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Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances: Evidence from One Million Europeans

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  • David G. Blanchflower
  • Andrew E. Clark

Abstract

The common finding of a zero or negative correlation between the presence of children and parental well-being continues to generate research interest. We here consider over one million observations on Europeans from ten years of Eurobarometer surveys, and in the first instance replicate this negative finding, both in the overall data and then for most different marital statuses. Children are expensive, and controlling for financial difficulties turns almost all of our estimated child coefficients positive. We argue that financial difficulties explain the pattern of existing results by parental education and income, and country income and social support. Marital status matters. Kids do not raise happiness for singles, the divorced, separated or widowed. Last, we underline that all children are not the same, with step-children commonly having a more negative correlation than children from the current relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • David G. Blanchflower & Andrew E. Clark, 2019. "Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances: Evidence from One Million Europeans," NBER Working Papers 25597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25597
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
    2. 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.
    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.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    5. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    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. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2018. "The Origins of Happiness: The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-01631510, HAL.
    8. 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.
    9. Marta Barazzetta & Andrew E. Clark & Conchita d'Ambrosio, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Young Adulthood Outcomes: The Effects of Mothers' Financial Problems," Working Papers halshs-01622334, HAL.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances: Evidence from One Million Europeans
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2019-03-27 14:34:27

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    Cited by:

    1. David G. Blanchflower & Carol L. Graham, 2020. "The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: Economists (Who Find It) Versus Psychologists (Who Don't)!," NBER Working Papers 26888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Blanchflower, David G., 2020. "Is Happiness U-shaped Everywhere? Age and Subjective Well-being in 145 Countries," GLO Discussion Paper Series 530, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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