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The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

Betsey Stevenson () and Justin Wolfers ()

No 7311, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging—one with higher subjective well-being for men.

Keywords: gender; happiness; job satisfaction; life satisfaction; subjective well-being; women's movement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D6 I32 J1 J7 K1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-06
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Journal Article: The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: The paradox of declining female happiness (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness (2009) Downloads
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