IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v130y2016icp242-260.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does the stork deliver happiness? Parenthood and life satisfaction

Author

Listed:
  • Baetschmann, Gregori
  • Staub, Kevin E.
  • Studer, Raphael

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between parenthood and life satisfaction using longitudinal data on women from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Previous studies have focused on satisfaction differences between parents and ex post similar childless adults or between pre- and post-birth years of mothers. Mostly small and often negative effects of parenthood are reported. Both comparisons are problematic if life satisfaction increases before giving birth; that is, if dynamic self-selection into parenthood exists. In this study we exploit the extended longitudinal dimension of the panel to track self-reported life satisfaction of women eventually to become mothers and of women eventually attaining a completed fertility of zero. In our estimations we employ matching and regression techniques which account for the selection into motherhood. We find motherhood to be associated with positive satisfaction gains occurring over several years.

Suggested Citation

  • Baetschmann, Gregori & Staub, Kevin E. & Studer, Raphael, 2016. "Does the stork deliver happiness? Parenthood and life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 242-260.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:130:y:2016:i:c:p:242-260
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.07.021
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268116301561
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jebo.2016.07.021?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Del Boca, Daniela & Locatelli, Marilena, 2006. "The Determinants of Motherhood and Work Status: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 2414, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2013. "Back to Baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the British Household Panel Survey," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(319), pages 496-512, July.
    3. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2008. "Happiness Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3604, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Emilia Del Bono & Andrea Weber & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2012. "Clash Of Career And Family: Fertility Decisions After Job Displacement," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 659-683, August.
    5. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    6. S. Philip Morgan & Rosalind Berkowitz King, 2001. "Why Have Children in the 21st Century? Biological Predisposition, Social Coercion, Rational Choice," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, March.
    7. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
    8. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    9. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
    10. Pierre‐Carl Michaud & Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2011. "Fertility and female employment dynamics in Europe: the effect of using alternative econometric modeling assumptions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 641-668, June.
    11. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    12. 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, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    13. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    14. R. Veenhoven, 2008. "Healthy happiness: effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 449-469, September.
    15. Van Landeghem, Bert, 2012. "A test for the convexity of human well-being over the life cycle: Longitudinal evidence from a 20-year panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 571-582.
    16. Cristino R. Arroyo & Junsen Zhang, 1997. "Dynamic microeconomic models of fertility choice: A survey," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(1), pages 23-65.
    17. Sofie Vanassche & Gray Swicegood & Koen Matthijs, 2013. "Marriage and Children as a Key to Happiness? Cross-National Differences in the Effects of Marital Status and Children on Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 501-524, April.
    18. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2014. "Happiness: Before and After the Kids," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1843-1866, October.
    19. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
    20. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    21. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Alex Rees-Jones, 2012. "What Do You Think Would Make You Happier? What Do You Think You Would Choose?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2083-2110, August.
    22. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    23. Andrew J. Oswald & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2008. "Death, Happiness, and the Calculation of Compensatory Damages," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages 217-251, June.
    24. David G. Blanchflower, 2009. "International Evidence on Well-Being," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 155-226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Elizabeth Ty Wilde & Lily Batchelder & David T. Ellwood, 2010. "The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels," NBER Working Papers 16582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Stanca, Luca, 2012. "Suffer the little children: Measuring the effects of parenthood on well-being worldwide," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 742-750.
    27. Krueger, Alan B. (ed.), 2009. "Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226454566, January.
    28. Clark, Andrew E., 2007. "Born To Be Mild? Cohort Effects Don’t (Fully) Explain Why Well-Being Is U-Shaped in Age," IZA Discussion Papers 3170, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    29. Gulcin Gumus & Jungmin Lee, 2012. "Alternative Paths To Parenthood: Ivf Or Child Adoption?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(3), pages 802-820, July.
    30. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
    31. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    32. Hans‐Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Axel Skytthe, 2005. "Partner + Children = Happiness? The Effects of Partnerships and Fertility on Well‐Being," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(3), pages 407-445, September.
    33. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
    34. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2011. "Life Satisfaction Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 190-211, March.
    35. Alan B. Krueger, 2009. "Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number krue08-1.
    36. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 14-64, Part II, .
    37. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Happiness economics," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 35-60, March.
    38. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Krueger, Alan B. (ed.), 2009. "Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226454573, January.
    40. Thomas Hansen, 2012. "Parenthood and Happiness: a Review of Folk Theories Versus Empirical Evidence," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 29-64, August.
    41. 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).
    42. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    43. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    44. Bing Ma, 2010. "The Occupation, Marriage, and Fertility Choices of Women: A Life-Cycle Model," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 10-123, UMBC Department of Economics.
    45. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff, 2013. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 154-167, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Mikucka, Malgorzata, 2015. "How does parenthood affect life satisfaction in Russia?," MPRA Paper 65376, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Jona Schellekens, 2019. "Does the association between children and happiness vary by level of religiosity? The evidence from Israel," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 41(5), pages 103-124.
    3. Barbara Pertold-Gebicka & Dominika Spolcova, 2019. "Family Size and Subjective Well-being in Europe: Do More Children Make Us (Un)Happy?," Working Papers IES 2019/24, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Aug 2019.
    4. Radó, Márta & Boissonneault, Michaël, 2020. "Short and long-term change in subjective well-being among voluntary and involuntary retirees," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    5. Mikael Nordenmark, 2021. "How Family Policy Context Shapes Mental Wellbeing of Mothers and Fathers," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 45-57, November.
    6. Sophie Cetre & Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 445-473, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Jan Priebe, 2020. "Quasi-experimental evidence for the causal link between fertility and subjective well-being," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 839-882, July.
    9. Milovanska-Farrington, Stefani & Farrington, Stephen, 2021. "More and none? Children and parental well-being: A bimodal outcome from an instrumental variable approach," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 225-243.
    10. Claudio Costanzo, 2022. "Robots, Jobs, and Optimal Fertility Timing," Working Papers ECARES 2022-36, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Małgorzata Mikucka & Ester Rizzi, 2016. "Does it take a village to raise a child?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 34(34), pages 943-994.
    12. Carina Keldenich, 2022. "Work, motherhood and women’s affective well-being," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 1345-1375, December.
    13. Hielke Buddelmeyer & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Mark Wooden, 2015. "The Stress Cost of Children," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2015n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    14. Blanca Zuluaga, 2018. "Early childbearing and the option to postpone," Revista Cuadernos de Economía, Universidad Nacional de Colombia -FCE - CID, vol. 37(73), February.
    15. Mansi Jain & Gagan Deep Sharma & Mandeep Mahendru, 2019. "Can I Sustain My Happiness? A Review, Critique and Research Agenda for Economics of Happiness," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(22), pages 1-36, November.
    16. Qianqian Shang & Quanbao Jiang & Yongkun Yin, 2022. "How Does Children's Sex Affect Parental Sex Preference: Preference Adaptation and Learning," Working Papers wp2022_2202, CEMFI.
    17. Buddelmeyer, Hielke & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Wooden, Mark, 2018. "THE stress cost of children on moms and dads," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 148-161.
    18. Márta K. Radó, 2020. "Tracking the Effects of Parenthood on Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Hungary," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(6), pages 2069-2094, August.
    19. Małgorzata Mikucka & Ester Rizzi, 2020. "The Parenthood and Happiness Link: Testing Predictions from Five Theories," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 36(2), pages 337-361, April.
    20. Henriques, C.O. & Marcenaro-Gutierrez, O.D. & Lopez-Agudo, Luis Alejandro, 2020. "Getting a balance in the life satisfaction determinants of full-time and part-time European workers," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 87-113.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Chris M. Herbst & John Ifcher, 2016. "The increasing happiness of US parents," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 529-551, September.
    2. Andrew E. Clark, 2016. "Adaptation and the Easterlin Paradox," Creative Economy, in: Toshiaki Tachibanaki (ed.), Advances in Happiness Research, edition 1, chapter 0, pages 75-94, Springer.
    3. Junji Kageyama & Kazuma Sato, 2021. "Explaining the U-shaped life satisfaction: dissatisfaction as a driver of behavior," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 179-202, July.
    4. Jan Priebe, 2020. "Quasi-experimental evidence for the causal link between fertility and subjective well-being," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 839-882, July.
    5. Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni, 2013. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(2), pages 113-155, June.
    6. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2012. "Happiness No Matter the Cost? An Examination on How Efficiently Individuals Reach Their Happiness Levels," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 621-645, August.
    7. Barbara Dluhosch & Daniel Horgos & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "Social Choice and Social Unemployment-Income Cleavages: New Insights from Happiness Research," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 1513-1537, December.
    8. Andrew E. Clark, 2018. "Four Decades of the Economics of Happiness: Where Next?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 245-269, June.
    9. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2012. "Recent Developments in the Economics of Happiness: A Selective Overview," IZA Discussion Papers 7078, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Leonardo Becchetti & Elena Giachin Ricca & Alessandra Pelloni, 2009. "The 60s Turnaround as a Test on the Causal Relationship between Sociability and Happiness," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 209, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    11. Barbara Dluhosch & Daniel Horgos, 2013. "Trading Up the Happiness Ladder," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 973-990, September.
    12. Antje Mertens & Miriam Beblo, 2016. "Self-Reported Satisfaction and the Economic Crisis of 2007–2010: Or How People in the UK and Germany Perceive a Severe Cyclical Downturn," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 537-565, January.
    13. Stanca, Luca, 2012. "Suffer the little children: Measuring the effects of parenthood on well-being worldwide," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 742-750.
    14. O'Donnell, Gus & Oswald, Andrew J., 2015. "National well-being policy and a weighted approach to human feelings," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 59-70.
    15. Doris Hanappi & Oliver Lipps, 2019. "Job insecurity and parental well-being: The role of parenthood and family factors," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 40(31), pages 897-932.
    16. Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010. "Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
    17. Adler, Matthew D. & Dolan, Paul & Kavetsos, Georgios, 2017. "Would you choose to be happy? Tradeoffs between happiness and the other dimensions of life in a large population survey," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 60-73.
    18. Pierluigi Conzo & Giulia Fuochi & Letizia Mencarini, 2017. "Fertility and Life Satisfaction in Rural Ethiopia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(4), pages 1331-1351, August.
    19. Gregor Gonza & Anže Burger, 2017. "Subjective Well-Being During the 2008 Economic Crisis: Identification of Mediating and Moderating Factors," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 1763-1797, December.
    20. Cordero, José Manuel & Salinas-Jiménez, Javier & Salinas-Jiménez, M Mar, 2017. "Exploring factors affecting the level of happiness across countries: A conditional robust nonparametric frontier analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 256(2), pages 663-672.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Subjective well-being; Children; Fertility; Motherhood; Parenthood; Life cycle; Selection; Matching; Fixed effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:130:y:2016:i:c:p:242-260. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.