Estimating the Influence of Life Satisfaction and Positive Affect on Later Income Using Sibling Fixed-Effects
The question of whether there is a connection between income and psychological well-being is a long-studied issue across the social, psychological, and behavioral sciences. Much research has found that richer people tend to be happier. However, relatively little attention has been paid to whether happier individuals perform better financially in the first place. This possibility of reverse causality is arguably understudied. Using data from a large US representative panel we show that adolescents and young adults who report higher life satisfaction or positive affect grow up to earn significantly higher levels of income later in life. We focus on earnings approximately one decade after the person's well-being is measured; we exploit the availability of sibling clusters to introduce family fixed-effects; we account for the human capacity to imagine later socio-economic outcomes and to anticipate the resulting feelings in current wellbeing. The study's results are robust to the inclusion of controls such as education, IQ, physical health, height, self-esteem, and later happiness. We consider how psychological well-being may influence income. Sobel-Goodman mediation tests reveal direct and indirect effects that carry the influence from happiness to income. Significant mediating pathways include a higher probability of obtaining a college degree, getting hired and promoted, having higher degrees of optimism and extraversion, and less neuroticism.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012, 109 (49), 19953-19958|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994.
"Satisfaction and comparison income,"
CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange)
- Sonja Lyubomirsky & Chris Tkach & M. DiMatteo, 2006. "What are the Differences between Happiness and Self-Esteem," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 78(3), pages 363-404, 09.
- Oswald, Andrew & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2013.
"Happiness and Productivity,"
CAGE Online Working Paper Series
108, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
- Oswald, Andrew J. & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "Happiness and Productivity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 882, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Oswald, Andrew J. & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2009. "Happiness and Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 4645, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Richard Layard & Guy Mayraz & Stephen J Nickell, 2007.
"The marginal utility of income,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
19745, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Richard Layard & Guy Mayraz & Stephen Nickell, 2007. "The Marginal Utility of Income," CEP Discussion Papers dp0784, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Richard Layard & Guy Mayraz & Stephen J. Nickell, 2007. "The Marginal Utility of Income," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 50, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Glen R. Waddell, 2006. "Labor-Market Consequences of Poor Attitude and Low Self-Esteem in Youth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 69-97, January.
- Cahit Guven, 2009.
"Reversing the Question: Does Happiness Affect Consumption and Savings Behavior?,"
SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research
219, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Guven, Cahit, 2012. "Reversing the question: Does happiness affect consumption and savings behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 701-717.
- Cahit Guven, 2008. "Reversing the Question. Does Happiness Affect Consumption and Savings Behavior?," Economics Series 2008_20, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
- Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-84, September.
- repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:963-1002 is not listed on IDEAS
- Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2006.
"Money and Mental Wellbeing : A Longitudinal Study of Medium-Sized Lottery Wins,"
The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS)
754, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Money and mental wellbeing: A longitudinal study of medium-sized lottery wins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-60, January.
- Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "Money and Mental Wellbeing: A Longitudinal Study of Medium-Sized Lottery Wins," IZA Discussion Papers 2233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
- Ed Diener & Carol Nickerson & Richard Lucas & Ed Sandvik, 2002. "Dispositional Affect and Job Outcomes," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 229-259, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7033. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.