The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

49 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2009

See all articles by Betsey Stevenson

Betsey Stevenson

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Justin Wolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; The University of Sydney - Discipline of Economics; Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program; Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords: subjective well-being, life satisfaction, happiness, gender, job satisfaction, women's movement

JEL Classification: D6, I32, J1, J7, K1

Suggested Citation

Stevenson, Betsey and Wolfers, Justin, The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4200. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1412278

Betsey Stevenson (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Justin Wolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States
734-764-2447 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

735 South State Street, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-6846 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

The University of Sydney - Discipline of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box H58
Australia Square
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=1737

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/researchers/details/rschcontact.asp?IDENT=157943

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

P.O. Box 4309
Kiel, D-24100
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
135
Abstract Views
1,655
rank
45,763
PlumX Metrics