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Longitudinal evidence for a midlife nadir in human well-being: Results from four data sets

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  • Cheng, Terence C.
  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

Abstract

There is a large amount of cross-sectional evidence for a midlife low in the life cycle of human happiness and well-being (a ‘U shape’). Yet no genuinely longitudinal inquiry has uncovered evidence for a U-shaped pattern. Thus, some researchers believe the U is a statistical artefact. We re-examine this fundamental cross-disciplinary question. We suggest a new test. Drawing on four data sets, and only within-person changes in well-being, we document powerful support for a U shape in longitudinal data (without the need for formal regression equations). The article's methodological contribution is to use the first-derivative properties of a well-being equation.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng, Terence C. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Oswald, Andrew J., 2017. "Longitudinal evidence for a midlife nadir in human well-being: Results from four data sets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65168, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:65168
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    1. D. Kuang & B. Nielsen & J. P. Nielsen, 2008. "Forecasting with the age-period-cohort model and the extended chain-ladder model," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 95(4), pages 987-991.
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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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