Skip to content

Journal Article

I can't smile without you: spousal correlation in life satisfaction

Authors

Publication date

2009

Abstract

This paper tests whether one partner’s happiness significantly influences the happiness of the other partner. Using ten waves of the British Household Panel Survey, it utilizes a panel-based GMM methodology to estimate a dynamic model of life satisfaction. The use of the GMM-system estimator corrects for correlated effects of partner’s life satisfaction and solves the problem of measurement error bias. The results show that, for both genders, there is a positive and statistically significant spillover effect of life satisfaction that runs from one partner to the other partner in a couple. The positive bias on the estimated spillover effect coming from assortative mating and shared social environment at cross-section is almost offset by the negative bias coming from systematic measurement errors in the way people report their life satisfaction. Moreover, consistent with the spillover effect model, couple dissolution at t+1 is negatively correlated with partners’ life satisfaction at t.

Published in

Journal of Economic Psychology

Volume

30 (4):675-689

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2009.06.005

Subjects

Family Formation And Dissolution and Well Being

Links

http://serlib0.essex.ac.uk/record=b1646364~S5

Notes

Previously 'In press, corrected proof' 21 Jun. 2009; Web of Knowledge alert; Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*

#512485


Research home

Research home

News

Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author

Podcasts

Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society

Projects

Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs

Events

Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report

Themes

Key research themes and areas of interest