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

19 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014  

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

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

James Vernoit

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

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Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

Policy makers who care about well‐being 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). We show that the most powerful childhood predictor of adult life‐satisfaction is the child's emotional health, followed by the child's conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child's intellectual development. This may have 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.

Suggested Citation

Layard, Richard and Clark, Andrew and Cornaglia, Francesca and Powdthavee, Nattavudh and Vernoit, James, What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐Course Model of Well‐Being (November 2014). Feature Issue, Vol. 124, Issue 580, pp. F720-F738, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2520684 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12170

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

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

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44(0)7990815924 (Phone)

James Vernoit

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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