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Fertility and Life Satisfaction in Rural Ethiopia

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There is a growing number of studies focusing on the role of fertility in subjective well-being in developed countries while developing countries have been rarely taken into account. We investigate the empirical relationship between fertility and life satisfaction in rural Ethiopia, the largest landlocked country in Africa providing the unique opportunity of panel data availability. Our results suggest that older men benefit the most in terms of life satisfaction from the investment in children, the latter being instead detrimental for women’s subjective well being in reproductive age. In particular, consistently with the related socio-economic theories, we find that the number of children ever born plays a positive role for men’s life satisfaction in older age. Conversely, a new birth produces the opposite effect especially for young women. We argue that this mismatch has two complementary explanations: on the one hand, rather than a source of (labour) support young children represent a burden which traditionally falls on women’s shoulders in the short run; on the other hand, in poor rural areas children can be thought as a valuable long-term investment in a lifecycle perspective. Endogeneity issues are addressed by controlling for lagged life satisfaction in OLS regressions, through fixed effects and the IV approach.

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  • Conzo, Pierluigi & Fuochi, Giulia & Mencarini,Letizia, 2015. "Fertility and Life Satisfaction in Rural Ethiopia," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201524, University of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:uto:dipeco:201524
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