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Suffer the Little Children: Measuring the Effects of Parenthood on Well-Being Worldwide

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  • Luca Stanca

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Abstract

This paper tests the rational-choice approach to fertility decisions by investigating the relationship between parenthood and well-being in a large sample of individuals from 94 countries. We find that world- wide, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, having children has a negative effect on well-being. Conditioning on age, gender, marital status and education can only partially help to interpret this finding. We show that the negative effect of parent- hood on well-being is explained by a large adverse impact on financial satisfaction, that on average dominates the positive impact on non- financial satisfaction. The results are robust to alternative empirical specifications and to the inclusion of the reported ideal number of children as a proxy variable to address the endogeneity of parenthood decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Stanca, 2009. "Suffer the Little Children: Measuring the Effects of Parenthood on Well-Being Worldwide," Working Papers 173, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:173
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Children & happiness
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-11-09 20:34:58

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    Cited by:

    1. Øystein Kravdal, 2014. "The Estimation of Fertility Effects on Happiness: Even More Difficult than Usually Acknowledged," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(3), pages 263-290, August.
    2. Mikucka, Malgorzata, 2015. "How does parenthood affect life satisfaction in Russia?," MPRA Paper 65376, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ann Meier & Kelly Musick & Sarah Flood & Rachel Dunifon, 2016. "Mothering Experiences: How Single Parenthood and Employment Structure the Emotional Valence of Parenting," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(3), pages 649-674, June.
    4. Gschwandtner, Adelina & Jewell, Sarah L. & Kambhampati, Uma, 2015. "On the Relationship between Lifestyle and Happiness in the UK," 89th Annual Conference, April 13-15, 2015, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 204199, Agricultural Economics Society.
    5. Anna Baranowska & Anna Matysiak, 2011. "Does parenthood increase happiness? Evidence for Poland," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 307-325.
    6. Edsel Beja, 2015. "Direct and indirect impacts of parenthood on happiness," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 62(4), pages 307-318, December.
    7. Dolores Pushkar & Dorothea Bye & Michael Conway & Carsten Wrosch & June Chaikelson & Jamshid Etezadi & Constantina Giannopoulos & Karen Li & Nassim Tabri, 2014. "Does Child Gender Predict Older Parents’ Well-Being?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 285-303, August.
    8. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9799-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gimenez-Nadal, Jose Ignacio & Sevilla, Almudena, 2016. "Intensive Mothering and Well-being: The Role of Education and Child Care Activity," MPRA Paper 74249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Nicola Matteucci & Sabrina Vieira Lima, 2016. "Women and happiness," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Happiness and Quality of Life, chapter 19, pages 419-447 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Alessandro Bucciol & Luca Zarri, 2017. "The Lasting Legacy of Traumatic Events on Life Satisfaction," Working Papers 13/2017, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    14. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Wooden, Mark, 2015. "What's the good of education on our overall quality of life? A simultaneous equation model of education and life satisfaction for Australia," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 10-21.
    15. 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.
    16. Sophie Cetre & Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 445-473, August.
    17. Thomas Hansen, 2012. "Parenthood and Happiness: a Review of Folk Theories Versus Empirical Evidence," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 29-64, August.
    18. Luca Stanca & Ruut Veenhoven, 2015. "Consumption and happiness: an introduction," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 62(2), pages 91-99, June.
    19. Pierluigi Conzo & Giulia Fuochi & Letizia Mencarini, 2017. "Fertility and Life Satisfaction in Rural Ethiopia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(4), pages 1331-1351, August.
    20. Daniele Vignoli & Elena Pirani & Silvana Salvini, 2014. "Family Constellations and Life Satisfaction in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 967-986, July.
    21. repec:dem:demres:v:39:y:2018:i:9 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2014. "Parenthood and happiness: Direct and indirect impacts of parenthood on happiness," MPRA Paper 53870, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Maria Pereira & Filipe Coelho, 2013. "Work Hours and Well Being: An Investigation of Moderator Effects," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 235-253, March.
    24. Lin, Yi-Chen & Hwang, Ruey-Ching & Deng, Wen-Shuenn, 2015. "Heterogeneity in the relationship between subjective well-being and its determinants over the life cycle: A varying-coefficient ordered probit approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 372-386.
    25. repec:spr:eurpop:v:34:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9433-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    well-being; fertility; children; decision-making;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income

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