Homemaking and women's well-being in Europe. Effect of divorce risk, selection and dominating gender-role attitudes
AbstractWhereas it is known that employment affects individual well-being, the literature on the effect of homemaking is so far inconclusive. The paper investigates the effect of being a housewife on well-being of women, using European Values Study data for 36 European countries (year 2008) and multilevel regression methodology. Results show that the effect of homemaking on well-being is overall positive and it varies across countries. Three possible explanations of this variation are examined. First hypothesis concerns traditional gender-role attitudes in a country. Results confirm that in more traditional countries homemakers have higher wellbeing, but only in western Europe. Effect of individual norms is strong: housewives with traditional gender-role attitudes declare higher well-being. Second hypothesis refers to the economic risk of specialization to homemaking, and states that higher divorce risk decreases well-being of housewives. Contrary to expectations, higher divorce risk in a country is accompanied by higher well-being of housewives. I interpret this as a sign of equality concerns incorporated into legal divorce procedures. Third hypothesis concerns positive and negative selection to homemaking. Results show that the relationship between prevalence of homemaking and the well-being of housewives is curvilinear. Highest well-being gains from homemaking occur in countries with lowest and highest prevalence of homemaking.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CEPS/INSTEAD in its series CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series with number 2011-09.
Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
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well-being; homemaking; housewife; women's employment;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-02-05 (All new papers)
- NEP-EUR-2011-02-05 (Microeconomic European Issues)
- NEP-HAP-2011-02-05 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-SOC-2011-02-05 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001.
"Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness,"
American Economic Review, American Economic Association,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
- DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
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