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Children, Spousal Love, and Happiness: An Economic Analysis

Author

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  • Grossbard, Shoshana

    () (San Diego State University)

  • Mukhopadhyay, Sankar

    () (University of Nevada, Reno)

Abstract

In this paper we examine how children affect happiness and relationships within a family by analyzing two unique questions in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth's 1997 cohort. We find that (a) presence of children is associated with a loss of spousal love; (b) loss of spousal love is associated with loss of overall happiness; but (c) presence of children is not associated with significant loss of overall happiness. If children reduce feelings of being loved by the spouse but do not reduce reported happiness even though spousal love induces happiness, then it must be the case that children contribute to parental happiness by providing other benefits. After ruling out some competing compensation mechanisms we infer that loss of spousal love is compensated with altruistic feelings towards children.

Suggested Citation

  • Grossbard, Shoshana & Mukhopadhyay, Sankar, 2012. "Children, Spousal Love, and Happiness: An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 7119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7119
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Phillip Anthony O’Hara, 2014. "Political Economy of Love: Nurturance Gap, Disembedded Economy and Freedom Constraints within Neoliberal Capitalism," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 61(2), pages 161-192, March.
    2. Man Si, 2015. "Intrafamily bargaining and love," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 771-789, December.
    3. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    religion; marriage; emotions; happiness; children;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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