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The Role of Personality in Adult Life Satisfaction

  • Sarah Jewell

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Uma Kambhampati

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

This paper investigates the extent to which life satisfaction is influenced by personality utilising longitudinal data collected by the BHPS. We test whether there is some happiness trait or propensity to be happy that influences the life satisfaction of adults by including a personality trait which avoids reverse causality and is clean of other environmental factors. To do this, we isolate an individual fixed effect on youth happiness after controlling for a wide variety of demographic and environmental factors. We call this a happiness trait. This trait was then included as an instrument for personality in an adult life satisfaction model. Our results indicate that this happiness trait has a positive, highly significant effect on life satisfaction for both men and women. We also find that it has an effect that remains even after we include the Big 5 personality variables indicating that there is some happiness trait above and beyond these 5 variables.

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File URL: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/economics/emdp2012095.pdf
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Paper provided by Henley Business School, Reading University in its series Economics & Management Discussion Papers with number em-dp2012-02.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 10 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2012-02
Contact details of provider: Postal: PO Box 218, Whiteknights, Reading, Berks, RG6 6AA
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Web page: http://www.henley.reading.ac.uk/

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  1. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Ruut Veenhoven, 1991. "Is happiness relative?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-34, February.
  3. Kenneth Land & Vicki Lamb & Sarah Mustillo, 2001. "Child and Youth Well-Being in the United States, 1975–1998: Some Findings from a New Index," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 241-318, December.
  4. J. A. Hausman & W. E. Taylor, 1980. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Working papers 255, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Luis Angeles, 2009. "Adaption and anticipation effects to life events in the United Kingdom," Working Papers 2009_08, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  6. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "A note on unhappiness and unemployment duration," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590444, HAL.
  7. 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.
  8. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  9. Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Direct evidence on income comparisons and their welfare effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 408-424, October.
  10. Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2013. "Adaptation, anticipation and social interaction in happiness: An integrated error-correction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 131-149.
  11. Clark, Andrew E., 2006. "A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration," IZA Discussion Papers 2406, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Ruut Veenhoven, 1994. "Is happiness a trait?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 101-160, June.
  13. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590444 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Jeremy Hunter, 2003. "Happiness in Everyday Life: The Uses of Experience Sampling," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 185-199, June.
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