Life satisfaction changes and adaptation in the covid-19 pandemic: Evidence from singapore

Terence C. Cheng, Seonghoon Kim, Kanghyock Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We provide novel evidence on how COVID-19 affected overall life satisfaction using a monthly longitudinal survey of middle-aged and older Singaporeans. We study how the subjective well-being of individuals evolves over the course of 18 months including the outbreak of the pandemic, the implementation of the lockdown and the spike of cases due to the delta variant in a country where COVID-19 is controlled in a sustained manner. Using an event-study design framework, we find large declines in overall life satisfaction in the lead-up to and following the lockdown. Fifteen months after the outbreak of the pandemic, and 13 months out from the end of lockdown, individuals have nearly, though not fully, adapted to living with the virus. We find greater negative well-being impacts of COVID-19 among individuals who report a drop in household income during the COVID-19 outbreak compared to those who do not report any income loss. However, we find little evidence of heterogeneity in the dynamics of the recovery in well-being by individuals' underlying health status, marital status and education. On personality types, people who are high in neuroticism experience larger dips in well-being during the lockdown, and adapt to living with COVID-19 at a slower rate.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSingapore Economic Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • individual-level monthly panel data
  • life satisfaction
  • pandemic
  • subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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