Research Paper Paris School of Economics Working Paper Series 2010-02
Back to baseline in Britain: adaptation in the BHPS
We look for evidence of adaptation of well-being to major life events in sixteen waves of British panel data. We find that, with the exception of unemployment, adaptation to other life events including marriage, divorce, birth of a child and widowhood is rapid and complete. These findings are remarkably similar to those found in previous analysis of German panel data. Equally, the time profiles of well-being as measured by life satisfaction data are very close to those from the analysis of a twelve item scale of psychological functioning. As such, the phenomenon of adaptation may be a general one, rather than being only found in German data or using single-item measures. Last, we uncover some systematic differences in adaptation profiles according to “Big Five” personality measures.