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Alternative Values-Based 'Recipes' for Life Satisfaction: German Results with an Australian Replication

Author

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  • Headey, Bruce

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

  • Wagner, Gert G.

    () (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)

Abstract

In most research on Life Satisfaction (LS), it is assumed that the covariates of high and low LS are the same for everyone, or at least everyone in the West. In this paper, analysing data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, with a limited replication based on Australian panel data, we estimate models of alternative 'recipes' for LS. There appear to be at least four distinct 'recipes', which are primarily based on the values of different population sub-sets. These values are: altruistic values, family values, materialistic values and religious values. By a 'recipe' for LS we mean a linked set of values, behavioural choices and domain satisfactions, which appear to be held together by a person's values, and which prove to have substantial effects on LS. Our German and Australian evidence indicates that individuals who follow recipes based on altruistic, family or religious values record above average long term LS, whereas the materialistic values 'recipe' is associated with below average LS.

Suggested Citation

  • Headey, Bruce & Wagner, Gert G., 2018. "Alternative Values-Based 'Recipes' for Life Satisfaction: German Results with an Australian Replication," IZA Discussion Papers 11818, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11818
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruce Headey, 2008. "Life Goals Matter to Happiness: A Revision of Set-Point Theory," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 86(2), pages 213-231, April.
    2. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
    3. Bruce Headey & Ruud Muffels & Gert Wagner, 2014. "Parents Transmit Happiness Along with Associated Values and Behaviors to Their Children: A Lifelong Happiness Dividend?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(3), pages 909-933, May.
    4. repec:aea:jecper:v:32:y:2018:i:2:p:155-72 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    life satisfaction; alternative recipes; values/life priorities; behavioural choices; domain satisfactions; panel data; SOEP;

    JEL classification:

    • C55 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Large Data Sets: Modeling and Analysis
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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