A Bundle of Joy: Does Parenting Really Make Us Miserable?
Chris M. Herbst
Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Public Affairs
Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business - Economics Department
May 16, 2012
Previous research suggests that parents are less happy than non-parents. We critically assess the extant literature and reexamine the relationship between parental status and happiness using the GSS and LSS. We find that estimates of the “parental happiness gap” are sensitive to the inclusion of standard covariates, parents are becoming happier over time relative to non-parents, and non-parents' happiness is declining absolutely. These results are consistent across two datasets, apply to most sub-groups, and are robust to specification checks. Finally, we present evidence that suggests that children may inoculate parents against some social and economic forces that are reducing happiness.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: parents, happiness, life satisfaction, subjective well-being, General Social Survey (GSS), and DDB Lifestyle Survey (LSS)
JEL Classification: D60, D10
Date posted: July 12, 2011 ; Last revised: May 17, 2012