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Do people really adapt to marriage?

Author

Listed:
  • Richard E. Lucas

    (Michigan State University [East Lansing], DIW - Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung - German Institute for Economic Research)

  • Andrew E. Clark

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Although cross-sectional studies have shown a reliable association between marital status and subjective well-being, a recent longitudinal study (Lucas, Clark, Georgellis, & Diener, 2003) found no support for the idea that happiness increases after marriage. Instead, participants who got married reported short-term increases followed by complete adaptation back to baseline levels of well-being. However, researchers have criticized this study on two grounds. First, these results contradict cohort-based analyses from a nationally representative sample. Second, these analyses do not control for pre-marriage cohabitation, which could potentially inflate baseline levels of well-being. The original data (plus four additional waves) are reanalyzed to address these concerns. Results confirm that individuals do not get a lasting boost in life satisfaction following marriage.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard E. Lucas & Andrew E. Clark, 2005. "Do people really adapt to marriage?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590574, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00590574
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00590574
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
    2. 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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