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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1323686
 
 

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Authentic Happiness Theory Supported by Impact of Religion on Life Satisfaction - A Longitudinal Analysis with Data for Germany


Bruce Headey


University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Jürgen Schupp


German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Institute for Sociology; The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Ingrid Tucci


German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - German Socio Economic Panel

Gert G. Wagner


German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Berlin University of Technology; German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)

December 30, 2008

SOEPpaper No. 151

Abstract:     
Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP), this paper assesses the relationship between life satisfaction and religious practice. The main new result here is longitudinal. It is shown that individuals who become more religious over time record long term gains in life satisfaction, while those who become less religious record long term losses. This result holds net of the effects of personality traits, and also in fixed effects panel models. The paper has significant implications for the dominant, paradigm theory in SWB research, namely set-point theory. This theory holds that the long term SWB of adult individuals is stable, because SWB depends on personality traits and other stable genetic factors. It is already clear from the German panel data that about 20% of the population have recorded large long term changes in SWB. New evidence in this paper and elsewhere about the effects of consciously chosen life goals, including religious ones, on SWB is hard to reconcile with set-point theory. It is more in line with authentic happiness theory.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: SWB, life satisfaction, set-point theory, authentic happiness theory, longitudinal analysis, SOEP

JEL Classification: A12, A13, Y80, Z12

working papers series


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Date posted: February 21, 2009 ; Last revised: July 13, 2010

Suggested Citation

Headey, Bruce and Schupp, Jürgen and Tucci, Ingrid and Wagner, Gert G., Authentic Happiness Theory Supported by Impact of Religion on Life Satisfaction - A Longitudinal Analysis with Data for Germany (December 30, 2008). SOEPpaper No. 151. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1323686 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1323686

Contact Information

Bruce Headey (Contact Author)
University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )
Level 5, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia
Juergen Schupp
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )
Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, D-10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9238 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9109 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/deutsch/das_institut/mitarbeiter/innen/26652.html?uid=jschupp
Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Institute for Sociology ( email )
Garystr. 55
Berlin, D-14195
Germany
HOME PAGE: http://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/soziologie/mitarbeiter/b_hochschullehrer/schupp.html
The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=de&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/de/webcontent/personnel/fellows
Ingrid Tucci
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - German Socio Economic Panel ( email )
DIW Berlin
Berlin, Berlin 14191
Germany
Gert G. Wagner
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )
Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9200 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/programme/jsp/MA.jsp?language=en&uid=gwagner
Berlin University of Technology ( email )
Berlin, 10623
Germany
+30 8 978 9283 (Phone)
German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) ( email )
DIW Berlin
10108 Berlin, Berlin
Germany
+49 30 8978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8978 9109 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.diw/en/soep
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