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I Can’t Smile Without You: Spousal Correlation in Life Satisfaction

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  • N Powdthavee

Abstract

This paper studies how spouses' life satisfaction levels are correlated. Using the British Household Panel Survey, it tests whether the observed positive correlation in life satisfaction is due to assortative mating, shared social environment, or spillover effect of well-being between partners. There is evidence of a positive and statistically important correlation between partners' well-being, even after controlling for omitted individual fixed effects and allowing cross-equation residuals to be correlated. This is consistent with the idea of well-being spillovers within marriage. Moreover, consistent with the spillover effect model, marital dissolution at t+1 is negatively correlated with partners' life satisfaction at t.

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  • N Powdthavee, 2008. "I Can’t Smile Without You: Spousal Correlation in Life Satisfaction," Discussion Papers 08/16, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:08/16
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life Satisfaction; Assortative Mating; Spillover; Marriage; Longitudinal;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General

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