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The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

Betsey Stevenson () and Justin Wolfers ()

No 4200, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

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: job satisfaction; women's movement; gender; happiness; life satisfaction; subjective well-being (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D6 I32 J1 J7 K1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap and nep-lab
Date: 2009-05
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Published in: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2009, 1(2), 190–225

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Related works:
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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