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Happy People Have Children: Choice and Self-Selection into Parenthood

Research paper by Sophie Cetre, Andrew E. Clark; Claudia Senik

Indexed on: 31 Aug '16Published on: 22 Aug '16Published in: European Journal of Population



Abstract

Abstract There is mixed evidence in the existing literature on whether children are associated with greater subjective well-being, with the correlation depending on which countries and populations are considered. We here provide a systematic analysis of this question based on three different datasets: two cross-national and one national panel. We show that the association between children and subjective well-being is positive only in developed countries, and for those who become parents after the age of 30 and who have higher income. We also provide evidence of a positive selection into parenthood, whereby happier individuals are more likely to have children.AbstractThere is mixed evidence in the existing literature on whether children are associated with greater subjective well-being, with the correlation depending on which countries and populations are considered. We here provide a systematic analysis of this question based on three different datasets: two cross-national and one national panel. We show that the association between children and subjective well-being is positive only in developed countries, and for those who become parents after the age of 30 and who have higher income. We also provide evidence of a positive selection into parenthood, whereby happier individuals are more likely to have children.