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Ageing, Health and Life Satisfaction of the Oldest Old: An Analysis for Germany

  • Gwozdz, Wencke


    (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Sousa-Poza, Alfonso


    (University of Hohenheim)

This analysis uses data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) and the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) to assess the effect of ageing and health on the life satisfaction of the oldest old (defined as 75 and older). We observe a U-shaped relationship between age and levels of life satisfaction for individuals aged between 16 and approximately 65. Thereafter, life satisfaction declines rapidly and the lowest absolute levels of life satisfaction are recorded for the oldest old. This decline is primarily attributable to low levels of perceived health. Once cohort effects are also controlled for, life satisfaction remains relatively constant across the lifespan.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4053.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Social Indicators Research, 2010, 97(3), 325-339
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4053
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  1. Chaonan Chen, 2001. "Aging and Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 57-79, April.
  2. Smith, Jacqui, 2001. "Well-being and health from age 70 to 100: findings from the Berlin Aging Study," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 461-477, October.
  3. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Kapteyn, Arie & Wansbeek, Tom & Buyze, Jeannine, 1978. "The dynamics of preference formation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 93-98.
  5. Clark, Andrew E., 2007. "Born To Be Mild? Cohort Effects Don’t (Fully) Explain Why Well-Being Is U-Shaped in Age," IZA Discussion Papers 3170, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew Oswald, 2007. "Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?," NBER Working Papers 12935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Qiang Li, 2005. "Subjective well-being and mortality in Chinese oldest old," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  8. Hendrik Jürges, 2006. "True health vs. response styles: Exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health," MEA discussion paper series 06105, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  9. James Horley & J. Lavery, 1995. "Subjective well-being and age," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 275-282, February.
  10. Fischer, Justina AV & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2007. "Does Job Satisfaction Improve The Health Of Workers? New Evidence Using Panel Data And Objective Measures Of Health," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 687, Stockholm School of Economics.
  11. Ruut Veenhoven, 1999. "Quality-of-Life in Individualistic Society," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 159-188, October.
  12. Bert G.M. Van Landeghem, 2008. "Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," LICOS Discussion Papers 21308, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  13. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
  14. Andrew E. Clark & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "The curved relationship between subjective well-being and age," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590404, HAL.
  15. Ruut Veenhoven, 1996. "Developments in satisfaction-research," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 1-46, January.
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