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How Does Subjective Well-Being Evolve with Age? A Literature Review

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  • López Ulloa, Beatriz Fabiola

    (University of Hohenheim)

  • Moller, Valerie

    () (Rhodes University)

  • Sousa-Poza, Alfonso

    () (University of Hohenheim)

Abstract

This literature review provides an overview of the theoretical and empirical research in several disciplines on the relation between ageing and subjective well-being, i.e., how subjective well-being evolves across the lifespan. Because of the different methodologies, data sets and samples used, comparison among disciplines and studies is difficult. However, extant studies do show either a U-shaped, inverted U-shaped or linear relation between ageing and subjective well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • López Ulloa, Beatriz Fabiola & Moller, Valerie & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2013. "How Does Subjective Well-Being Evolve with Age? A Literature Review," IZA Discussion Papers 7328, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7328
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wencke Gwozdz & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2010. "Ageing, Health and Life Satisfaction of the Oldest Old: An Analysis for Germany," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 397-417, July.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
    3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2009. "The U-Shape without Controls," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 896, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    5. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    6. Weiss, Alexander & King, James E. & Inoue-Murayama, Miho & Matsuzawa, Tetsuro & Oswald, Andrew J., 2012. "Evidence for a ‘Midlife Crisis’ in Great Apes Consistent with the U-Shape in Human Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 7009, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Jonathan P. Beauchamp & David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Matthijs J. H. M. van der Loos & Philipp D. Koellinger & Patrick J. F. Groenen & James H. Fowler & J. Niels Rosenquist & A. Roy Thurik & N, 2011. "Molecular Genetics and Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 57-82, Fall.
    8. Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542.
    9. Easterlin, Richard A., 2005. "A puzzle for adaptive theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 513-521, April.
    10. Easterlin, Richard A. & Sawangfa, Onnicha, 2007. "Happiness and Domain Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2584, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Blanchflower, David G; Oswald, Andrew, 2011. "Antidepressants and Age," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 44, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Carmel, Sara, 2001. "The will to live: gender differences among elderly persons," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 949-958, March.
    13. 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.
    14. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Happiness: A Revolution in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062771, January.
    15. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2012. "Heresy or enlightenment? The well-being age U-shape effect is flat," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 235-238.
    16. Andrew E. Clark & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "The curved relationship between subjective well-being and age," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590404, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Terence C. Cheng & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well‐being: Results from Four Data Sets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(599), pages 126-142, February.
    2. Ning Li, 2016. "Multidimensionality of Longitudinal Data: Unlocking the Age-Happiness Puzzle," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 305-320, August.
    3. Bauer,Jan Michael & Levin,Victoria & Munoz Boudet,Ana Maria & Nie,Peng & Sousa-Poza,Alfonso, 2015. "Subjective well-being across the lifespan in Europe and Central Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7378, The World Bank.
    4. repec:spr:alstar:v:102:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10182-017-0296-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nikolova, Milena & Ayhan, Sinem H., 2016. "Your Spouse Is Fired! How Much Do You Care?," IZA Discussion Papers 10411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2017. "Do Humans Suffer a Psychological Low in Midlife? Two Approaches (With and Without Controls) in Seven Data Sets," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 337, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    7. repec:eee:joecag:v:6:y:2015:i:c:p:68-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Yangjun Tu & Zhi Yang, 2016. "Self-Control as Mediator and Moderator of the Relationship Between Social Support and Subjective Well-Being Among the Chinese Elderly," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(2), pages 813-828, March.
    9. María Laura Arrosa & Néstor Gandelman, 2016. "Happiness Decomposition: Female Optimism," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 731-756, April.
    10. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0596-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. France Weaver & Judite Goncalves & Valerie-Anne Ryser, 2015. "Socioeconomic inequalities in subjective well-being among the 50+: contributions of income and health," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva 15011, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
    12. Peter Pütz & Thomas Kneib, 2016. "A Penalized Spline Estimator for Fixed Effects Panel Data Models," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 827, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ageing; life satisfaction; U-shape;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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