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A global perspective on happiness and fertility

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  • Rachel Margolis
  • Mikko Myrskylä

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    Abstract

    The literature on fertility and happiness has neglected comparative analysis. We investigate the fertility-happiness association using data for 86 countries. We find that globally, happiness decreases with the number of children. This association, however, is strongly modified by individual and contextual factors. Most importantly, we find that the association between happiness and fertility evolves from negative to neutral to positive above age 40, and is strongest among those who are likely to benefit most from upward intergenerational transfers. In addition, analyses by welfare regime show that the negative fertility-happiness association for younger adults is weakest in countries with high public support for families, and the positive association above age 40 is strongest in countries where old-age support depends mostly on the family. Overall these results suggest that children are a long-term investment in well-being, and highlight the importance of the life-cycle stage and contextual factors in explaining the happiness-fertility association.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2010-025.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2010-025.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2010-025

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. Vani Borooah, 2006. "How much happiness is there in the world? A cross-country study," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(8), pages 483-488.
    2. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    3. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    4. Thomas Hansen & Britt Slagsvold & Torbjørn Moum, 2009. "Childlessness and Psychological Well-Being in Midlife and Old Age: An Examination of Parental Status Effects Across a Range of Outcomes," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 343-362, November.
    5. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M., 2012. "Public greenspace and life satisfaction in urban Australia," 2012 Conference (56th), February 7-10, 2012, Freemantle, Australia 124302, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    2. Anna Baranowska & Anna Matysiak, 2011. "Does parenthood increase happiness? Evidence for Poland," Working Papers 38, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
    3. Martin Werding, 2014. "Children are costly, but raising them may pay," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(8), pages 253-276, January.
    4. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M., 2011. "Valuing Ecosystem Diversity in South East Queensland: A Life Satisfaction Approach," 2011 Conference, August 25-26, 2011, Nelson, New Zealand 115347, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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