NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Lock-downs, Loneliness and Life Satisfaction

Daniel S. Hamermesh

NBER Working Paper No. 27018
Issued in April 2020
NBER Program(s):Health Economics, Labor Studies

Using the 2012-13 American Time Use Survey, I find that both who people spend time with and how they spend it affect their happiness, adjusted for numerous demographic and economic variables. Satisfaction among married individuals increases most with additional time spent with spouse. Among singles, satisfaction decreases most as more time is spent alone. Assuming that lock-downs constrain married people to spend time solely with their spouses, simulations show that their happiness may have been increased compared to before the lock-downs; but sufficiently large losses of work time and income reverse this inference. Simulations demonstrate clearly that, assuming lock-downs impose solitude on singles, their happiness was reduced, reductions that are made more severe by income and work losses.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27018

 
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