EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

A Note on the High Stability of Happiness: The Minimal Effects of a Nuclear Catastrophe on Life Satisfaction

Eva Berger

No 803, Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin from DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research

Abstract: Using life satisfaction as a direct measure of individual utility has become popular in the empirical economic literature. In this context, it is crucial to know what circumstances or changes the measure is sensitive to. Is life satisfaction a volatile concept that is affected by minor changes in life circumstances? Or is it a reliable measure of personal happiness? This paper will analyze the impact of a catastrophe, namely the nuclear catastrophe of Chernobyl, on life satisfaction. I use longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study and especially information collected on a monthly basis which allows the researcher to study calendar effects. The following clear-cut results are found. While concern about the environment rose immediately after the nuclear incident, life satisfaction changed little. This suggests that although people were aware of the severity of the catastrophe, they did not feel that their individual well-being had been affected. This finding is highly relevant to the life satisfaction literature as it shows that the life satisfaction measure is very stable and robust against societal and global events. It is shown to predominantly reflect personal life circumstances like health, employment, income, and the family situation and this relationship is apparently not disturbed by global events. Thus, my results reinforce previous findings on the relationship between life satisfaction and individual life characteristics as the stability of their outcome measure is approved.

Keywords: Subjective Well-Being; Happiness; Environmental Protection; Household Panel; SOEP (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A12 A19 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 15 p.
Date: 2008
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap and nep-ltv
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

Downloads: (external link)
https://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.86906.de/dp803.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: A Note on the High Stability of Happiness: The Minimal Effects of a Nuclear Catastrophe on Life Satisfaction (2008) Downloads
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:diw:diwwpp:dp803

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin from DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Bibliothek ().

 
Page updated 2024-06-17
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp803