Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys

32 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014

See all articles by Paul Frijters

Paul Frijters

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance

David W. Johnston

Monash University

Michael A. Shields

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

We investigate the extent to which childhood characteristics are predictive of adult life satisfaction using data from two British cohort studies. In total, variables observed up to age 16 predict around 7% of the variation in average adult life satisfaction. Adding contemporaneous adulthood variables increases the predictive power to 15.6%, while adding long lags of life satisfaction increases it to 35.5%. Overall, we estimate that around 30–45% of adult life satisfaction is fixed, suggesting that 55–70% is transitory in nature, and that a wide range of observed childhood circumstances capture about 15% of the fixed component.

Suggested Citation

Frijters, Paul and Johnston, David W. and Shields, Michael A., Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys (November 2014). Feature Issue, Vol. 124, Issue 580, pp. F688-F719, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2520682 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12085

Paul Frijters (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia
(07) 3864 9364 (Phone)
(07) 3864 1500 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/paulfrijters/index.jsp

Michael A. Shields

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Victoria 3010, 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 4656 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 6899 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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