50 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2009
Date Written: June 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 emergingone with higher subjective well-being for men.
Keywords: gender, happiness, job satisfaction, life satisfaction, subjective well-being, women's movement
JEL Classification: D6, I32, J1, J7, K1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Stevenson, Betsey and Wolfers, Justin, The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness (June 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7311. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1433907
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