Does parenthood make us happier?

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This paper investigates the relationship between parenthood and well-being in a large sample of individuals from 94 countries world-wide. We find that having children is negatively related to well-being. Conditioning on economic and socio-demographic characteristics can only partially help to explain this finding. We show that the negative effect of parenthood on well-being is explained by a large adverse impact on financial satisfaction, that dominates the positive impact on non-financial satisfaction. The results are robust to the use of alternative empirical specifications and to the inclusion of the reported ideal number of children as a proxy variable to take into account the endogeneity of parenthood decisions.

Source: “Suffer the Little Children: Measuring the Effects of Parenthood on Well-Being Worldwide” from Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization

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