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Happiness and age cycles – return to start…

  • Fischer, Justina AV

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 well-developed OECD countries with long life expectancies, we reveal that age follows a hyperbolic form. We find that life satisfaction reaches another local maximum around the age of 83, with a level identical to that of a 26-years old. This hyperbolic well-being-age relation is robust to the inclusion of cohort effects. We corroborate the functional form using a sample of non-OECD countries.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 15249.

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Date of creation: 15 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15249
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  1. David G. Blanchflower, 2008. "International evidence on well-being," NBER Working Papers 14318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
  3. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  4. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2008. "Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: exploring different determinants across groups in society," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 119-173, January.
  5. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Clark, Andrew E., 2007. "Born To Be Mild? Cohort Effects Don’t (Fully) Explain Why Well-Being Is U-Shaped in Age," IZA Discussion Papers 3170, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Oliver Schilling, 2006. "Development of Life Satisfaction in Old Age: Another View on the "Paradox''," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 241-271, 01.
  8. Wencke Gwozdz & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2010. "Ageing, Health and Life Satisfaction of the Oldest Old: An Analysis for Germany," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 397-417, July.
  9. Bernd Hayo & Wolfgang Seifert, 2002. "Subjective Economic Well-Being in Eastern Europe," Development and Comp Systems 0203001, EconWPA.
  10. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  11. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2008. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
  12. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  13. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2008. "Happiness Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
  15. Andrew E. Clark & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "The curved relationship between subjective well-being and age," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590404, HAL.
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