Life Events and Subjective Well-Being: The Case of Having Children

33 Pages Posted: 31 May 2014

See all articles by Peder J. Pedersen

Peder J. Pedersen

Arhus University - Centre for Labour Market and Social Research (CLS); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Torben Dall Schmidt

University of Southern Denmark

Abstract

The literature on Happiness and Subjective Well-Being (SWB) has been dominated by studies of the impact from income and labour market status - and the impact on happiness from changes in these determinants. It seems obvious to expect an impact from non-economic factors as well. In the present paper we focus on the eventual impact on SWB from having children. The dominant result in the rather few studies until now is the finding of no – or even a negative – impact on subjective well being following birth of a child. We focus on the impact from having children using two very big panel data sets.The first is the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) with data collected over 8 annual waves from 1994 to 2001 in 15 EU member countries. Observations are available for up to 15 countries with big differences in fertility levels, child care institutions and labour force participation for married women. At the same time, the ECHP data contains a lot of relevant demographic and labour market background variables to be included in the econometric analyses of the SWB impact from children. The second data set is The German Socio Economic Panel (GSOEP). Like the ECHP, the GSOEP data contains many relevant background factors. This presents a unique opportunity to combine the cross country perspective in the ECHP data with the possibility presented by the GSOEP of following the impact from giving birth over a significantly longer period including approximately 11.000 households.

Keywords: subjective well-being, life events, panel data

JEL Classification: D1, I31, J13

Suggested Citation

Pedersen, Peder J. and Schmidt, Torben Dall, Life Events and Subjective Well-Being: The Case of Having Children. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8207. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2444071

Peder J. Pedersen (Contact Author)

Arhus University - Centre for Labour Market and Social Research (CLS) ( email )

DK-8000 Aarhus
Denmark
+45 8942 1581 (Phone)
+45 8613 6334 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Torben Dall Schmidt

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

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