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Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick and and Warwick Business School)

Abstract

We live in a high-divorce age. Parents worry about the possibility of negative effects upon their children. This paper tests whether recent parental-divorce has deleterious consequences for grown children. Under controlled conditions, it measures students’ happiness with life, and their productivity in a standardized laboratory task. No negative effects from divorce can be detected. If anything, happiness and productivity are greater, particularly among males, if they have experienced parental divorce. Using longitudinal BHPS data -- to control for fixed effects -- we cross-check this result on happiness. Again, the evidence suggests that young people’s mental well-being improves after parental divorce.

Suggested Citation

  • Sgroi, Daniel & Proto, Eugenio & Oswald, Andrew J., 2010. "Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 937, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:937
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2010/twerp_937.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shirley H. Liu, 2007. "Is My Parents' Divorce to Blame for My Failure in Life? A joint Model of Child Educational Attainments and Parental Divorce," Working Papers 0610, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
    3. Corak, Miles, 2001. "Death and Divorce: The Long-Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 682-715, July.
    4. Sgroi, Daniel & Proto, Eugenio & Oswald, Andrew J. & Dobson, Alexander, 2010. "Priming and the Reliability of Subjective Well-being Measures," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 935, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
    6. Andrew J. Oswald & Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi, 2015. "Happiness and Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 789-822.
    7. Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336.
    8. Libertad González Luna & Tarja Viitanen, 2008. "The long term effects of legalizing divorce on children," Economics Working Papers 1122, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    9. repec:pit:wpaper:305 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano & Daniela Vuri, 2007. "Parental Divorce and Students' Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(3), pages 321-338, June.
    11. Piketty, Thomas, 2003. "The Impact of Divorce on School Performance: Evidence from France, 1968-2002," CEPR Discussion Papers 4146, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Collishaw, Stephan & Goodman, Robert & Pickles, Andrew & Maughan, Barbara, 2007. "Modelling the contribution of changes in family life to time trends in adolescent conduct problems," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(12), pages 2576-2587, December.
    13. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Charles Henri DiMaria & Chiara Peroni & Francesco Sarracino, 2014. "Happiness matters: the role of well-being in productivity," Department of Economics University of Siena 699, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Sgroi, Daniel & Proto, Eugenio & Oswald, Andrew J. & Dobson, Alexander, 2010. "Priming and the Reliability of Subjective Well-being Measures," Economic Research Papers 271002, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    3. Bert Van Landeghem, 2012. "Panel Conditioning and Self-Reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-Sections," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 484, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor productivity ; divorce ; well-being ; happiness ; experimental economics JEL Codes: D03 ; J24 ; C91;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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