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On Gender Inequality and Life Satisfaction: Does Discrimination Matter?

This paper analyzes the impact of gender discrimination on individual life satisfaction using a cross-section of 66 countries. We employ measures of discrimination of women in the economy, in politics, and in society more generally. According to our results, discrimination in politics is important to individual well-being. Overall, men and women are more satisfied with their lives when societies become more equal. Disaggregated analysis suggests that our results for men are driven by the effect of equality on men with middle and high incomes, and those on the political left. To the contrary, women are more satisfied with increasing equality independent of income and political ideology. Equality in economic and family matters does overall not affect life satisfaction. However, women are more satisfied with their lives when discriminatory practices have been less prevalent in the economy 20 years ago.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 07-161.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:07-161
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  1. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2006. "Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World: Caste, Gender, and Schooling Choice in a Globalizing Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1225-1252, September.
  2. Spielmann, Christian & Busse, Matthias, 2005. "Gender Inequality and Trade," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 8, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
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  5. T.D. Stanley & Stephen B. Jarrell, 1998. "Gender Wage Discrimination Bias? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 947-973.
  6. David Neumark & Michele McLennan, 1995. "Sex Discrimination and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 713-740.
  7. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2007. "The bigger the better? Evidence of the effect of government size on life satisfaction around the world," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 267-292, March.
  8. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  9. Choi, Jin Young & Lee, Sang-Hyop, 2006. "Does prenatal care increase access to child immunization? Gender bias among children in India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 107-117, July.
  10. Theodossiou, I., 1998. "The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological well-being: A logistic regression approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 85-104, January.
  11. David Neumark & Wendy A. Stock, 2006. "The Labor Market Effects of Sex and Race Discrimination Laws," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 385-419, July.
  12. Michele J. Siegel, 2006. "Measuring the effect of husband's health on wife's labor supply," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 579-601.
  13. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. S. Fernando Rodriguez & Theodore R. Curry & Gang Lee, 2006. "Gender Differences in Criminal Sentencing: Do Effects Vary Across Violent, Property, and Drug Offenses?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 318-339.
  15. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Maximising Happiness?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 145-167, 05.
  16. Lesley J. Turner & Sheldon Danziger & Kristin S. Seefeldt, 2006. "Failing the Transition from Welfare to Work: Women Chronically Disconnected from Employment and Cash Welfare," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 227-249.
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