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The female happiness paradox

David Blanchflower and Alex Bryson

Journal of Population Economics, 2024, vol. 37, issue 1, No 16, 27 pages

Abstract: Abstract Using data across countries and over time, we show that women have worse mental health than men in negative affect equations, irrespective of the measure used — anxiety, depression, fearfulness, sadness, loneliness, anger — and they have more days with bad mental health and more restless sleep. Women are also less satisfied with many aspects of their lives, such as democracy, the economy, the state of education, and health services. They are also less satisfied in the moment in terms of peace and calm, cheerfulness, feeling active, vigorous, fresh, and rested. However, prior evidence on gender differences in happiness and life satisfaction is less clear cut. Differences vary over time, location, and with model specification and the inclusion of controls, especially marital status. We now find strong evidence that males have higher levels of both happiness and life satisfaction in recent years even before the onset of the pandemic. As in the past, women continue to have worse mental health. A detailed analysis of several data files, with various metrics, for the UK confirms that men now are happier than women and the size of the effect is not trivial.

Keywords: Happiness; Subjective wellbeing; Life satisfaction; Gender; J16; I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2024
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Working Paper: The Female Happiness Paradox (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: The Female Happiness Paradox (2022) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-024-00981-5

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