Unhappiness and Age



Blanchflower DG (2020) Unhappiness and Age. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 176, pp. 461-488.

I examine the relationship between unhappiness and age using data from eight well-being data files on nearly fourteen million respondents across forty European countries and the United States and 168 countries from the Gallup World Poll. I use twenty different individual characterizations of unhappiness including many not good mental health days; anxiety; worry; loneliness; sadness; stress; pain; strain, depression and bad nerves; phobias and panic; being downhearted; having restless sleep; losing confidence in oneself; not being able to overcome difficulties; being under strain; being unhappy; feeling a failure; feeling left out; feeling tense; and thinking of yourself as a worthless person. I also analyze responses to a further general attitudinal measure regarding whether the situation in the respondent's country is getting worse. Responses to all these unhappiness questions show a, ceteris paribus, hill shape in age, with controls and many also do so with limited controls for time and country. Unhappiness is hill-shaped in age and the average age where the maximum occurs is 49 with or without controls. There is an unhappiness curve.

Economics and Econometrics; Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization: Volume 176

Publication date31/08/2020
Publication date online29/04/2020
Date accepted by journal22/04/2020
PublisherElsevier BV