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Healthy, wealthy, wise, and happy? An exploratory analysis of the interplay between aging and subjective well-being in low and middle income countries

  • Gabriela Flores
  • Michael Ingenhaag
  • Jürgen Maurer

In this paper, we address the relationship between age and several dimension of subjective well-being. Whilst literature generally finds a U-shaped age-profile in subjective well-being, this age-pattern might only hold after controlling for objective life circumstances. The observed U-shaped age-profile might further not generalize to other dimensions of well-being and might vary across countries and cultures. Our study examines the relationship between age and several dimensions of well-being as well as the effect of objective life circumstances using the WHO Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE). Our results suggest a decreasing age profile in the raw data associated with evaluative well-being, while experienced well-being shows a rather flat or slightly increasing pattern. However, age per se is not a cause of a decline in evaluative well-being. The negative age-profile in evaluative well-being is mainly explained by changes in life circumstances associated with aging. Controlling for socio-demographic factors, we find higher levels of well-being for older persons relative to their middle-aged counterparts. In contrast, we find that changes in life circumstances have a much smaller effect on experienced well-being.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 13.13.

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Length: 39 pp. + tables (total 74 pp.)
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:13.13
Contact details of provider: Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: ++41 21 692.33.20
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  15. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
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