Distinguished Scholar Daniel Hamermesh


On November 24, 2021, Barnard Distinguished Scholar and instructor of economics, Daniel Hamermesh, published new research titled “Home Alone: Widows' Well-Being and Time,” alongside co-authors Maja Adena, Michal Myck, and Monika Oczkowska. The article, published by IZA - Institute of Labor Economics, assesses comprehensive well-being in widowhood by investigating the differences between widowed and partnered older women. The researchers’ analysis accounts for how widowed women spend their time, which had not been previously studied. 

By using datasets from several European countries and comparing widows to their non-widowed ‘statistical twins’, Hamermesh traced the evolution of widowed women’s well-being and examined a wide range of factors that could moderate widowhood’s impact on well-being. Hamermesh and his colleagues found that losing a partner is linked to a dramatic decrease in mental health and life satisfaction, followed by a slow recovery. The study’s results suggest that an increase in time spent alone is the major determinant of decreased well-being among widows, and that widows who spend more time with friends and relatives are happier and less depressed.