Economics at your fingertips  

The Parenthood and Happiness Link: Testing Predictions from Five Theories

Małgorzata Mikucka () and Ester Rizzi
Additional contact information
Małgorzata Mikucka: Université Catholique de Louvain
Ester Rizzi: Université Catholique de Louvain

European Journal of Population, 2020, vol. 36, issue 2, No 7, 337-361

Abstract: Abstract This research studied the relationship between parenthood and life satisfaction in Switzerland. We tested predictions derived from set-point theory, the economic model of parenthood, the approaches that underscore work–family conflict and the psychological rewards from parenthood, and the ‘taste for children’ theory. We used Swiss Household Panel data (2000–2018) to analyse how life satisfaction changed during parenthood (fixed-effects regression) separately for a first child and a second child, mothers and fathers, and various socio-demographic groups. Our results showed that having a second child, which is common in Switzerland, correlates negatively with mothers’ life satisfaction. The observed patterns are consistent with the idea that mothers’ life satisfaction trajectories reflect work–family conflict. We found partial support for the set-point and the ‘taste for children’ theories. Our results did not support the approaches that emphasize the importance of psychological rewards from parenthood.

Keywords: Parenthood; Fertility; Life satisfaction; Fixed-effects analysis; Set-point theory; Work–family conflict; Costs of parenthood; Taste for children (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1007/s10680-019-09532-1

Access Statistics for this article

European Journal of Population is currently edited by Helga A.G. de Valk

More articles in European Journal of Population from Springer, European Association for Population Studies
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla ().

Page updated 2020-05-09
Handle: RePEc:spr:eurpop:v:36:y:2020:i:2:d:10.1007_s10680-019-09532-1