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The Effect of Women's Rights on Women's Welfare: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Silvia Pezzini

Abstract

This paper explores whether the welfare of women increased following the extension of women's rights between 1960s and 1990s. Using individual level data on life satisfaction and focusing on changes in birth control rights in twelve European countries, it shows that the extension of both abortion rights and the pill is strongly linked to an increase in life satisfaction of women of childbearing age. Birth control rights also increased women's investment in education, probability of working and income. Other women's rights have proved less beneficial. Mutual consent divorce laws decreased women's welfare. High maternity protection on the job has negligible effects. Copyright 2005 Royal Economic Society.

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  • Silvia Pezzini, 2005. "The Effect of Women's Rights on Women's Welfare: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages 208-227, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:115:y:2005:i:502:p:c208-c227
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness and public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 557-573, September.
    2. Frey, Bruno S. & Stutzer, Alois, 2010. "Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being," Working papers 2010/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    3. Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Divorce and the birth control pill," MPRA Paper 35955, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Shelly Lundberg, 2010. "The Changing Sexual Division of Labour," Chapters,in: The Shape of the Division of Labour, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2009. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 190-225, August.
    6. Gerhard Meisenberg & Michael Woodley, 2015. "Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(6), pages 1539-1555, December.
    7. Ngo, Thi Minh-Phuong & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2012. "Microfinance and gender empowerment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 1-12.
    8. Robert M. Solow & Jean-Philippe Touffut (ed.), 2010. "The Shape of the Division of Labour," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14184.
    9. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    10. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Kawaguchi, Daiji & Lee, Jungmin, 2017. "Does labor legislation benefit workers? Well-being after an hours reduction," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-12.
    11. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt & Alessandra Voena, 2012. "The Economics and Politics of Women's Rights," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 339-372, July.
    12. Chikako Yamauchi, 2010. "The availability of child care centers, perceived search costs and parental life satisfaction," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 231-253, June.
    13. Tatiana Karabchuk, 2016. "The subjective well-being of women in Europe: children, work and employment protection legislation," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 15(2), pages 219-245, November.
    14. Asadullah, Niaz & Fernández, Rosa M., 2008. "Work-Life Balance Practices and the Gender Gap in Job Satisfaction in the UK: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Marcel Fafchamps & Bereket Kebede & Agnes R. Quisumbing, 2009. "Intrahousehold Welfare in Rural Ethiopia," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(4), pages 567-599, August.
    16. Gordon Anderson & Teng Leo & Robert Muelhaupt, 2014. "Measuring Advances in Equality of Opportunity: The Changing Gender Gap in Educational Attainment in Canada in the Last Half Century," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 73-99, October.
    17. Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Putting a price tag on friends, relatives, and neighbours: Using surveys of life satisfaction to value social relationships," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1459-1480, August.
    18. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2006. "Should We Maximize National Happiness?," IEW - Working Papers 306, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

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