IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hka/wpaper/2012-010.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gender and Well-being Around the World: Some Insights from the Economics of Happiness

Author

Listed:
  • Carol Graham

    (The Brookings Institution)

  • Soumya Chattopadhyay

    (The Brookings Institution)

Abstract

A wide body of research explores gender differences in welfare outcomes, and their implications for economic development. We aim to contribute to this work by looking at differences in reported well-being (happiness) across genders around the world. We examine differences across genders within countries, comparing age, income, education, and urban versus rural cohorts, and explore how those same within country differences vary in countries of different development levels. Our findings, based also on previous research on well-being more generally, highlight some consistent patterns across genders, with women typically happier than men in the world as a whole, with the exception of the poorest sample of countries. We also find substantial differences in the standard relationships between key variables - such as marriage - and happiness when we take differences in gender rights into account. Our research also suggests that cross-gender differences in well-being are affected by the same empirical and methodological factors that drive the paradoxes underlying the income and happiness debates more generally, with norms and expectations playing an important mediating role. Women's happiness seems to fall - at least in the short-term - when there are changes/improvements in gender rights, in keeping with our more general findings on the drops in reported well-being that are often associated with the process of acquiring agency.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Graham & Soumya Chattopadhyay, 2012. "Gender and Well-being Around the World: Some Insights from the Economics of Happiness," Working Papers 2012-010, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2012-010 Note: MIP
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Graham_Chattopadhyay_2012_GenderandWellBeing.pdf
    File Function: First version, 3/1/2012
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tony Smith & M. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Inferring Labor Income Risk from Economic Choices: An Indirect Inference Approach," 2007 Meeting Papers 1024, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-240, April.
    3. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 213-259, June.
    4. Luca Benzoni & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2007. "Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle when the Stock and Labor Markets Are Cointegrated," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(5), pages 2123-2167, October.
    5. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Idiosyncratic Risk and Overlapping Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 519-548, October.
    6. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
    7. Lynch, Anthony W. & Tan, Sinan, 2011. "Labor income dynamics at business-cycle frequencies: Implications for portfolio choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 333-359, August.
    8. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, February.
    9. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Werner, Ingrid M., 1993. "Nontraded assets in incomplete markets : Pricing and portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1149-1168, June.
    10. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2923-2954.
    11. John Y. Campbell & João F. Cocco & Francisco J. Gomes & Pascal J. Maenhout, 2001. "Investing Retirement Wealth: A Life-Cycle Model," NBER Chapters,in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 439-482 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
    13. John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Understanding Risk and Return," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1711, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    14. Lillard, Lee A, 1977. "Inequality: Earnings vs. Human Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 42-53.
    15. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance J. & Todd, Petra E., 2006. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    16. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2923-2954.
    17. Campbell, John Y, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 298-345, April.
    18. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2011. "Earnings, Consumption and Life Cycle Choices," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    19. Jermann, Urban J., 2002. "International portfolio diversification and endogenous labor supply choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, pages 507-522.
    20. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, pages 1223-1256.
    21. Robert H. Haveman & Andrew Bershadker & Jonathan A. Schwabish, 2003. "Human Capital in the United States from 1975 to 2000: Patterns of Growth and Utilization," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number hcus.
    22. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Drawdown of Wealth in Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
    23. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501.
    24. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
    25. Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J, 1997. "The International Diversification Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 170-180.
    26. Graham, John W & Webb, Roy H, 1979. "Stocks and Depreciation of Human Capital: New Evidence from a Present-Value Perspective," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 25(2), pages 209-224, June.
    27. Eric French, 2004. "The Labor Supply Response to (Mismeasured but) Predictable Wage Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 602-613, May.
    28. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-286, April.
    29. Mark Huggett & Greg Kaplan, 2010. "Human capital values and returns: bounds implied by earnings and asset returns data," Staff Report 448, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    30. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2008. "The Returns on Human Capital: Good News on Wall Street is Bad News on Main Street," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(5), pages 2097-2137, September.
    31. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-1445, November.
    32. Huggett, Mark & Kaplan, Greg, 2011. "Human capital values and returns: Bounds implied by earnings and asset returns data," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 897-919, May.
    33. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
    34. Lillard, Lee A, 1977. "Inequality: Earnings vs. Human Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 42-53.
    35. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 11-44, August.
    36. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    37. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 948-964.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Gender and Well-being Around the World: Some Insights from the Economics of Happiness
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2012-05-28 22:16:18
    2. Freedom vs happiness
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-05-28 18:48:18
    3. Freedom, well-being & capitalism
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-07-29 17:03:31
    4. Why was Hobsbawm wrong?
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-10-02 18:03:20
    5. What is Freedom? (18): Freedom is a Happiness Pump
      by Filip Spagnoli in P.A.P.-Blog on 2014-06-10 21:31:17

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. María Laura Arrosa & Néstor Gandelman, 2016. "Happiness Decomposition: Female Optimism," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 731-756, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness; gender; agency; expectations;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2012-010. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer Pachon). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/mfichus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.