The Lasting Well-Being Effects of Early Adulthood Macroeconomic Crises

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This paper studies the effects of macroeconomic crises experienced in early adulthood on subjective well-being (SWB) later in life. Using repeated cross-sectional survey data of over 100,000 individuals from 38 countries around the world combined with historical data on macroeconomic circumstances, I find that having experienced a macroeconomic crisis at ages 18–25 is detrimental to SWB. This result is in line with earlier literature that focuses on other individual-level outcomes. However, the analysis presented in this paper reveals that outcomes related to individual’s earnings, employment status, family life, and religion cannot fully explain the lasting effect of macroeconomic crises on well-being. Results on heterogeneous responses show that the negative effect is largest for females and for individuals with low educational attainment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-99
Issue number1
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • happiness
  • life satisfaction
  • macroeconomic crises
  • recession
  • subjective well-being

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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