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Unlocking the black box of life satisfaction surrounding childbearing

Arnstein Aassve, Francesca Luppi and Letizia Mencarini ()

No 120, Working Papers from "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

Abstract: The vast majority of studies looking into the relationship between childbearing and subjective well-being uses overall measures where respondents either report their general level of happiness or their life satisfaction, leaving substantial doubt about the underlying mechanisms. However, life satisfaction and happiness are intuitively multidimensional concepts, simply because there cannot be only one aspect that affects individuals' well-being. In this study, by considering seventeen specific life satisfaction domains, these features come out very clearly. Whereas all the domains considered matter for the overall life satisfaction, only three of them, namely satisfaction with leisure, health and satisfaction with the partnership, change dramatically surrounding childbearing events. Even though we cannot generalize (since these results stems from one particular panel survey, i.e. Household In-come and Labour Dynamics in Australia data), it appears that the typical anticipation and post-child decrease of life satisfaction, so often found in existing studies, stem from changes in these three domains.

Keywords: life satisfaction; domains of satisfaction; childbearing; longitudinal analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2018-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap
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