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Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances

Author

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • David Blanchflower

    (Dartmouth College, National Bureau of Economic Research - National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

The common finding of a zero or negative correlation between the presence of children and parental well-being continues to generate research interest. We consider international data, including well over one million observations on Europeans from 11 years of Eurobarometer surveys. We first replicate this negative finding, both in the overall data and then for most different marital statuses. Children are expensive: controlling for financial difficulties turns our estimated child coefficients positive. We argue that difficulties paying the bills explain the pattern of existing results by parental education and income and by country income and social support. Last, we underline that not all children are the same, with stepchildren commonly having a more negative correlation with well-being than children from the current relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & David Blanchflower, 2020. "Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances," Post-Print halshs-02973082, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-02973082
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-020-00798-y
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02973082
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Sophie Cetre & Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 445-473, August.
    6. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2014. "Happiness: Before and After the Kids," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1843-1866, October.
    7. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
    8. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    9. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    10. Stanca, Luca, 2012. "Suffer the little children: Measuring the effects of parenthood on well-being worldwide," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 742-750.
    11. John Gathergood, 2012. "Debt and Depression: Causal Links and Social Norm Effects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 1094-1114, September.
    12. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2018. "The Origins of Happiness: The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-01631510, HAL.
    13. Chris M. Herbst & John Ifcher, 2016. "The increasing happiness of US parents," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 529-551, September.
    14. Angus Deaton, 2012. "The financial crisis and the well-being of Americans," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-26, January.
    15. 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.
    16. Matthias Pollmann-Schult, 2018. "Parenthood and Life Satisfaction in Europe: The Role of Family Policies and Working Time Flexibility," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 34(3), pages 387-411, August.
    17. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    18. Rachel Margolis & Mikko Myrskylä, 2011. "A Global Perspective on Happiness and Fertility," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(1), pages 29-56, March.
    19. Marta Barazzetta & Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D’ambrosio, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Young Adulthood Outcomes: The Effects of Mothers' Financial Problems," Working Papers halshs-01622334, HAL.
    20. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    21. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2014. "Happiness - before and after the Kids," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 642, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew E. Clark & Hippolyte d’Albis & Angela Greulich, 2021. "The age U-shape in Europe: the protective role of partnership," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 19(1), pages 1-1.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Graham, Carol L., 2021. "The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: A Critique," GLO Discussion Paper Series 923, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Children; Subjective well-being; Age; Financial difficulties; Eurobarometer;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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