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Testing for Utility Interdependence in Marriage: Evidence from Panel Data

  • Nattavudh Powdthavee

    (University of Warwick)

This paper is the first of its kind to study utility interdependence in marriage using information on subjective well-being of a large sample of people living in the UK over the period 1991-2001. Using “residual” self-rated health to provide instrument for spouse’s well-being and allowing controls on individual fixed effects, we find strong evidence of altruism represented by interdependent relationships in the reported well-being found only among spouses, and not by partners in cohabiting union. Panel data also show that the well-being impact resulting from “caring” can be used to predict future income, unemployment, and marital status for the individuals.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0403037.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 31 Mar 2004
Date of revision: 01 Apr 2004
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0403037
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 43
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  1. Oswald, Andrew & Jonathan Gardner, 2003. "Is it Money or Marriage that Keeps People Alive?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 161, Royal Economic Society.
  2. David Neumark & Sanders Korenman, 1988. "Does marriage really make men more productive?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  5. Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
  6. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  7. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  10. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Wilson, Chris M & Oswald, Andrew J, 2005. "How Does Marriage Affect Physical and Psychological Health? A Survey of the Longitudinal Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 728, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  12. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-19, April.
  13. William A. Darity & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1996. "Social Psychology, Unemployment and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
  14. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 1997. "The Relationship between Happiness, Health and Socio-economic Factors: Results Based on Swedish Micro Data," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 207, Stockholm School of Economics.
  15. Michael Fordyce, 1988. "A review of research on the happiness measures: A sixty second index of happiness and mental health," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 355-381, August.
  16. Breetvelt, I.S. & Van Dam, F.S.A.M., 1991. "Underreporting by cancer patients: The case of response-shift," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 981-987, January.
  17. Eng Seng Loh, 1996. "Productivity Differences and the Marriage Wage Premium for White Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 566-589.
  18. 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.
  19. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  20. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:94:y:1980:i:4:p:749-75 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Yuanreng Hu & Noreen Goldman, 1990. "Mortality Differentials by Marital Status: An International Comparison," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 233-250, May.
  22. George A. Akerlof, 1978. "A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence," Special Studies Papers 118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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