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Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances

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  • Blanchflower, David G.
  • Clark, Andrew E.

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 international data, including well over one million observations on Europeans from eleven 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: controlling for financial difficulties turns our estimated child coefficients positive. We argue that difficulties paying the bills explains the pattern of existing results by parental education and income, and country income and social support. Last, we underline that not all children are the same, with stepchildren commonly having a more negative correlation than children from the current relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Blanchflower, David G. & Clark, Andrew E., 2020. "Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances," GLO Discussion Paper Series 561, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:561
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2022. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 386-398, May.
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    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
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    10. 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.
    11. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2018. "The Origins of Happiness: The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course," Post-Print halshs-01631510, HAL.
    12. Mariano Rojas (ed.), 2019. "The Economics of Happiness," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-030-15835-4, August.
    13. 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.
    14. Arnstein Aassve & Alice Goisis & Maria Sironi, 2012. "Happiness and Childbearing Across Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 65-86, August.
    15. 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.
    16. Marco Le Moglie & Letizia Mencarini & Chiara Rapallini, 2019. "Does income moderate the satisfaction of becoming a parent? In Germany it does and depends on education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 915-952, July.
    17. 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.
    18. Chris M. Herbst & John Ifcher, 2016. "The increasing happiness of US parents," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 529-551, September.
    19. Matthias Pollmann-Schult, 2018. "Parenthood and Life Satisfaction in Europe: The Role of Family Policies and Working Time Flexibility," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 34(3), pages 387-411, August.
    20. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2022. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 386-398, May.
    21. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2022. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 386-398, May.
    22. Mikko Myrskylä & Rachel Margolis, 2014. "Happiness - before and after the Kids," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 642, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew E. Clark & Hippolyte d’Albis & Angela Greulich, 2021. "The age U-shape in Europe: the protective role of partnership," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 19(1), pages 293-318.
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2022. "The Female Happiness Paradox," NBER Working Papers 29893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David G. Blanchflower & Carol L. Graham, 2022. "The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: a Critique," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 287-344, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Children; subjective well-being; age; financial difficulties; Eurobarometer;
    All these keywords.

    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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