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Parenthood and Quality of Life in Old Age: The Role of Individual Resources, the Welfare State and the Economy

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  • Franz Stephan Neuberger

    () (German Youth Institute)

  • Klaus Preisner

    () (University of Zurich)

Abstract

We analyse the relationship between parenthood and quality of life in old age. Our main rationale is that the effect of having children on the quality of life varies with individual financial well-being as well as with the societal context, e.g. the welfare state and the economy. Analyses are based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (wave 2 and 4) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (wave 6) with respondents aged 50 plus from 19 European countries in all. We find the effect of parenthood on quality of life to depend on individual resources, the economy and social service expenditures. Older persons with difficulties in making ends meet, living in less affluent countries with lower gross domestic product per capita and welfare states with higher spending on social services benefit the most from parenthood in late life. Women and men in financial ease do not benefit from parenthood in old age. We do not find substantial gender differences in the relationship of parenthood and quality of life.

Suggested Citation

  • Franz Stephan Neuberger & Klaus Preisner, 2018. "Parenthood and Quality of Life in Old Age: The Role of Individual Resources, the Welfare State and the Economy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 353-372, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:138:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-017-1665-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-017-1665-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zhenmei Zhang & Mark D. Hayward, 2001. "Childlessness and the Psychological Well-Being of Older Persons," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 56(5), pages 311-320.
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    3. repec:cai:poeine:pope_1201_0043 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Matthew Andersson & Jennifer Glass & Robin Simon, 2014. "Users Beware: Variable Effects of Parenthood on Happiness Within and Across International Datasets," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 945-961, February.
    5. 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.
    6. Karsten Hank & Michael Wagner, 2013. "Parenthood, Marital Status, and Well-Being in Later Life: Evidence from SHARE," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 639-653, November.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aassve, Arnstein & Luppi, Francesca & Pronzato, Chiara & Pudney, Steve, 2020. "Lifetime events and the well-being of older people," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 202001, University of Turin.

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