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Marriage Matters: Spousal Similarity in Life Satisfaction

Author

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  • Ulrich Schimmack
  • Richard Lucas

Abstract

Examined the concurrent and cross-lagged spousal similarity in life satisfaction over a 21-year period. Analyses were based on married couples (N = 847) in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Concurrent spousal similarity was considerably higher than one-year retest similarity, revealing spousal similarity in the variable component of life satisfac-tion. Spousal similarity systematically decreased with length of retest interval, revealing simi-larity in the changing component of life satisfaction. Finally, there was considerable spousal similarity in the stable component of life satisfaction over 20-years. The implications of these findings for causal theories of life satisfaction and studies in line with behavioural genetics are discussed

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Schimmack & Richard Lucas, 2006. "Marriage Matters: Spousal Similarity in Life Satisfaction," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 623, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp623
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.44710.de/dp623.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Semih Tumen & Tugba Zeydanli, 2015. "Is Happiness Contagious? Separating Spillover Externalities from the Group-Level Social Context," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 719-744, June.
    2. Cahit Guven & Claudia Senik & Holger Stichnoth, 2011. "You can't be happier than your wife. Happiness Gaps and Divorce," Working Papers halshs-00555427, HAL.
    3. Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2009. "I can't smile without you: Spousal correlation in life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 675-689, August.
    4. Guven, Cahit & Senik, Claudia & Stichnoth, Holger, 2012. "You can’t be happier than your wife. Happiness gaps and divorce," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 110-130.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective Well Being; Life Satisfaction; Marriage; Couples; Spousal Similarity; Heritability; Assortative Mating; Longitudinal Panel; SOEP;

    JEL classification:

    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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