Are Relational Goods Important for People with Disabilities?
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This study investigates the effect of relational goods on the levels of life satisfaction reported by people without and with disabilities in Germany. Using longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the period 1984–2011 and creating a “Relational Time Index’ from the information gathered for five leisure activities (i.e., social gatherings, participation in sports, attending cultural events, volunteer work, and attending church), we estimate a fixed-effects model on life satisfaction for people without and with disabilities which allows us to control for unobserved individual effects and determine cause and effect between the key variables. The results show a positive and significant relationship between life satisfaction and the relational time index for all individuals. However, this impact is even stronger for people with disabilities than it is for people without disabilities. Furthermore, attending cultural events and social gatherings are key contributors to the life satisfaction scores reported by people with disabilities. Public policy recommendations are given.
KeywordsRelational goods Life satisfaction Disability Germany
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