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Home alone: Widows' Well-Being and Time

Maja Adena, Daniel Hamermesh, Michal Myck and Monika Oczkowska
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Monika Oczkowska: Centre for Economic Analysis

No 371, Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series from CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition

Abstract: Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE, 2004-17) and time diaries from Poland (2013), the U.S. (2006-16), the U.K. (2014-15) and France (2009-10), we examine differences between widowed and partnered older women in well-being and its development in widowhood. Most importantly, our analysis accounts for time use, an aspect which has not been studied previously. We trace the evolution of well-being of women who become widowed by comparing them with their matched non-widowed ‘statistical twins’ and examine the role of an exceptionally broad set of potential moderators of widowhood’s impact on well-being. We confirm a dramatic decrease in mental health and life satisfaction after the loss of partner, followed by a slow partial recovery over a five-year period. An extensive set of controls recorded prior to widowhood, including detailed family ties and social networks, provides little help in explaining the deterioration in well-being. Unique data from time-diaries kept by older women in several European countries and the U.S. tell us why: the key factor behind widows’ reduced well-being is increased time spent alone.

Keywords: widowhood; well-being; social networks; time use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I19 I31 J14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-01-20
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age, nep-dem, nep-eur, nep-hap, nep-lab, nep-ltv and nep-soc
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Journal Article: Home Alone: Widows’ Well-Being and Time (2023) Downloads
Journal Article: Home Alone: Widows’ Well-Being and Time (2023) Downloads
Working Paper: Home Alone: Widows' Well-Being and Time (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Home alone: Widows' well-being and time (2021) Downloads
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