Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Marriage Can Be Better for Hapiness than Merely Living Together

This paper is the first of its kind to study utility interdependence in marriage using information on subjective well-being of a large sample of people living in the UK over the period 1991-2001. Using “residual” self-rated health to provide instrument for spouse’s well-being and allowing controls on individual fixed effects, we find strong evidence of altruism represented by interdependent relationships in the reported well-being found only among spouses, and not by partners in cohabiting union. Panel data also show that the well-being impact resulting from “caring” can be used to predict future income, unemployment, and marital status for the individuals.

"New research by University of Warwick researcher Nick Powdthavee reveals that a married man or woman is significantly more satisfied with their life when their partner is satisfied with life. But he has also found almost no evidence of the same affect among couples that prefer cohabitation to marriage."


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