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The Age U-shape in Europe: The Protective Role of Partnership

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Hippolyte d'Albis

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris Sciences et Lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Angela Greulich

    (OSC - Observatoire sociologique du changement (Sciences Po, CNRS) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

We here ask whether the U-shaped relationship between life satisfaction and age is flatter for those who are partnered. This is the case in cross-section EU-SILC data, where the drop in life satisfaction from the teens to the 50s is almost four times larger for the non-partnered than for the partnered, whose life satisfaction essentially follows a slight downward trajectory with age. However, the same analysis in three panel datasets (BHPS, SOEP and HILDA) reveals a U-shape for both marital groups, although still somewhat flatter for the partnered than for the non-partnered. We suggest that the difference between the cross-section and panel results reflects compositional effects: there is in particular a significant shift of the relatively dissatisfied out of marriage in mid-life. These composition effects will flatten the U-shape in age for the partnered in cross-section data.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & Hippolyte d'Albis & Angela Greulich, 2020. "The Age U-shape in Europe: The Protective Role of Partnership," Working Papers halshs-02872212, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-02872212
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-02872212
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Piper, Alan, 2023. "Age and Happiness," MPRA Paper 117556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Carol L. Graham, 2022. "The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: a Critique," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 287-344, May.
    3. Begoña Álvarez, 2022. "The Best Years of Older Europeans’ Lives," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 227-260, February.

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    Keywords

    Age U-shape; Subjective Well-being; Marriage; EU-SILC;
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