Maternal Life Satisfaction and Child Outcomes: Are They Related?

43 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2009

See all articles by Eva M. Berger

Eva M. Berger

University of Mainz - Gutenberg School of Economics and Management

C. Katharina Spiess

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Date Written: November 2009

Abstract

This paper investigates the association between maternal life satisfaction and the developmental functioning of two- to three-year-old children as well as the socio-emotional behavior of five- to six-year-old children. We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), which allows us to control for a rich set of child and parental characteristics and to use the mother’s life satisfaction before the birth of her child as an instrument to eliminate potential reverse causality. The results indicate that the more satisfied the mother, the better her child’s verbal skills and the lower his or her socio-emotional problems. The relation is more pronounced for boys than for girls. The results are robust even when mothers’ personality or mothers’ cognitive skills are controlled for.

Keywords: life satisfaction, subjective well-being, mothers, children, child development, skill formation, instrumental variable

JEL Classification: J13, I22

Suggested Citation

Berger, Eva M. and Spiess, C. Katharina, Maternal Life Satisfaction and Child Outcomes: Are They Related? (November 2009). SOEPpaper No. 242. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1518423 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1518423

Eva M. Berger (Contact Author)

University of Mainz - Gutenberg School of Economics and Management ( email )

Mainz
Germany

C. Katharina Spiess

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

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