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Parenthood and happiness: Direct and indirect impacts of parenthood on happiness

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  • Beja, Edsel Jr.

Abstract

Does parenthood bring happiness? This paper finds that the overall impact of parenthood on happiness is negative because the negative indirect impacts exceed the positive direct on happiness. What needs emphasizing is that, while the findings show that parenthood is still a positive status, parenthood undermines life domains in significant ways. In teasing out the different routes in which parenthood affects happiness, this paper thus highlights a problem with the standard conclusion in the extant literature: there is a conflation of the positive direct and negative indirect impacts of parenthood on happiness. The paper then argues that public policy and related programs can both strengthen the positive direct impact and help reverse the negative indirect impacts of parenthood on happiness.

Suggested Citation

  • Beja, Edsel Jr., 2014. "Parenthood and happiness: Direct and indirect impacts of parenthood on happiness," MPRA Paper 53870, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53870
    as

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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/53870/1/MPRA_paper_53870.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
    2. Robert Emmons & Ed Diener, 1985. "Factors predicting satisfaction judgments: A comparative examination," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 157-167, February.
    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. 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.
    5. Max Haller & Markus Hadler, 2006. "How Social Relations and Structures can Produce Happiness and Unhappiness: An International Comparative Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 169-216, January.
    6. Luis Angeles, 2010. "Erratum to: Children and Life Satisfaction," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 539-539, August.
    7. Luis Angeles, 2010. "Children and Life Satisfaction," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 523-538, August.
    8. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    9. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Parenthood; children; happiness; life domains; mediation;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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