48 Pages Posted: 19 May 2009
Date Written: May 2009
By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging -- one with higher subjective well-being for men.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Stevenson, Betsey and Wolfers, Justin, The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness (May 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14969. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1405977