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What can happiness research tell us about altruism? Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel


Schwarze, Johannes; Winkelmann, Rainer (2005). What can happiness research tell us about altruism? Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Working paper series / Socioeconomic Institute No. 503, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Much progress has been made in recent years on developing and applying a direct measure of utility using survey questions on subjective well-being. In this paper we explore whether this new type of measurement can be fruitfully applied to the study of interdependent utility in general, and altruism between parents and adult children who moved away from home in particular. We introduce an appropriate econometric methodology and, using data from the German SocioEconomic Panel for the years 2000-2004, find that the parents’ self-reported happiness depends positively on the happiness of their adult children. A one standard deviation move in the child’s happiness has the same effect as a 45 percent move in household income.

Much progress has been made in recent years on developing and applying a direct measure of utility using survey questions on subjective well-being. In this paper we explore whether this new type of measurement can be fruitfully applied to the study of interdependent utility in general, and altruism between parents and adult children who moved away from home in particular. We introduce an appropriate econometric methodology and, using data from the German SocioEconomic Panel for the years 2000-2004, find that the parents’ self-reported happiness depends positively on the happiness of their adult children. A one standard deviation move in the child’s happiness has the same effect as a 45 percent move in household income.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Socioeconomic Institute (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D6, D64, C25, J10
Language:English
Date:September 2005
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:31
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:11
Series Name:Working paper series / Socioeconomic Institute
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-52200

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