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It Takes Two to Tango: Couples’ Happiness and Childbearing

Author

Listed:
  • Arnstein Aassve

    (Bocconi University)

  • Bruno Arpino

    (Pompeu Fabra University)

  • Nicoletta Balbo

    (Bocconi University)

Abstract

The existing literature has so far considered the role of the individual’s subjective well-being on fertility, neglecting the importance of the partner’s well-being. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and event history models estimated separately by parity, we find that in a couple, women’s happiness matters more than that of the male partner in terms of having the first child. Specifically, we observe that couples in which either partner is happier than usual are more at risk of having the first child, but the effect is stronger with higher happiness of the woman. For the transition to the second child, we find that couples in which the woman declares to be happier or less happy than usual have a lower risk of childbirth. We, moreover, find support for a multiplicative effect of partners’ SWB on the decision to have a first child. Our results show that failing to acknowledge that the subjective well-being of both partners matters for the inherently joint decision making of childbearing can lead to an incomplete view of how subjective well-being affects fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnstein Aassve & Bruno Arpino & Nicoletta Balbo, 2016. "It Takes Two to Tango: Couples’ Happiness and Childbearing," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 339-354, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eurpop:v:32:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10680-016-9385-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s10680-016-9385-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Dayuan Xie & Yonghong Zhou, 2022. "Religion effects on fertility preference: evidence from China," Journal of Population Research, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 341-371, September.
    3. Xiumin Hong & Jingyuan Wang & Wenting Zhu, 2022. "The Relationship between Childcare Services Participation and Parental Subjective Well-Being under China’s Three-Child Policy—Based on the Mediation Effect of Parenting Stress," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(24), pages 1-18, December.
    4. Daniela Bellani & Bruno Arpino & Daniele Vignoli, 2021. "Time preferences and fertility: Evidence from Italy," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 44(50), pages 1185-1228.
    5. Sophia Schmitz, 2020. "The Impact of Publicly Funded Childcare on Parental Well-Being: Evidence from Cut-Off Rules," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 36(2), pages 171-196, April.
    6. LUPPI, FRANCESCA & Arpino, Bruno & Rosina, Alessandro, 2022. "Dismissed and newly planned babies during the COVID-19 pandemic. A study of the motivations behind changes in fertility plans and behaviors in Italy," SocArXiv qpwba, Center for Open Science.
    7. Tao, Dongjie & He, Lingyun & Hamilton, Jonathan & Xu, Ding, 2021. "Children's marriage and parental subjective well-being: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    8. Katya Ivanova, 2020. "My Children, Your Children, Our Children, and My Well-Being: Life Satisfaction of “Empty Nest” Biological Parents and Stepparents," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 613-633, February.
    9. Frederik Booysen & Ferdi Botha & Sevias Guvuriro, 2022. "Intermarriage on Subjective Social Status and Spousal Dissimilarity in Life Satisfaction of Co-resident Heterosexual South African Couples," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 23(6), pages 2635-2662, August.
    10. Albertini, Marco & Arpino, Bruno, 2018. "Childlessness, parenthood and subjective wellbeing: The relevance of conceptualizing parenthood and childlessness as a continuum," SocArXiv xtfq6, Center for Open Science.
    11. 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.

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    Keywords

    Couples; Happiness; Fertility; BHPS;
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