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The Rising Well-Being of the Young

  • Blanchflower, D.G.
  • Oswald, A.J.

Many observers believe that times are growing harder for young people in Western society. This paper looks at the evidence and finds that conventional wisdom appears to be wrong. Using the U.S. General Social Surveys and the Eurobarometer Surveys, the paper studies the reports happiness and life-satisfaction score of random samples of young men and women. The data cover the USA and thirteen European Countries. Our main finding is that from the 1970s to the 1990s the well-being of the young increased quite markedly. A number of possible explanations are considered.

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 519.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:519
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

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  1. David G. Blanchflower & Richard B. Freeman, 1994. "The Legacy of Communist Labor Relations," NBER Working Papers 4740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
  4. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Robin Douthitt & Maurice Macdonald & Randolph Mullis, 1992. "The relationship between measures of subjective and economic well-being: A new look," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 407-422, June.
  6. David Blanchflower, 1996. "Youth Labour Markets in 23 Countries: A Comparison Using Micro Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp0284, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Di Tella, R. & MacCulloch, R.J.: Oswald, A.J., 1997. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," Papers 19, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  8. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  9. Doh Shin, 1980. "Does rapid economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 199-221, June.
  10. Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
  11. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  12. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
  13. Björklund, Anders, 1984. "Unemployment and Mental Health: Some Evidence from Panel Data," Working Paper Series 120, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  14. Craig Fox & Daniel Kahneman, 1992. "Correlations, causes and heuristics in surveys of life satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 221-234, November.
  15. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
  16. Randolph Mullis, 1992. "Measures of economic well-being as predictors of psychological well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 119-135, March.
  17. Oswald, Andrew J., 1983. "Altruism, jealousy and the theory of optimal non-linear taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 77-87, February.
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