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Back to baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the BHPS

  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, 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 - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA)

  • Yannis Georgellis

    (Brunel University - Brunel University)

We look for evidence of adaptation of well-being to major life events in sixteen waves of British panel data. We find that, with the exception of unemployment, adaptation to other life events including marriage, divorce, birth of a child and widowhood is rapid and complete. These findings are remarkably similar to those found in previous analysis of German panel data. Equally, the time profiles of well-being as measured by life satisfaction data are very close to those from the analysis of a twelve-item scale of psychological functioning. As such, the phenomenon of adaptation may be a general one, rather than being only found in German data or using single-item measures. Last, we uncover some systematic differences in adaptation profiles according to "Big Five" personality measures.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00564821.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00564821
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages F222-F243, 06.
  2. Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2010. "Back to baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the BHPS," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564821, HAL.
  3. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2006. "Does Happiness Adapt? A Longitudinal Study of Disability with Implications for Economists and Judges," IZA Discussion Papers 2208, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2011. "Life Satisfaction Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 190-211, 03.
  5. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "Do people really adapt to marriage?," Post-Print halshs-00754117, HAL.
  6. Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336.
  7. Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2002. "Unemployment Alters the Set-Point for Life Satisfaction," Public Policy Discussion Papers 02-16, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  8. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  9. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  10. Qari, Salmai, 2014. "Marriage, adaptation and happiness: Are there long-lasting gains to marriage?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 29-39.
  11. Clark, Andrew E & Georgellis, Yannis & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-41, May.
  12. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Ed Diener, 2002. "Re-Examining Adaptation and the Setpoint Model of Happiness: Reactions to Changes in Marital Status," DELTA Working Papers 2002-08, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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