IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/jopoec/v34y2021i2d10.1007_s00148-020-00798-y.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Children, unhappiness and family finances

Author

Listed:
  • David G. Blanchflower

    (Dartmouth College
    GLO, Bloomberg and NBER)

  • Andrew E. Clark

    (Paris School of Economics – CNRS)

Abstract

The common finding of a zero or negative correlation between the presence of children and parental well-being continues to generate research interest. We consider international data, including well over one million observations on Europeans from 11 years of Eurobarometer surveys. We first replicate this negative finding, both in the overall data and then for most different marital statuses. Children are expensive: controlling for financial difficulties turns our estimated child coefficients positive. We argue that difficulties paying the bills explain the pattern of existing results by parental education and income and by country income and social support. Last, we underline that not all children are the same, with stepchildren commonly having a more negative correlation with well-being than children from the current relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • David G. Blanchflower & Andrew E. Clark, 2021. "Children, unhappiness and family finances," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 625-653, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:34:y:2021:i:2:d:10.1007_s00148-020-00798-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-020-00798-y
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s00148-020-00798-y
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s00148-020-00798-y?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. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2022. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 386-398, May.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
    5. John Gathergood, 2012. "Debt and Depression: Causal Links and Social Norm Effects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 1094-1114, September.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Angus Deaton, 2012. "The financial crisis and the well-being of Americans," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-26, January.
    10. 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.
    11. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2018. "The Origins of Happiness: The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course," Post-Print halshs-01631510, HAL.
    12. Mariano Rojas (ed.), 2019. "The Economics of Happiness," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-030-15835-4, February.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Marta Barazzetta & Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D’ambrosio, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Young Adulthood Outcomes: The Effects of Mothers' Financial Problems," Working Papers halshs-01622334, HAL.
    16. Marco Le Moglie & Letizia Mencarini & Chiara Rapallini, 2019. "Does income moderate the satisfaction of becoming a parent? In Germany it does and depends on education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 915-952, July.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Matthias Pollmann-Schult, 2018. "Parenthood and Life Satisfaction in Europe: The Role of Family Policies and Working Time Flexibility," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 34(3), pages 387-411, August.
    20. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2022. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 386-398, May.
    21. 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).
    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. Andrew E. Clark & Hippolyte d’Albis & Angela Greulich, 2021. "The age U-shape in Europe: the protective role of partnership," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 19(1), pages 293-318.
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2022. "The Female Happiness Paradox," NBER Working Papers 29893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David G. Blanchflower & Carol L. Graham, 2022. "The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: a Critique," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 287-344, May.

    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. 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.
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew E. Clark, 2019. "Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances: Evidence from One Million Europeans," NBER Working Papers 25597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Yu, Shuye & Postepska, Agnieszka, 2020. "Flexible Jobs Make Parents Happier: Evidence from Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 13700, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Marco Le Moglie & Letizia Mencarini & Chiara Rapallini, 2019. "Does income moderate the satisfaction of becoming a parent? In Germany it does and depends on education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 915-952, July.
    8. Giulia M. Dotti Sani, 2022. "The Intrinsic Value of Childcare: Positive Returns of Childcare Time on Parents’ Well-Being and Life Satisfaction in Italy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 1901-1921, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Mikucka, Malgorzata, 2015. "How does parenthood affect life satisfaction in Russia?," MPRA Paper 65376, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Zeynep B. Ugur, 2020. "Does Having Children Bring Life Satisfaction in Europe?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 1385-1406, April.
    12. Letizia Mencarini & Daniele Vignoli & Tugba Zeydanli & Jungho Kim, 2018. "Life satisfaction favors reproduction. The universal positive effect of life satisfaction on childbearing in contemporary low fertility countries," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(12), pages 1-19, December.
    13. 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.
    14. Janusz Czapiński, 2015. "Individual quality of life and lifestyle," Contemporary Economics, University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw., vol. 9(4), December.
    15. 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.
    16. Matthias Pollmann-Schult, 2018. "Parenthood and Life Satisfaction in Europe: The Role of Family Policies and Working Time Flexibility," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 34(3), pages 387-411, August.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Children; Subjective well-being; Age; Financial difficulties; Eurobarometer;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • 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:spr:jopoec:v:34:y:2021:i:2:d:10.1007_s00148-020-00798-y. 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.springer.com .

    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: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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.