Happiness and childbearing across Europe

Maria Sironi, Università Bocconi
Arnstein Aassve, DONDENA Research Centre and Bocconi University
Alice Goisis, Università Bocconi
Cristina Ruggeri, Università Bocconi

In this paper we analyse the relationship between happiness and childbearing taking a comparative perspective. We argue that fertility and happiness are somewhat linked and we investigate whether there are important differences across European countries. Using happiness as a welfare measure offers important benefits over income especially when interest lies in understanding how individuals’ wellbeing is associated with childbearing outcomes. We use the European Social Survey (ESS) and apply simple regression techniques, controlling for country differences, and find indeed a positive and significant association between happiness and childbearing. However, parents do not appear to be consistently happier in some countries than in others.

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Presented in Session 67: Transitions in family life: new links of nuptiality and fertility