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Happiness and childbearing across Europe

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  • Arnstein Aassve
  • Maria Sironi
  • Alice Goisis

Abstract

In this paper we analyse the relationship between happiness and childbearing taking a comparative perspective. We argue that fertility and happiness are somewhat linked and we investigate whether there are important differences across European countries. Using happiness as a welfare measure offers important benefits over income especially when interest lies in understanding how individuals' wellbeing is associated with childbearing outcomes. We use the European Social Survey (ESS) and apply simple regression techniques, controlling for country differences, and find indeed a positive and significant association between happiness and childbearing. However, parents do not appear to be consistently happier in some countries than in others. The final set of analyses reveals a very strong interconnection between, childbearing, partnership and happiness.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.dondena.unibocconi.it/WorkingPapers/Dondena_WP010.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 010.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:010

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Keywords: happiness; childbearing; European social survey; ESS;

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References

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  1. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005, September.
  2. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2001. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," NBER Working Papers 8198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arnstein Aassve & Maria Iacovou & Letizia Mencarini, 2006. "Youth poverty and transition to adulthood in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 15(2), pages 21-50, July.
  5. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  6. Heather Joshi, 1998. "The opportunity costs of childbearing: More than mothers' business," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 161-183.
  7. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  8. Gabriella Conti & Stephen Pudney, 2011. "Survey Design and the Analysis of Satisfaction," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1087-1093, August.
  9. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  10. Anke C. Zimmermann & Richard A. Easterlin, 2006. "Happily Ever After? Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Happiness in Germany," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(3), pages 511-528.
  11. Steven Martin, 2000. "Diverging fertility among U.S. women who delay childbearing past age 30," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 523-533, November.
  12. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, . "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IEW - Working Papers 143, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Jan Bavel, 2010. "Choice of study discipline and the postponement of motherhood in Europe: The impact of expected earnings, gender composition, and family attitudes," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 439-458, May.
  14. Dex, Shirley & Joshi, Heather, 1999. "Careers and Motherhood: Policies for Compatibility," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(5), pages 641-59, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dolores Pushkar & Dorothea Bye & Michael Conway & Carsten Wrosch & June Chaikelson & Jamshid Etezadi & Constantina Giannopoulos & Karen Li & Nassim Tabri, 2014. "Does Child Gender Predict Older Parents’ Well-Being?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 285-303, August.
  2. Switek, Malgorzata, 2013. "Explaining Well-Being over the Life Cycle: A Look at Life Transitions during Young Adulthood," IZA Discussion Papers 7877, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2012. "Happiness: before and after the kids," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2012-013, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  4. Nadir Preziosi, 2013. "Life is Getting Worse in ESS Data: Is This Due to Micro or Macro Factors?," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 28, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
  5. Anna Baranowska & Anna Matysiak, 2011. "Does parenthood increase happiness? Evidence for Poland," Working Papers 38, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
  6. Thomas Hansen, 2012. "Parenthood and Happiness: a Review of Folk Theories Versus Empirical Evidence," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 29-64, August.
  7. Matthew Andersson & Jennifer Glass & Robin Simon, 2014. "Users Beware: Variable Effects of Parenthood on Happiness Within and Across International Datasets," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 945-961, February.
  8. Kravdal, Øystein, 2013. "Reflections on the Search for Fertility Effects on Happiness," Memorandum 10/2013, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  9. Luca Stanca, 2009. "Suffer the Little Children: Measuring the Effects of Parenthood on Well-Being Worldwide," Working Papers 173, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2009.
  10. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2014. "Happiness - before and after the Kids," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 642, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  11. Arnstein Aassve & Anna Barbuscia & Letizia Mencarini, 2014. "Expected happiness from childbearing and its realization," Working Papers 062, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.

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