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

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  • Sophie Cetre
  • Andrew E. Clark
  • Claudia Senik

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," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1604, CEPREMAP.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:1604
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. 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.
    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.
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    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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    1. Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-07-01 19:53:48

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Jona Schellekens, 2019. "Does the association between children and happiness vary by level of religiosity? The evidence from Israel," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 41(5), pages 103-124.
    7. Frijters, Paul & Clark, Andrew E. & Krekel, Christian & Layard, Richard, 2020. "A happy choice: wellbeing as the goal of government," Behavioural Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 126-165, July.
    8. C. O. Henriques & L. A. Lopez-Agudo & O. D. Marcenaro-Gutierrez & M. Luque, 2021. "Reaching Compromises in Workers’ Life Satisfaction: A Multiobjective Interval Programming Approach," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 207-239, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    11. 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.
    12. Letizia Mencarini & Delia Irazú Hernández Farías & Mirko Lai & Viviana Patti & Emilio Sulis & Daniele Vignoli, 2019. "Happy parents’ tweets: An exploration of Italian Twitter data using sentiment analysis," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 40(25), pages 693-724.
    13. Yu, Shuye & Postepska, Agnieszka, 2020. "Flexible Jobs Make Parents Happier: Evidence from Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 13700, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. 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.
    15. KUMO, Kazuhiro, 2020. "Fertility in Russia: A Re-examination Using Microdata," CEI Working Paper Series 2020-8, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    16. Reuschke, Darja & Houston, Donald, 2020. "Revisiting the gender gap in commuting through self-employment," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    17. 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.
    18. Jean-Alain Héraud & Phu Nguyen-Van & Thi Kim Cuong Pham, 2020. "Public services and subjective well-being in a European city: The case of Strasbourg metropolitan area," Working Papers of BETA 2020-21, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    19. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; fertility; children; income; selection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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