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What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-course Model of Well-being

Listed author(s):
  • Richard Layard

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Andrew E. Clark

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Cornaglia Francesca

    (Queen Mary University of London [London], LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Powdthavee Nattavudh

    (University of Melbourne - University of Melbourne, LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

Policy makers who care about well-being need a recursive model of how adult life-satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences, acting both directly and (indirectly) through adult circumstances. We estimate such a model using the British Cohort Study (1970). We show that the most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the child's emotional health, followed by the child's conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child's intellectual development. This may have implications for educational policy. Among adult circumstances, family income accounts for only 0.5% of the variance of life-satisfaction. Mental and physical health are much more important.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" with number halshs-01109062.

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Length:
Date of creation: Nov 2014
Publication status: Published in The Economic Journal, 2014, 124 (580), pp.F720-F738
Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-01109062
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01109062
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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  1. Helliwell, John F., 2003. "How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
  2. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  3. Nicholas A. Christakis & Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & James H. Fowler & Bruno S. Frey, 2012. "Genes, Economics and Happiness," CEP Discussion Papers dp1127, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Andrew E. Clark & Richard Layard & Claudia Senik, 2012. "The causes of happiness and misery," Post-Print halshs-00846583, HAL.
  5. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
  6. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Marcus Richards & Stephani L. Hatch, 2011. "A Life Course Approach to the Development of Mental Skills," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 66(suppl_1), pages 26-35.
  8. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  9. James J. Heckman, 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," NBER Working Papers 17378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Christopher Boyce & Alex Wood & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 287-305, March.
  11. Martin Knapp & David McDaid & Michael Parsonage, 2011. "Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention: the economic case," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 32311, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2011. "Destined for (Un)Happiness: Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 5819, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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