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What predicts a successful life? A life-course model of well-being

  • Richard Layard

    (London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Andrew Clark

    (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)

  • Francesca Cornaglia

    (London School of Economics)

  • Nattavudh Powdthavee

    (London School of Economics)

  • James Vernoit

    (London School of Economics)

If policy-makers care about well-being, they need a recursive model of how adult life satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences, acting both directly and (indirectly) through adult circumstances. We estimate such a model using the British Cohort Study (1970).The most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the child’s emotional health. Next comes the child’s conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child’s intellectual development. This has obvious implications for educational policy. Among adult circumstances, family income accounts for only 0.5% of the variance of life-satisfaction. Mental and physical health are much more important.

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File URL: http://spire.sciencespo.fr/hdl:/2441/6ggbvnr6munghes9oc90kh192/resources/what-predicts.pdf
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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 2013-16.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/6ggbvnr6munghes9oc90kh192
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.sciencespo.fr/

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  1. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Nicholas A. Christakis & James H. Fowler & Bruno S. Frey, 2010. "Genes, Economics, and Happiness," CESifo Working Paper Series 2946, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Christopher Boyce & Alex Wood & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 287-305, March.
  4. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  5. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John F. Helliwell, 2002. "How's Life? Combining Individual and National Variables to Explain Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 9065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
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