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Maternal Life Satisfaction and Child Outcomes: Are They Related?

  • Eva M. Berger
  • C. Katharina Spieß

This paper investigates the association between maternal life satisfaction and the developmental functioning of two- to three-year-old children as well as the socio-emotional behaviorof five- to six-year-old children. We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), which allows us to control for a rich set of child and parental characteristics and to use the mother's life satisfaction before the birth of her child as an instrument to eliminate potential reverse causality. The results indicate that the more satisfied the mother, the better her child's verbal skills and the lower his or her socio-emotional problems. The relation is more pronounced for boys than for girls. The results are robust even when mothers' personality or mothers' cognitive skills are controlled for.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 242.

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Length: 41 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp242
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  10. Jürgen Schupp & C. Katharina Spieß & Gert G. Wagner, 2008. "Die verhaltenswissenschaftliche Weiterentwicklung des Erhebungsprogramms des SOEP," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 77(3), pages 63-76.
  11. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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  15. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  16. Fitzpatrick Maria D, 2008. "Starting School at Four: The Effect of Universal Pre-Kindergarten on Children's Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-40, November.
  17. Jennifer Hill & Jane Waldfogel & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "Differential effects of high-quality child care," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 601-627.
  18. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
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  21. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Coneus, Katja, 2007. "Self-Productivity in Early Childhood," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-053 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  23. Thomas Siedler & JÜrgen Schupp & C. Katharina Spiess & Gert G. Wagner, 2009. "The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) as Reference Data Set," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(2), pages 367-374.
  24. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  25. Coneus, Katja & Sprietsma, Maresa, 2009. "Intergenerational transmission of human capital in early childhood," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-038, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  26. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  27. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
  28. Christina Felfe & Amy Hsin, 2009. "The Effect of Maternal Work Conditions on Child Development," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 2009-32, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
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