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Heterogeneity in the relationship between happiness and age: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel

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  • Gregori Baetschmann

Abstract

This paper studies the evolution of life satisfaction over the life course in Germany. It clarifies the causal interpretation of the econometric model by discussing the choice of control variables and the underidentification between age, cohort and time effects. The empirical part analyzes the distribution of life satisfaction over the life course at the aggregated, subgroup and individual level. To the findings: On average, life satisfaction is mildly decreasing up to age fifty-five followed by a hump shape with a maximum at seventy. The analysis at the lower levels suggests that people differ in their life satisfaction trends, whereas the hump shape after age fifty-five is robust. No important differences between men and women are found. In contrast, education groups differ in their trends: highly educated people become happier over the life cycle, where life satisfaction decreases for less educated people.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregori Baetschmann, 2011. "Heterogeneity in the relationship between happiness and age: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," ECON - Working Papers 047, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:047
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wencke Gwozdz & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2010. "Ageing, Health and Life Satisfaction of the Oldest Old: An Analysis for Germany," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 397-417, July.
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    4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
    5. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2009. "The U-Shape without Controls," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 896, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    6. Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," Research Memorandum 043, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
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    8. David J. McKenzie, 2006. "Disentangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects in the Additive Model," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(4), pages 473-495, August.
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    17. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2012. "Heresy or enlightenment? The well-being age U-shape effect is flat," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 235-238.
    18. Andrew E. Clark & Fabrice Etilé & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Claudia Senik & Karine Van Der Straeten, 2004. "Heterogeneity in reported well-being:Evidence from twelve European countries," Working Papers hal-00242916, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anning Hu, 2015. "The Changing Happiness-Enhancing Effect of a College Degree Under Higher Education Expansion: Evidence from China," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 669-685, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Aging; life satisfaction; well-being; happiness methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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