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Is happiness u-shaped in age everywhere? A methodological reconsideration for Europe

David Bartram

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Abstract: A recent contribution to research on age and well-being (Blanchflower 2021) found that the impact of age on happiness is "u-shaped" virtually everywhere: happiness declines towards middle age and subsequently rises, in almost all countries. This paper evaluates that finding for European countries, considering whether it is robust to alternative methodological approaches. The analysis here excludes control variables that are affected by age (noting that those variable are not themselves antecedents of age) and uses data from the entire adult age range (rather than using data only from respondents younger than 70). I also explore the relationship via models that do not impose a quadratic functional form. The paper shows that these alternate approaches do not lead us to perceive a u-shape "everywhere": u-shapes are evident for some countries, but for others the pattern is quite different.

Date: 2021-08, Revised 2022-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age, nep-eur, nep-hap and nep-isf
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