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Back to baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the BHPS

Author

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  • Andrew E. Clark

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

  • Yannis Georgellis

    (Brunel University - Brunel University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2010. "Back to baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the BHPS," Working Papers halshs-00564821, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564821
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00564821
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2008. "Happiness Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
    5. 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 221-241, May.
    6. Luis Angeles, 2009. "Adaption and anticipation effects to life events in the United Kingdom," Working Papers 2009_08, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    7. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    8. Alita Nandi & Cheti Nicoletti, 2014. "Explaining personality pay gaps in the UK," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(26), pages 3131-3150, September.
    9. Richard Lucas & Andrew Clark, 2006. "Do People Really Adapt To Marriage?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 405-426, November.
    10. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 291-308.
    11. Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles & Melissa Osborne, 2001. "Incentive-Enhancing Preferences: Personality, Behavior, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 155-158, May.
    12. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A note on unhappiness and unemployment duration," Working Papers halshs-00590444, HAL.
    13. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
    14. Goldsmith, Arthur H & Veum, Jonathan R & Darity, William, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Psychological and Human Capital on Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 815-829, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Binder, Martin & Coad, Alex, 2013. "“I'm afraid I have bad news for you…” Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 155-167.
    2. Binder, Martin & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Volunteering, subjective well-being and public policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 97-119.
    3. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2013. "Life satisfaction and self-employment: a matching approach," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 1009-1033, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life Satisfaction; anticipation; adaptation; baseline satisfaction; labour market and life events;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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