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Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality

Listed author(s):
  • Gerhard Meisenberg

    ()

  • Michael Woodley
Registered author(s):

    Although most surveys of happiness and general life satisfaction find only small differences between men and women, women report slightly higher subjective well-being than men in some countries, and slightly lower subjective well-being in others. The present study investigates the social and cultural conditions that favor higher female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction. Results from more than 90 countries represented in the World Values Survey show that conditions associated with a high level of female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction include a high proportion of Muslims in the country, a low proportion of Catholics, and absence of communist history. Among indicators of gender equality, a low rate of female non-agricultural employment is associated with higher female-versus-male happiness and satisfaction. Differences in the rate of female non-agricultural employment explain part of the effects of communist history and prevailing religion. They may also explain the recent observation of declining female life satisfaction in the United States. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10902-014-9577-5
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

    Volume (Year): 16 (2015)
    Issue (Month): 6 (December)
    Pages: 1539-1555

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:16:y:2015:i:6:p:1539-1555
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-014-9577-5
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

    Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/wellbeing+%26+quality-of-life/journal/10902/PS2

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    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Clemens Tesch-Römer & Andreas Motel-Klingebiel & Martin Tomasik, 2008. "Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being: Comparing Societies with Respect to Gender Equality," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 85(2), pages 329-349, January.
    4. Herbst, Chris M., 2011. "‘Paradoxical’ decline? Another look at the relative reduction in female happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 773-788.
    5. 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.
    6. Francine D. Blau, 1998. "Trends in the Well-Being of American Women, 1970-1995," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 112-165, March.
    7. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    8. Catherine Pakaluk & Joseph Burke, 2010. "The New Battle of the Sexes: Understanding the Reversal of the Happiness Gender Gap," Working Papers 1004, Ave Maria University, Department of Economics.
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