruism in the Family and Selfishness in the Market Place," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(189), pages 1-15, February.
  15. 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.
  16. Peter Egger & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2002. "Long Run and Short Effects in Static Panel Models," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 B6-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  17. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "The nature of human altruism," Experimental 0402003, EconWPA.
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