IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

His and Hers: Exploring Gender Puzzles and the Meaning of Life Satisfaction


  • Marina Della Giusta

    () (School of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Uma Kambhampati

    () (School of Economics, University of Reading)


Our paper contributes to current debates around work-life balance and the efficiency and wellbeing costs associated with different models of work and childcare (Gregory and Connolly, 2008). It also contributes from a gender perspective to the life satisfaction literature by providing a test for the hypothesis that women and men with children attribute different meanings to overall life satisfaction. We begin by presenting a conventional model of life satisfaction for British parents in wave 8 of the British Household Panel Survey which includes childcare arrangements; and move on to discuss the possibility that women and men have a different understanding of what matters in life and what constitutes life satisfaction, and accordingly we explore the role of dimensions of life satisfaction in overall life satisfaction. Finally, we try to account for observed differences between women and men and explain some of the paradoxes encountered in the literature on women and work-life balance, and on policy based on happiness scores.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Della Giusta & Uma Kambhampati, 2008. "His and Hers: Exploring Gender Puzzles and the Meaning of Life Satisfaction," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2008-65, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2008-65

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    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. John Hudson, 2006. "Institutional Trust and Subjective Well-Being across the EU," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 43-62, February.
    3. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    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. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    6. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 24-33, March.
    7. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
    8. AlisonL. Booth & JanC. vanOurs, 2008. "Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Puzzle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages 77-99, February.
    9. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    10. repec:dgr:kubcen:200769 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Marina Della Giusta & Uma Kambhampati, 2006. "Women migrant workers in the UK: social capital, well-being and integration," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(6), pages 819-833.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. David Zetland & Marina Della Giusta, 2011. "Focal Points, Gender Norms and Reciprocation in Public Good Games," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2011-01, Henley Business School, Reading University.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2008-65. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marie Pearson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.