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Poverty and Well-Being: Panel Evidence from Germany

  • Andrew E. Clark

    ()

    (Paris School of Economics - CNRS)

  • Conchita D’Ambrosio

    ()

    (Università di Milano-Bicocca, DIW Berlin and Econpubblica)

  • Simone Ghislandi

    ()

    (Università Bocconi and Econpubblica)

We consider the link between poverty and subjective well-being, and focus in particular on the role of time. We use panel data on 42,500 individuals living in Germany from 1992 to 2010 to uncover four empirical relationships. First, life satisfaction falls with both the incidence and intensity of contemporaneous poverty. There is no evidence of adaptation within a poverty spell: poverty starts bad and stays bad in terms of subjective well-being. Third, poverty scars: those who have been poor in the past report lower life satisfaction today, even when out of poverty. Last, the order of poverty spells matters: for a given number of poverty spells, satisfaction is lower when the spells are concatenated: poverty persistence reduces well-being. These effects differ by population subgroups.

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File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2013-291.pdf
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Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 291.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2013-291
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ecineq.org
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2003. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 371, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages F720-F738, November.
  5. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2002. "Modelling Low Income Transitions," IZA Discussion Papers 504, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  7. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2009. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk-Taking?," NBER Working Papers 14813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010. "Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
  9. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  10. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2008. "Scarring or Scaring? The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment and Future Unemployment Risk," FEMM Working Papers 08013, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  11. 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).
  12. Luc Christiaensen & Anthony Shorrocks, 2012. "Measuring poverty over time," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 137-143, June.
  13. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
  14. David Clark, 2009. "Adaptation, Poverty and Well-Being: Some Issues and Observations with Special Reference to the Capability Approach and Development Studies," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 21-42.
  15. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  16. Markku Kaustia & Samuli Knüpfer, 2008. "Do Investors Overweight Personal Experience? Evidence from IPO Subscriptions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2679-2702, December.
  17. Tania Burchardt, 2005. "Are One Man’s Rags Another Man’s Riches? Identifying Adaptive Expectations using Panel Data," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 57-102, October.
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