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Why do women in former communist countries look unhappy? A demographic perspective

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  • Junji Kageyama

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

Abstract

This paper investigates the causes of the positive correlation between happiness and the sex gap in happiness between women and men observed in Europe. Departing from a variety of hypotheses that are based on the sex differences at the individual level, this paper tests whether the positive correlation can be explained by the sex difference in life expectancy. The mechanisms working behind are as follows. First, national average happiness affects the sex gap in life expectancy negatively because men are more fragile to stress (unhappiness). Second, the sex difference in life expectancy influences the sex gap in happiness negatively because it affects the chance of being a widow for women. Using a 3SLS approach, it found that both effects are significant and that the direct effects between happiness and the happiness gap are insignificant. These results indicate that the positive correlation between happiness and the happiness gap is an artifact of the demographic compositional effect resulted from the sex gap in life expectancy.

Suggested Citation

  • Junji Kageyama, 2009. "Why do women in former communist countries look unhappy? A demographic perspective," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-032, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2009-032
    DOI: 10.4054/MPIDR-WP-2009-032
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    File URL: https://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2009-032.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Junji Kageyama, 2009. "Happiness and sex difference in life expectancy," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-009, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Watson, Peggy, 1995. "Explaining rising mortality among men in Eastern Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 923-934, October.
    3. Ovaska, Tomi & Takashima, Ryo, 2006. "Economic policy and the level of self-perceived well-being: An international comparison," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 308-325, April.
    4. Bernheim, B Douglas & Stark, Oded, 1988. "Altruism within the Family Reconsidered: Do Nice Guys Finish Last?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1034-1045, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; economic and social development; life expectancy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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