1887

OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

Happiness and Age Cycles - Return to Start...?

On the Functional Relationship between Subjective Well-Being and Age

Previous happiness research has explicitly assumed that subjective well-being is U-shaped in age. This paper sheds new light on this issue testing several functional forms. Using micro data from the World Values Survey on 44 000 persons in 30 economically advanced OECD countries with long life expectancies, we reveal a hyperbolic functional form. We find that life satisfaction reaches another local maximum around the age of 83, with a level identical to that of a 26-year old. This hyperbolic well-beingage relation is robust to the inclusion of cohort effects. We test this relationship for each OECD country separately, and corroborate the functional form using a sample of non-OECD countries.

English

JEL: A14: General Economics and Teaching / General Economics / Sociology of Economics; I31: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / General Welfare; Well-Being; I3: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty; D61: Microeconomics / Welfare Economics / Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis; J14: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination
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