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

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  • Justina A.V. Fischer

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Justina A.V. Fischer, 2009. "Happiness and Age Cycles - Return to Start...?: On the Functional Relationship between Subjective Well-Being and Age," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 99, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:99-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/220573570724
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What We're Reading: Believing the Impossible
      by Catherine Rampell in Economix on 2010-10-12 16:45:00

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Bjornskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina AV & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2009. "On the relation between income inequality and happiness: Do fairness perceptions matter?," MPRA Paper 19494, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. Justina AV Fischer, 2011. "Living under the ‘right’ government: does political ideology matter to trust in political institutions?," CEIS Research Paper 212, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Oct 2011.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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