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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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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. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
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  3. 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.
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  7. Rainer Winkelmann, 2005. "Subjective well-being and the family: Results from an ordered probit model with multiple random effects," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 749-761, October.
  8. 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.
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  10. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
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  12. 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.
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  16. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "The nature of human altruism," Experimental 0402003, EconWPA.
  17. Phelps, Charlotte D., 2001. "A clue to the paradox of happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 293-300, July.
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