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Suffer the Little Children: Measuring the Effects of Parenthood on Well-Being Worldwide

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  • Luca Stanca

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Abstract

This paper tests the rational-choice approach to fertility decisions by investigating the relationship between parenthood and well-being in a large sample of individuals from 94 countries. We find that world- wide, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, having children has a negative effect on well-being. Conditioning on age, gender, marital status and education can only partially help to interpret this finding. We show that the negative effect of parent- hood on well-being is explained by a large adverse impact on financial satisfaction, that on average dominates the positive impact on non- financial satisfaction. The results are robust to alternative empirical specifications and to the inclusion of the reported ideal number of children as a proxy variable to address the endogeneity of parenthood decisions.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper173.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 173.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision: Oct 2009
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:173

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Keywords: well-being; fertility; children; decision-making;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Children & happiness
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-11-09 14:34:58
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Pereira & Filipe Coelho, 2013. "Work Hours and Well Being: An Investigation of Moderator Effects," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 235-253, March.
  2. Anna Baranowska & Anna Matysiak, 2011. "Does parenthood increase happiness? Evidence for Poland," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 307-325.
  3. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2014. "Parenthood and happiness: Direct and indirect impacts of parenthood on happiness," MPRA Paper 53870, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Daniele Vignoli & Elena Pirani & Silvana Salvini, 2014. "Family Constellations and Life Satisfaction in Europe," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 967-986, July.
  5. 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.
  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.

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