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"I'm afraid I have bad news for you . . ." Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being


  • Martin Binder
  • Alex Coad


Bad health can severely disrupt a person's life. We apply matching estimators to examine how changes in subjective health status as well as different (objective) conditions of bad health affect subjective well-being. The strongest effect is in the category alcohol and drug abuse, followed by anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses, stroke, diabetes and cancer. We also take into account differences in "Big Five" personality traits. Adaptation to health impairments depends strongly on the health impairment examined. There is also a puzzling asymmetry: strong adverse reactions to deteriorations in health are observed alongside weak increases in well-being after health improvements.

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  • Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2011. ""I'm afraid I have bad news for you . . ." Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-15, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2011-15

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    More about this item


    health; illness; happiness; matching estimators; propensity score matching; BHPS Length 33 pages;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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