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Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?

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  • Stutzer, Alois

    (University of Basel)

  • Frey, Bruno S.

    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the causal relationships between marriage and subjective well-being in a longitudinal data set spanning 17 years. We find evidence that happier singles opt more likely for marriage and that there are large differences in the benefits from marriage between couples. Potential, as well as actual, division of labor seems to contribute to spouses' wellbeing, especially for women and when there is a young family to raise. In contrast, large differences in the partners' educational level have a negative effect on experienced life satisfaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2005. "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IZA Discussion Papers 1811, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1811
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; selection; marriage; division of labor;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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