Homemaking and women's well-being in Europe. Effect of divorce risk, selection and dominating gender-role attitudes
Whereas it is known that employment affects individual well-being, the literature on the effect of homemaking is so far inconclusive. The paper investigates the effect of being a housewife on well-being of women, using European Values Study data for 36 European countries (year 2008) and multilevel regression methodology. Results show that the effect of homemaking on well-being is overall positive and it varies across countries. Three possible explanations of this variation are examined. First hypothesis concerns traditional gender-role attitudes in a country. Results confirm that in more traditional countries homemakers have higher wellbeing, but only in western Europe. Effect of individual norms is strong: housewives with traditional gender-role attitudes declare higher well-being. Second hypothesis refers to the economic risk of specialization to homemaking, and states that higher divorce risk decreases well-being of housewives. Contrary to expectations, higher divorce risk in a country is accompanied by higher well-being of housewives. I interpret this as a sign of equality concerns incorporated into legal divorce procedures. Third hypothesis concerns positive and negative selection to homemaking. Results show that the relationship between prevalence of homemaking and the well-being of housewives is curvilinear. Highest well-being gains from homemaking occur in countries with lowest and highest prevalence of homemaking.
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- Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001.
"Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
- DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
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