The Role of Family Orientations in Shaping the Effect of Fertility on Subjective Well-Being

Nicoletta Balbo, UniversitĂ  Bocconi
Bruno Arpino, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper aims to investigate whether fertility influences subjective well-being, while taking into account heterogeneity in family attitudes. We define three family orientation groups: Traditional, Mixed and Modern. Applying propensity score matching on longitudinal data (British Household Panels Survey) we show that parents are significantly more satisfied than non-parents, although only in the short-run. This effect is found to be stronger among men than among women. For men, we do not find significant differences across family orientations’ groups in how the birth of the first child affects life satisfaction. Among women, only Traditional mothers seem to be more satisfied than their childless counterparts. Women who have a second child are never more satisfied than those who have only one child, regardless of their family orientations. Traditional and Mixed men experience a gain in life satisfaction when they have a second child, but this effect is not found for Modern men.

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Presented in Session 17: Sex, Fertility, and Well-Being