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Happiness and the Persistence of Income Shocks

  • Bayer, Christian

    ()

    (University of Bonn)

  • Juessen, Falko

    ()

    (University of Wuppertal)

We reassess the empirical effect of income and employment on self-reported well-being. Our analysis makes use of a novel two-step estimation procedure that allows applying instrumental variable regressions with ordinal observable data. As suggested by the theory of incomplete markets, we differentiate between the effects of persistent and transitory income shocks. In line with this theory, we find that persistent shocks have a significant impact on happiness while transitory shocks do not. This has consequences also for inference about the happiness effect of employment. We find that employment per se is rather associated with a decline in happiness.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6771.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6771
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  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  3. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, July.
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  7. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  8. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  10. Bayer, Christian & Juessen, Falko, 2009. "The Life-Cycle and the Business-Cycle of Wage Risk: A Cross-Country Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 4402, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Kenneth A. Couch & Dana W. Placzek, 2010. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 572-89, March.
  12. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2008. "Consumption Inequality and Partial Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1887-1921, December.
  13. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2011. "Scarring or Scaring? The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment and Future Unemployment Risk," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(310), pages 283-293, 04.
  14. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  15. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  16. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  17. Paul Frijters & Ingo Geishecker & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Can the Large Swings in Russian Life Satisfaction be Explained by Ups and Downs in Real Incomes?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(3), pages 433-458, October.
  18. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  19. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
  20. Bayer, Christian & Juessen, Falko, 2012. "The life-cycle and the business-cycle of wage risk — Cross-country comparisons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 831-833.
  21. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "How Much Consumption Insurance Beyond Self-Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 15553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Jenkins, Stephen P., 2011. "Changing Fortunes: Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics in Britain," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199226436, July.
  23. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Yannis Georgellis & Nicholas Tsitsianis & Ya Ping Yin, 2007. "Income and Happiness across Europe: Do Reference Values Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2146, CESifo Group Munich.
  24. Nicola Fuchs-Schundeln, 2008. "The Response of Household Saving to the Large Shock of German Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1798-1828, December.
  25. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  26. Orsolya Lelkes, 2002. "Tasting Freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," CASE Papers case59, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  27. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, 2008. "The Response of Household Saving to the Large Shock of German Reunification," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-21, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2008.
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