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The persistence of subjective wellbeing: permanent happiness, transitory misery?

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  • L. WILNER

    (Insee - Crest)

Abstract

This paper disentangles the roles played by state dependence and unobserved heterogeneity in self-assessed happiness. It estimates a dynamic nonlinear model of subjective well-being on longitudinal data, primarily from France, but also from Australia, Germany, and the UK. Life satisfaction is persistent over time, which static models ignore. This persistence is heterogeneous across individuals: it concerns mostly those already happy with their lives while, in contrast, unhappiness seems more transitory. The impact of initial conditions is large in comparison with usual determinants of happiness, or with state dependence.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Wilner, 2020. "The persistence of subjective wellbeing: permanent happiness, transitory misery?," Documents de Travail de l'Insee - INSEE Working Papers g2020-08, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:nse:doctra:g2020-08
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    File URL: https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/fichier/version-html/4764687/G2020-08.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; dynamic model; state dependence; correlated random effects; initial conditions.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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