EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The U-shaped age–happiness relationship: real or methodological artifact?

Ottar Hellevik ()
Additional contact information
Ottar Hellevik: University of Oslo

Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, 2017, vol. 51, issue 1, 177-197

Abstract: Abstract Economists studying subjective well-being commonly conclude that its relationship with age is U-shaped. Data from a large Norwegian survey project show that this holds for cognitive well-being (life satisfaction), but not for emotional well-being (happiness), which declines with age. When a U-shaped relationship between age and happiness is reported, it is a result of controlling for variables such as health and family situation, which lie between age and happiness in the causal hierarchy, mediating indirect effect between them. Controlling for intervening variables may lead to misinterpretations of what actually happens to feelings of happiness as people age, since the negative effects on happiness of deteriorating health or loss of partner are consequences of growing older and therefore should not be controlled away. A relevant control variable is cohort, since it may produce spurious association between age (life phase) and happiness. Using multiple regression analysis instead of cohort analysis to separate aging and cohort effects, runs into severe collinearity and missing data problems.

Keywords: Inappropriate control; Cohort analysis; Intervening variables; Happiness; Life satisfaction; U-shape (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11135-015-0300-3 Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11135-015-0300-3

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135

Access Statistics for this article

Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology is currently edited by Vittorio Capecchi

More articles in Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla ().

 
Page updated 2019-04-09
Handle: RePEc:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11135-015-0300-3