Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/93355
Authors: 
Cheng, Terence Chai
Powdthavee, Nattavudh
Oswald, Andrew J.
Year of Publication: 
2014
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Paper 7942
Abstract: 
There is a large amount of cross-sectional evidence for a midlife low in the life cycle of human happiness and well-being (a 'U shape'). Yet no genuinely longitudinal inquiry has uncovered evidence for a U-shaped pattern. Thus some researchers believe the U is a statistical artefact. We re-examine this fundamental cross-disciplinary question. We suggest a new test. Drawing on four data sets, and only within-person changes in well-being, we document powerful support for a U-shape in unadjusted longitudinal data without the need for regression equations. The paper's methodological contribution is to exploit the first-derivative properties of a well-being equation.
Subjects: 
life-cycle happiness
subjective well-being
longitudinal study
U shape
JEL: 
I31
D01
C18
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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