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Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics; Are Same-Sex Relationships Different?

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  • Shuai Chen

    (CentER, Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

  • Jan (J.C.) van Ours

    (Erasmus School of Economics; Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands)

Abstract

Partnered individuals are happier than singles. This can be because partnership leads to more satisfactory subjective well-being or because happier people are more likely to find a partner. We analyze Dutch panel data to investigate whether there is a causal effect of partnership on subjective well-being. Our data allow us to distinguish between marriage and cohabitation and between same-sex partnerships and opposite-sex ones. Our results support the short-term crisis model and adaptation theory. We find that marital partnership improves well-being and that these benefits are homogeneous to sexual orientation. The well-being gains of marriage are larger than those of cohabitation. Investigating partnership formation and disruption, we discover that the well-being effects are symmetric. Finally, we find that marriage improves well-being for both younger and older cohorts while cohabitation only benefits younger cohort.

Suggested Citation

  • Shuai Chen & Jan (J.C.) van Ours, 2017. "Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics; Are Same-Sex Relationships Different?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-088/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20170088
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    Cited by:

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    2. Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan C., 2020. "Symbolism matters: The effect of same-sex marriage legalization on partnership stability," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 44-58.
    3. Landaud, Fanny, 2021. "From employment to engagement? Stable jobs, temporary jobs, and cohabiting relationships," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    4. Michiel Slag & Martijn J. Burger & Ruut Veenhoven, 2019. "Did the Easterlin Paradox apply in South Korea between 1980 and 2015? A case study," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 66(4), pages 325-351, December.
    5. Alexa Solazzo & Bridget Gorman & Justin Denney, 2020. "Does Sexual Orientation Complicate the Relationship Between Marital Status and Gender With Self-rated Health and Cardiovascular Disease?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(2), pages 599-626, April.
    6. Delhommer, Scott M. & Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2020. "Same-Sex Couples and the Marital Surplus: The Importance of the Legal Environment," IZA Discussion Papers 13061, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Jan C. van Ours, 2021. "What a drag it is getting old? Mental health and loneliness beyond age 50," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(31), pages 3563-3576, July.
    8. Chen, Shuai, 2019. "Marriage, minorities, and mass movements," Other publications TiSEM 9cb1b11d-12e6-46a8-adca-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. van Ours, Jan C., 2020. "What a drag it is getting old? Mental health and loneliness beyond age 50," CEPR Discussion Papers 15438, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Arjen Schepen & Martijn J. Burger, 2022. "Professional Financial Advice and Subjective Well-Being," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 17(5), pages 2967-3004, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective well-being; Happiness; Marriage; Cohabitation; Sexual orientation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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