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Happiness and childbearing across Europe

  • Arnstein Aassve
  • Maria Sironi
  • Alice Goisis

In this paper we analyse the relationship between happiness and childbearing taking a comparative perspective. We argue that fertility and happiness are somewhat linked and we investigate whether there are important differences across European countries. Using happiness as a welfare measure offers important benefits over income especially when interest lies in understanding how individuals' wellbeing is associated with childbearing outcomes. We use the European Social Survey (ESS) and apply simple regression techniques, controlling for country differences, and find indeed a positive and significant association between happiness and childbearing. However, parents do not appear to be consistently happier in some countries than in others. The final set of analyses reveals a very strong interconnection between, childbearing, partnership and happiness.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.dondena.unibocconi.it/WorkingPapers/Dondena_WP010.pdf
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Paper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 010.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:010
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  1. Anke C. Zimmermann & Richard A. Easterlin, 2006. "Happily Ever After? Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Happiness in Germany," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(3), pages 511-528.
  2. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, . "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IEW - Working Papers 143, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Di Tella, Rafael & Alesina, Alberto & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," Scholarly Articles 4553007, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  6. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  7. Dex, Shirley & Joshi, Heather, 1999. "Careers and Motherhood: Policies for Compatibility," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(5), pages 641-59, September.
  8. Steven Martin, 2000. "Diverging fertility among U.S. women who delay childbearing past age 30," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 523-533, November.
  9. Arnstein Aassve & Maria Iacovou & Letizia Mencarini, 2006. "Youth poverty and transition to adulthood in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 15(2), pages 21-50, July.
  10. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005, March.
  11. Jan Bavel, 2010. "Choice of study discipline and the postponement of motherhood in Europe: The impact of expected earnings, gender composition, and family attitudes," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 439-458, May.
  12. Heather Joshi, 1998. "The opportunity costs of childbearing: More than mothers' business," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 161-183.
  13. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  14. Gabriella Conti & Stephen Pudney, 2011. "Survey Design and the Analysis of Satisfaction," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1087-1093, August.
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