Life Dissatisfaction over the Life History: Dissatisfaction as a Driver of Behavior

Junji Kageyama, Meikai University and University of California, Berkeley

To examine how life satisfaction evolves over the life cycle, this paper inquires into dissatisfaction. In particular, this paper employs a bio-evolutionary framework and directs attention to the aspect that dissatisfaction provides behavioral incentives. Focusing on income and spouse/partner situation, theoretical considerations predict that the level of dissatisfaction due to the lack of income or an appropriate partner peaks in the reproductive period in which the lack of them has a serious impact on lifetime reproductive success. Theoretical considerations also predict that the baseline level of dissatisfaction peaks in the reproductive period, reflecting the importance of behaviors on lifetime reproductive success in the same period. Empirical analyses using BHPS support all the predictions. The results provide a new insight that the baseline level of life satisfaction represents the baseline level of desires and affects behaviors and the gross level of life satisfaction over the life cycle.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors