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What predicts a successful life? A life-course model of well-being

Layard, Richard, Clark, Andrew E., Cornaglia, Francesca, Powdthavee, Nattavudh and Vernoit, James (2014) What predicts a successful life? A life-course model of well-being. The Economic Journal, 124 (580). F720 - F738. ISSN 0013-0133

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Identification Number: 10.1111/ecoj.12170


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.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Royal Economic Society
Divisions: Economics
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: A - General Economics and Teaching > A1 - General Economics > A12 - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D60 - General
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I0 - General > I00 - General
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I11 - Analysis of Health Care Markets
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2014 12:02
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:30
Projects: R01AG040640
Funders: U.S. National Institute of Aging

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