Research Paper University of York Discussion Papers in Economics 08/16
I can't smile without you: spousal correlation in life satisfaction
01 May 2008
This paper studies how spouses' life satisfaction levels are correlated. Using the British Household Panel Survey, it tests whether the observed positive correlation in life satisfaction is due to assortative mating, shared social environment, or spillover effect of well-being between partners. There is evidence of a positive and statistically important correlation between partners' well-being, even after controlling for omitted individual fixed effects and allowing cross-equation residuals to be correlated. This is consistent with the idea of well-being spillovers within marriage. Moreover, consistent with the spillover effect model, marital dissolution at t+1 is negatively correlated with partners' life satisfaction at t.
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