Discussion Paper Details

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Title: The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

Author(s): Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers

Publication Date: June 2009

Keyword(s): gender, happiness, job satisfaction, life satisfaction, subjective well-being and women's movement

Programme Area(s): Labour Economics and Public Economics

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.

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Bibliographic Reference

Stevenson, B and Wolfers, J. 2009. 'The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.