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Happiness and Age Cycles - Return to Start...?: On the Functional Relationship between Subjective Well-Being and Age

  • Justina A.V. Fischer

Previous happiness research has explicitly assumed that subjective well-being is U-shaped in age. This paper sheds new light on this issue testing several functional forms. Using micro data from the World Values Survey on 44 000 persons in 30 economically advanced OECD countries with long life expectancies, we reveal a hyperbolic functional form. We find that life satisfaction reaches another local maximum around the age of 83, with a level identical to that of a 26-year old. This hyperbolic well-beingage relation is robust to the inclusion of cohort effects. We test this relationship for each OECD country separately, and corroborate the functional form using a sample of non-OECD countries. Jusqu’à présent, la recherche sur le bonheur est partie du principe que le bien-être subjectif suit une distribution de l’âge en forme de U. Ce document apporte de nouvelles informations sur cette question en testant plusieurs formes de fonctions. En utilisant les données individuelles du World Values Survey sur 44�000�personnes dans 30�pays de l’OCDE avec des espérances de vie longues, nous proposons une fonction hyperbolique. Nous trouvons que la satisfaction de vie atteint un autre niveau maximum à 83�ans, un niveau identique à celui de l’âge de 26�ans. Cette relation hyperbolique avec l’âge est robuste en incluant les effets de cohortes. Nous testons cette relation pour chaque pays de l’OCDE séparément, et l’utilisons en utilisant une sélection de pays non membres de l’OCDE.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/220573570724
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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 99.

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Date of creation: 18 Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:99-en
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