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Marriage, adaptation and happiness: Are there long-lasting gains to marriage?

Authors
Journal
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
2214-8043
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
50
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2014.01.003
Keywords
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Happiness
  • Reference
Disciplines
  • Economics
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract This paper uses 23 waves of German panel data and investigates if individuals who decide to marry become permanently happier. Following the same persons over several years we show that they do, thereby challenging a number of recent longitudinal studies in psychology and economics which suggest that individuals fully adapt to the positive impact of marriage. Further, we compare different empirical approaches to measure the extent of adaptation and show that depending on the approach the same sample may generate evidence of full or partial adaptation. This result may be equally important for studies that analyze the nexus of loss compensation and habituation in the context of other life events.

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