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Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood

Author

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  • Cetre, Sophie

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Clark, Andrew E.

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Senik, Claudia

    (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

There is mixed evidence in the existing literature on whether children are associated with greater subjective well-being, with the correlation depending on which countries and populations are considered. We here provide a systematic analysis of this question based on three different datasets: two cross-national and one national panel. We show that the association between children and subjective well-being is positive only in developed countries, and for those who become parents after the age of 30 and who have higher income. We also provide evidence of a positive selection into parenthood, whereby happier individuals are more likely to have children.

Suggested Citation

  • Cetre, Sophie & Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2016. "Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood," IZA Discussion Papers 9880, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9880
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Hielke Buddelmeyer & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Mark Wooden, 2015. "The Stress Cost of Children," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2015n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    3. 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.
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    6. 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.
    7. Baetschmann, Gregori & Staub, Kevin E. & Studer, Raphael, 2016. "Does the stork deliver happiness? Parenthood and life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 242-260.
    8. 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.
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    10. 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.
    11. Thomas Hansen & Britt Slagsvold & Torbjørn Moum, 2009. "Childlessness and Psychological Well-Being in Midlife and Old Age: An Examination of Parental Status Effects Across a Range of Outcomes," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 343-362, November.
    12. 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).
    13. Le Moglie, Marco & Mencarini, Letizia & Rapallini, Chiara, 2015. "Is it just a matter of personality? On the role of subjective well-being in childbearing behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 453-475.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness; fertility; children; income; selection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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