MPIDR Working Paper

Happiness and sex difference in life expectancy

Kageyama, J.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2009-009, 26 Seiten (März 2009).
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

Schlagworte: economic and social development, life expectancy


This paper examines the effects of happiness on the sex gap in life expectancy. Utilizing a cross-country data set, it first inspects the reverse effect of the life expectancy gap on happiness and demonstrates that the life expectancy gap negatively affects happiness through the composition of marital status. Taking this reverse causality into account, it shows that happiness is significant on explaining the differences in the life expectancy gap between countries. As national average happiness increases, the sex difference in life expectancy decreases. This is consistent with the findings that psychological stress (unhappiness)adversely affects survival and that the effect of psychological stress on mortality is more severe for men. This result provides an indirect evidence that happiness affects survival even at the national aggregate level.