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

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  • Bert G.M. Van Landeghem

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:21308
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    File URL: http://www.econ.kuleuven.be/licos/publications/dp/dp213.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    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. Fischer, Justina, 2011. "Living under the ‘right’ government: does political ideology matter to trust in political institutions? An analysis for OECD countries," MPRA Paper 33344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. Leonardo Becchetti & Riccardo Massari & Paolo Naticchioni, 2014. "The drivers of happiness inequality: suggestions for promoting social cohesion," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 419-442.
    5. Leonardo Becchetti & Elena Giachin Ricca & Alessandra Pelloni, 2009. "The 60es turnaround as a test on the causal relationship between sociability and happiness," Econometica Working Papers wp07, Econometica.
    6. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Francesco Sarracino, 2013. "Predicting the Trend of Well-Being in Germany: How Much Do Comparisons, Adaptation and Sociability Matter?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 169-191, November.
    7. Gregori Baetschmann, 2012. "Heterogeneity in the Relationship between Happiness and Age: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 472, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2011. "Antidepressants and Age," IZA Discussion Papers 5785, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. 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.
    10. Leonardo Becchetti & Andrew E. Clark & Elena Giachin Ricco, 2011. "The value of diplomacy: Bilateral relations and immigrant well-being," PSE Working Papers halshs-00580907, HAL.
    11. 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).
    12. Leonardo Becchetti & Elena Giachin Ricca & Alessandra Pelloni, 2012. "The Relationship Between Social Leisure and Life Satisfaction: Causality and Policy Implications," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 453-490, September.
    13. Gregori Baetschmann, 2011. "Heterogeneity in the relationship between happiness and age: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," ECON - Working Papers 047, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    14. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2016. "Antidepressants and age: A new form of evidence for U-shaped well-being through life," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 46-58.
    15. Ning Li, 2014. "Multidimensionality of Longitudinal Data: Unlocking the Age-Happiness Puzzle," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n04, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    16. Gabriela Flores & Michael Ingenhaag & Jürgen Maurer, 2013. "Healthy, wealthy, wise, and happy? An exploratory analysis of the interplay between aging and subjective well-being in low and middle income countries," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 13.13, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; life cycle happiness; ageing; birth cohorts; U-shape; German Socio-Economic Panel;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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