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Gender and Life Satisfaction in the UK


  • Marina Della Giusta
  • Sarah Louise Jewell
  • Uma Kambhampati


This contribution analyzes the variations in reported life satisfaction for men and women in the United Kingdom. While average levels of life satisfaction are similar for men and women, the variations in life satisfaction are more marked for women. Analyzing the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) for 1996-2007, the paper finds that hours of paid work increase life satisfaction for both men and women, while housework hours are statistically significant only for retired men and women. Childcare (for children ages 3 to 4 years) and caring for adults affect women's life satisfaction negatively but are statistically insignificant for men. Some of these differences might be explained by the fact that women and men in the sample assign differing weights to satisfaction with different life dimensions. Job satisfaction, in particular, matters much more to men than to women.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Della Giusta & Sarah Louise Jewell & Uma Kambhampati, 2011. "Gender and Life Satisfaction in the UK," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 1-34.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:17:y:2011:i:3:p:1-34
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2011.582028

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marina Della Giusta & Sarah Jewell & Uma Kambhampati, 2010. "Anything to Keep You Happy?," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2010-01, Department of Economics, Reading University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aurelie Charles & Dongxu Wu & Zhongmin Wu, 2019. "Economic Shocks on Subjective Well-Being: Re-assessing the Determinants of Life-Satisfaction After the 2008 Financial Crisis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 1041-1055, April.
    2. Gschwandtner, Adelina & Jewell, Sarah L. & Kambhampati, Uma, 2015. "On the Relationship between Lifestyle and Happiness in the UK," 89th Annual Conference, April 13-15, 2015, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 204199, Agricultural Economics Society.
    3. Sarinda Taengnoi, 2014. "Economic man and social woman: Determinants of immigrants' life satisfaction," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(3), pages 1530-1549.
    4. Marina Della Giusta & Antonia Fernandez & Sarah Jewell, 2017. "Happy at University? Student Well-being and the Value of Higher Education," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2017-01, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    5. Fernandez, Antonia & Della Giusta, Marina & Kambhampati, Uma S., 2015. "The Intrinsic Value of Agency: The Case of Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 92-107.
    6. Suwastika Naidu, 2016. "Does Human Development Influence Women’s Labour Force Participation Rate? Evidences from the Fiji Islands," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 1067-1084, July.
    7. Robert Rudolf & Sung-Jin Kang, 2015. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction in Korea: When Gender Matters," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 136-163, January.
    8. Janneke Plantenga, 2015. "The Economics of Gender Equality – A Review of the Literature in Three Propositions and Two Questions. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 104," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 58262, August.
    9. Della Giusta, Marina & Jewell, Sarah, 2018. "Working for nothing: personality, time allocation and earnings in the UK," MPRA Paper 91481, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. 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.
    11. Željko Pedišić & Zrinka Greblo & Philayrath Phongsavan & Karen Milton & Adrian E Bauman, 2015. "Are Total, Intensity- and Domain-Specific Physical Activity Levels Associated with Life Satisfaction among University Students?," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(2), pages 1-21, February.
    12. Biagi, Bianca & Ladu, Maria Gabriela & Meleddu, Marta, 2018. "Urban Quality of Life and Capabilities: An Experimental Study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 137-152.
    13. Hossain, Mahbub & Asadullah, M. Niaz & Kambhampati, Uma, 2019. "Empowerment and life satisfaction: Evidence from Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 170-183.
    14. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn & Rubia Rocha Valente, 2018. "Life Satisfaction of Career Women and Housewives," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 603-632, September.
    15. Wojtek Tomaszewski & Francisco Perales, 2014. "Who Settles for Less? Subjective Dispositions, Objective Circumstances, and Housing Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 181-203, August.
    16. 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).
    17. Dong Zhou & Langchuan Peng, 2018. "The Relationship Between the Gender Gap in Subjective Well-Being and Leisure Activities in China," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(7), pages 2139-2166, October.
    18. Sarah Jewell & Uma Kambhampati, 2015. "Are Happy Youth Also Satisfied Adults? An Analysis of the Impact of Childhood Factors on Adult Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 543-567, April.
    19. Fassil Sisay Yehuala, 2020. "The nexus between welfare state and subjective well-being: A multi-level assessment," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage:, vol. 18(2A), pages 135-154.
    20. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2012. "Happiness: before and after the kids," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2012-013, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    21. Daniel Wheatley & Zhongmin Wu, 2014. "Dual careers, time-use and satisfaction levels: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(5), pages 443-464, September.
    22. Krista Lynn Minnotte & Michael C. Minnotte & Krista Thompson, 2016. "The Life Satisfaction of Dual-Earner Mothers and Fathers: Does Flexible Scheduling Matter?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(6), pages 2365-2388, December.


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