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Expected happiness from childbearing and its realization

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  • Arnstein Aassve
  • Anna Barbuscia
  • Letizia Mencarini

Abstract

Using longitudinal data from the Generations and Gender Surveys (for Bulgaria, France, and Italy), we study the determinants of predicted happiness associated with childbearing and then its role for explaining realized childbearing. Expected happiness, as declared by individuals, is indeed a powerful predictor of their fertility behavior. Those who expect to be happier from childbearing indeed have a much higher probability of having a child within the following three years. But the results also show strong gender and country differences in the level of expected happiness and its effect on fertility behavior. For example, in Italy we see that individuals tend to have a high expected happiness from childbearing, yet realized fertility is low. What separates this study from recent papers considering happiness and fertility is that in the GGS the question about happiness is specific with respect to childbearing. Previous studies tend to focus on overall happiness, which has the drawback of, first, having relatively low variation in responses, and second, it refers to the general level of happiness, which incorporates a whole range of factors, not just children.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnstein Aassve & Anna Barbuscia & Letizia Mencarini, 2014. "Expected happiness from childbearing and its realization," Working Papers 062, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  • Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:062
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.dondena.unibocconi.it/WorkingPapers/Dondena_WP062.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ron J. Lesthaeghe & Lisa Neidert, 2006. "The Second Demographic Transition in the United States: Exception or Textbook Example?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(4), pages 669-698, December.
    2. Anna Baranowska & Anna Matysiak, 2011. "Does parenthood increase happiness? Evidence for Poland," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 307-325.
    3. Arnstein Aassve & Alice Goisis & Maria Sironi, 2012. "Happiness and Childbearing Across Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 65-86, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniela Bellani & Bruno Arpino, 2021. "Risk aversion and fertility. Evidence from a lottery question in Italy," Econometrics Working Papers Archive 2021_02, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti".

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