What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-Course Model of Well-Being

64 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2013

See all articles by Richard Layard

Richard Layard

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Andrew Clark

Paris School of Economics (PSE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Francesca Cornaglia

Queen Mary University of London; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), CEP; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Nattavudh Powdthavee

University of Warwick

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Abstract

If policy-makers care about well-being, they need a recursive model of how adult life-satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences, acting both directly and (indirectly) through adult circumstances. We estimate such a model using the British Cohort Study (1970). The most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the child's emotional health. Next comes the child's conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child's intellectual development. This has obvious implications for educational policy. Among adult circumstances, family income accounts for only 0.5% of the variance of life-satisfaction. Mental and physical health are much more important.

Keywords: well-being, life-satisfaction, intervention, model, life-course, emotional health, conduct, intellectual performance, success

JEL Classification: A12, D60, H00, I31

Suggested Citation

Layard, Richard and Clark, Andrew Eric and Cornaglia, Francesca and Powdthavee, Nattavudh, What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-Course Model of Well-Being. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7682. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2345599

Richard Layard (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Andrew Eric Clark

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Francesca Cornaglia

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, E14NS
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), CEP ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Nattavudh Powdthavee

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom
+44 (0)2476 528240 (Phone)

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