Predicting the Trend of Well-Being in Germany: How Much Do Comparisons, Adaptation and Sociability Matter?

45 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2011

See all articles by Stefano Bartolini

Stefano Bartolini

University of Siena - Department of Economics

Ennio Bilancini

University of Siena - Deparment of Economics

Francesco Sarracino

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 1, 2011

Abstract

Using longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we estimate the variation of subjective well-being experienced by Germans over the last two decades testing the role of some of the major correlates of people’s well-being. Our results suggest that the variation of Germans’ well-being between 1996 and 2007 is well predicted by changes over time of income, demographics and social capital. The increase in social capital predicts the largest positive change in subjective well-being. Income growth, also predicts a substantial change in subjective well-being, but it is compensated for about three fourths by the joint negative predictions due to income comparison and income adaptation. Finally, we find that aging of the population predicts the largest negative change in subjective well-being. This result appears to hinge on the large loss of satisfaction experienced by individuals in old age.

Keywords: subjective well-being, life satisfaction, social capital, sociability, relational goods, relative income, social comparisons, income adaptation, SOEP

JEL Classification: I3, O1

Suggested Citation

Bartolini, Stefano and Bilancini, Ennio and Sarracino, Francesco, Predicting the Trend of Well-Being in Germany: How Much Do Comparisons, Adaptation and Sociability Matter? (December 1, 2011). SOEPpaper No. 414-2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1974894 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1974894

Stefano Bartolini (Contact Author)

University of Siena - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza S. Francesco, 7
Siena, I-53100
Italy
+05 77 232648 (Phone)
+05 77 232661 (Fax)

Ennio Bilancini

University of Siena - Deparment of Economics ( email )

Via Banchi di Sotto, 55
Siena
Italy

Francesco Sarracino

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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