Advertisement

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1359–1375 | Cite as

Home Sweet Home! Does Moving Have (Lasting) Effects on Housing Satisfaction?

  • Tobias WolbringEmail author
Research Paper

Abstract

Previous research has found that moving has lasting effects on housing satisfaction while adaptation to changing living environments is surprisingly absent from this research. This paper challenges and extends this current state of research. Using data from a large-scale German household panel we find that housing satisfaction (a) sharply declines before the move (self-selection into relocation), (b) substantially increases after moving (relocation effect), (c) declines in the following years (adaptation), (d) after about 2 years reaches satisfaction levels similar to the levels several years before the move (full adaptation), (e) but due to selection into moving stays above satisfaction levels in the years directly before the move (lasting gains due to self-selection). Further analyses indicate that moving due to house-related reasons leads to partly lasting gains, while moving due to significant life events only has temporary effects. Finally, we show that permanent changes in housing satisfaction due to house-related relocations can be fully explained using self-assessed comparisons between old and new living environment.

Keywords

Adaptation Housing satisfaction Moving Life events Housing characteristics Neighborhood 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Nate Breznau, Josef Brüderl, Jan Delhey, Andreas Haupt, Merlin Schaeffer, Ulrich Schimmack, Felix Wolter, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. The dataset of the German Socio-economic Panel used for this publication has been provided by the DIW Berlin.

References

  1. Allison, P. D. (1994). Using panel data to estimate the effects of events. Sociological Methods and Research, 23, 174–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andreß, H. J., Golsch, K., & Schmidt, A. W. (2013). Applied Panel Data Analysis for Economic and Social Surveys. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brickman, P., & Campbell, D. T. (1971). Hedonic relativism and planning the good society. In M. H. Appley (Ed.), Adaption-Level Theory: A Symposium (pp. 287–302). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Brüderl, J., & Ludwig, V. (2015). Fixed-effects panel regression. In H. Best & C. Wolf (Eds.), Regression Analysis and Causal Inference (pp. 327–336). Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, A., Converse, P., & Rodgers, W. (1976). The Quality of American Life: Perceptions, Evaluations and Satisfaction. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, A. E. (1999). Are wages habit-forming? Evidence from micro data. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 39, 179–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, A. E., Frijters, P., & Shields, M. A. (2008). Relative income, happiness, and utility. An explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles. Journal of Economic Literature, 46, 95–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, A. E., & Senik, C. (2010). Who compares to whom? The anatomy of income comparisons in Europe. The Economic Journal, 120, 573–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De Neve, J. E., Christakis, N. A., Fowler, J. H., & Frey, B. S. (2012). Genes, economics, and happiness. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 5, 193–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Destatis. (2013). Datenreport 2013 Ein Sozialbericht für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.Google Scholar
  11. Di Tella, R., Haisken-DeNew, J., & MacCulloch, R. (2010). Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 76, 834–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diaz-Serrano, L. (2009). Disentangling the housing satisfaction puzzle: Does homeownership really matter? Journal of Economic Psychology, 30, 745–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diaz-Serrano, L., & Stoyanova, A. P. (2010). Mobility and housing satisfaction: An empirical analysis for twelve EU countries. Journal of Economic Geography, 10, 661–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diener, E., Lucas, R. E., & Scollon, C. N. (2006). Beyond the hedonic treadmill. American Psychologist, 61, 305–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dufty-Jones, R. (2012). Moving home: Conceptual and policy implications of the housing-mobility nexus. AHURI final report no. 189. Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Easterlin, R. A. (1974). Does economic growth improve the human lot? In P. A. David & M. W. Reder (Eds.), Nations and households in economic growth: Essays in honor of Moses Abramovitz (pp. 89–125). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  18. Easterlin, R. A. (2001). Income and happiness: Towards a unified theory. The Economic Journal, 111, 465–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Easterlin, R. A., McVey, L. A., Switek, M., Sawangfa, O., & Zweig, J. S. (2010). The happiness-income-paradox revisited. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, 22463–22469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elsinga, M., & Hoekstra, J. (2005). Homeownership and housing satisfaction. Journal of Housing and The Built Environment, 20, 401–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elster, J., & Roemer, J. E. (Eds.). (1991). Interpersonal comparisons of well-being. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fechner, G. T. (1860). Elemente der Psychophysik (Vol. 2). Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel.Google Scholar
  23. Firebaugh, G., & Schroeder, M. B. (2009). Does your neighbor’s income affect your happiness? American Journal of Sociology, 115, 805–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frank, R. H. (1985). Choosing the right pond. human behavior and the quest for status. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Headey, B., Muffels, R. J. A., & Wagner, G. (2014). National panel studies show substantial minorities recording long term change in life satisfaction: Implications for set-point theory. In K. Sheldon & R. E. Lucas (Eds.), Stability of Happiness. Theories and Evidence on Whether Happiness Can Change (pp. 99–128). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hu, F. (2013). Homeownership and subjective wellbeing in urban China: Does owning a house make you happier? Social Indicators Research, 110, 951–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Krueger, A. (2008). Comment. Brookings Paper on Economic Activity, 95–100.Google Scholar
  28. Lucas, R. E. (2007). Adaptation and the set-point model of subjective well-being: Does happiness change after major life events? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 75–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Luhmann, M., Hofmann, W., Eid, M., & Lucas, R. E. (2012). Subjective well-being and adaptation to life events: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 592–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Luttmer, E. F. P. (2005). Neighbors as negatives: Relative earnings and well-being. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120, 963–1001.Google Scholar
  31. Lykken, D., & Tellegen, A. (1996). Happiness is a stochastic phenomenon. Psychological Science, 7, 186–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Marans, R. W., & Stimson, R. (2011). An overview of quality of urban life. In R. W. Marans & R. Stimson (Eds.), Urban quality of life: Implications for policy, planning and research (pp. 1–29). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  33. McCrea, R. (2007). Urban quality of life: Linking objective dimensions and subjective evaluations of the urban environment. Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.Google Scholar
  34. McCrea, R. (2014). Modelling effects of intervening variables using path analysis. In R. J. Stimson (Ed.), Handbook for spatially integrated social science research methodology (pp. 489–510). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  35. McCrea, R., Shyy, T.-K., & Stimson, R. (2006). What is the strength of the link between objective and subjective indicators of urban quality of life? Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1(1), 79–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McCrea, R., Western, J., & Stimson, R. (2011). Modelling determinants of subjective quality of urban life at different geographic scales: The case of the Brisbane-SEQ region. In R. W. Marans & R. Stimson (Eds.), Urban quality of life: Implications for policy, planning and research (pp. 347–367). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  37. Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and social structure. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  38. Michalos, A. C., & Zumbo, B. D. (1999). Public services and the quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 48, 125–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nakazato, N. (2014). Living conditions and well-being using German Socio-Economic Panel. In A. C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research (pp. 3647–3653). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nakazato, N., Schimmack, U., & Oishi, S. (2011). Effect of changes in living conditions on well-being: A prospective top-down bottom-up model. Social Indicators Research, 100, 115–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rossi, P. (1980). Why families move. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  42. Selten, R. (1998). Aspiration adaptation theory. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 42, 191–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Simon, H. A. (1956). Rational choice and the structure of the environment. Psychological Review, 63, 129–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stevenson, B., & Wolfers, J. (2008). Economic growth and subjective well-being: Reassessing the Easterlin paradox. Brookings Paper on Economic Activity, 1–87.Google Scholar
  45. Stutzer, A. (2004). The role of income aspirations in individual happiness. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 54, 89–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tomaszewski, W., & Perales, F. (2014). Who settles for less? Subjective dispositions, objective circumstances, and housing satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 118, 181–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vera-Toscano, E., & Ateca-Amestoy, V. (2008). The relevance of social interactions on housing satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 86, 257–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. von Wirth, T., Grêt-Regamey, A., & Stauffacher, M. (2015). Mediating effects between objective and subjective indicators of urban quality of life: Testing specific models for safety and access. Social Indicators Research, 122(1), 189–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wagner, G. G., Frick, J. R., & Schupp, J. (2007). The German socio-economic panel study (SOEP)—scope, evolution and enhancements. Schmollers Jahrbuch–Journal of Applied Social Science Studies, 127, 139–169.Google Scholar
  50. Weber, E. H. (1834). De Pulsu, Resorptione Auditu Et Tactu. Annotationes Anatomicae Et Physiologicae. Leipzig: Koehler.Google Scholar
  51. Wolbring, T., Keuschnigg, M., & Negele, E. (2013). Needs, comparisons, and adaptation: The importance of relative income for life satisfaction. European Sociological Review, 29, 86–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MannheimMannheimGermany

Personalised recommendations