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Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel

  • Bert G.M. Van Landeghem

This paper uses longitudinal data from the German Socioeconomic Panel (GSOEP) to analyze the course of subjective well-being over the life cycle. The long time dimension offers an opportunity to disentangle ageing effects from fixed birth co- hort effects. The paper _finds that the U-shaped pattern of life satisfaction over age is less supported in a longitudinal analysis, and that the observed trajectory can vary across model specifications. Moreover, assets and material well-being seem to play an important role in determining the course of satisfaction over life time. The upsurge of happiness after mid-life seems to be more robust to model specifications, which might imply that the latter is inherent to mankind.

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File URL: http://www.econ.kuleuven.be/licos/publications/dp/dp213.pdf
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Paper provided by LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven in its series LICOS Discussion Papers with number 21308.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:21308
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  1. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
  2. Fafchamps, Marcel & Shilpi, Forhad, 2008. "Subjective welfare, isolation, and relative consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-60, April.
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  6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 826, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Alan B. Krueger & David A. Schkade, 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," NBER Working Papers 13027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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  13. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  14. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2717, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
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  24. repec:pri:cepsud:138krueger is not listed on IDEAS
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  26. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & Matthias Schündeln, 2005. "Precautionary Savings and Self-Selection: Evidence from the German Reunification "Experiment" Abstract: We combine particular features of the German civil service with the unique event of Ge," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1085-1120.
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