Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 2293–2323 | Cite as

Using the Life Satisfaction Approach to Value Daylight Savings Time Transitions: Evidence from Britain and Germany

  • Daniel KuehnleEmail author
  • Christoph Wunder
Research Paper


Daylight savings time represents a public good with costs and benefits. We provide the first comprehensive examination of the welfare effects of the spring and autumn transitions for the UK and Germany. Using individual-level data and a regression discontinuity design, we estimate the effect of the transitions on life satisfaction. Our results show that individuals in both the UK and Germany experience deteriorations in life satisfaction in the first week after the spring transition. We find no effect of the autumn transition. We attribute the negative effect of the spring transition to the reduction in the time endowment and the process of adjusting to the disruption in circadian rhythms. The effects are particularly strong for individuals with young children in the household. We conclude that the higher the shadow price of time, the more difficult is adjustment. Presumably, an increase in flexibility to reallocate time could reduce the welfare loss for individuals with binding time constraints.


Daylight savings time Life satisfaction Regression discontinuity Germany UK 

JEL Classification

H41 I31 



We are grateful for helpful comments and suggestions received from two anonymous reviewers, Regina T. Riphahn, Guyonne Kalb, and Michael Oberfichtner.

Supplementary material

10902_2015_9695_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (126 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 125 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergNurembergGermany
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany

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