Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Age and Happiness

Piper, Alan (2023): Age and Happiness. Forthcoming in: Elgar Encyclopedia on Happiness, Quality of Life and Subjective Well-being

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This entry summarises quantitative research endeavours regarding the relationship between age and happiness. Firstly, the dominant finding in the literature is discussed: that, on average, happiness starts off high in early adulthood and declines to a midlife low and then, following the midlife low, average happiness increases again until retirement. As the discussion highlights, this midlife low finding has been found around the world, and at different time periods, with different datasets and methods. This entry also shows how some individuals suffer more at midlife than others, and discusses why this might be the case. While the dominant finding is largely (though not wholly) accepted, reasons for its existence and how it might be mitigated are less clear and remain to some extent a puzzle. The recommendations aim for more understanding here and regarding other trends at different parts of the lifecycle.

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