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Does parenthood increase happiness? Evidence for Poland

Anna Baranowska-Rataj () and Anna Matysiak ()

Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 2011, vol. 9, issue 1, 307-325

Abstract: In the recent decade demographers turned their attention to investigating the effects of children on self-rated happiness or life satisfaction. The underlying idea of this strand of research is to find out whether it pays off for individuals to become parents in terms of their subjective well-being, given the costs of having children. Following this line of research, this article studies the impacts of childbearing on individual-level happiness in Poland; a country which experienced a rapid decline in fertility despite the particularly strong attachment of young Poles to family values. To this end, we applied methods for panel data analysis which allowed us to control for endogeneity of subjective well-being and parenthood. Our results reveal a significantly positive effect of the first child on the subjective well-being of mothers. For men, this impact is weaker and most likely temporary since it weakens with the child's increasing age. An important finding is that neither for men nor for women does the positive impact of parenthood rise with an increase in parity. This may explain the persistence of low fertility in this country.

Date: 2011
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