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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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  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  13. 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).
  14. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  15. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  17. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  18. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 173-194, February.
  19. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  20. Jenkins, Stephen P., 2011. "Changing Fortunes: Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics in Britain," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199226436.
  21. 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.
  22. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
  23. 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.
  24. 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).
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
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