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

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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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 08/16.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:08/16
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Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom

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