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Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood

Author

Listed:
  • Sophie Cetre

    () (PSE)

  • Andrew E. Clark

    () (PSE and CNRS)

  • Claudia Senik

    () (Université Paris-Sorbonne and PSE)

Abstract

Abstract There is mixed evidence in the existing literature on whether children are associated with greater subjective well-being, with the correlation depending on which countries and populations are considered. We here provide a systematic analysis of this question based on three different datasets: two cross-national and one national panel. We show that the association between children and subjective well-being is positive only in developed countries, and for those who become parents after the age of 30 and who have higher income. We also provide evidence of a positive selection into parenthood, whereby happier individuals are more likely to have children.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eurpop:v:32:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10680-016-9389-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s10680-016-9389-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Arnstein Aassve & Alice Goisis & Maria Sironi, 2012. "Happiness and Childbearing Across Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 65-86, August.
    7. Nick Parr, 2010. "Satisfaction with life as an antecedent of fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(21), pages 635-662, April.
    8. Rachel Margolis & Mikko Myrskylä, 2011. "A Global Perspective on Happiness and Fertility," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(1), pages 29-56, March.
    9. Thomas Hansen & Britt Slagsvold & Torbjørn Moum, 2009. "Childlessness and Psychological Well-Being in Midlife and Old Age: An Examination of Parental Status Effects Across a Range of Outcomes," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 343-362, November.
    10. 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).
    11. Le Moglie, Marco & Mencarini, Letizia & Rapallini, Chiara, 2015. "Is it just a matter of personality? On the role of subjective well-being in childbearing behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 453-475.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniele Vignoli & Letizia Mencarini & Giammarco Alderotti, 2018. "Is the Impact of Employment Uncertainty on Fertility Intentions Channeled by Subjective Well-Being?," Econometrics Working Papers Archive 2018_04, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti".
    2. Daniele Vignli & Letizia Mencarini & Giammarco Alderotti, 2018. "Is the Impact of Employment Uncertainty on Fertility Intentions Channeled by Subjective Well-Being?," Working Papers 114, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    3. Letizia Mencarini & Delia Irazú Hernández-Farías & Mirko Lai & Viviana Patti & Emilio Sulis & Daniele Vignoli, 2018. "Italian happy parents In Twitter," Working Papers 117, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:bla:revinw:v:64:y:2018:i:2:p:245-269 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Fertility; Children; Income; Selection;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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