nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2023‒02‒06
two papers chosen by

  1. Child Gender and Subjective Well-being of Older Parents in China By Lei, Lei; Wu, Fengyu; Xia, Yiming
  2. Home alone: Widows' well-being and time By Maja Adena; Daniel Hamermesh; Michał Myck; Monika Oczkowska

  1. By: Lei, Lei; Wu, Fengyu; Xia, Yiming
    Abstract: In many societies, parents prefer sons over daughters, but the well-being effects of child gender, especially in later life, are less studied. Using the latest two waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), this paper evaluates the impacts of having daughters on older parents' subjective well-being (SWB) in China, which has a rapidly aging population and the traditional preference for sons. Studying the cohort of parents whose child gender is as good as random, we find that having more daughters promotes older parents' SWB, especially overall life satisfaction, satisfaction with health, and satisfaction with children. Our results suggest that the increase in SWB is achieved through better health, more financial support from daughters, more spending on leisure and a lower probability of working. The positive SWB effects of daughters are found to be more salient among more vulnerable groups, including those who are older, less educated, and with fewer children.
    Keywords: Subjective Well-being, Child Gender, Older Parents, China, Life Satisfaction, Domain Satisfaction
    JEL: I31 J14 J16
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Maja Adena (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), 10785 Berlin, Germany); Daniel Hamermesh (University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78712, USA); Michał Myck (Centre for Economic Analysis, 71441 Szczecin, Poland); Monika Oczkowska (Centre for Economic Analysis, 71441 Szczecin, Poland)
    Abstract: Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE, 2004-17) and time diaries from Poland (2013), the U.S. (2006-16), the U.K. (2014-15) and France (2009-10), we examine differences between widowed and partnered older women in well-being and its development in widowhood. Most importantly, our analysis accounts for time use, an aspect which has not been studied previously. We trace the evolution of well-being of women who become widowed by comparing them with their matched non-widowed ‘statistical twins’ and examine the role of an exceptionally broad set of potential moderators of widowhood’s impact on well-being. We confirm a dramatic decrease in mental health and life satisfaction after the loss of partner, followed by a slow partial recovery over a five-year period. An extensive set of controls recorded prior to widowhood, including detailed family ties and social networks, provides little help in explaining the deterioration in well-being. Unique data from time-diaries kept by older women in several European countries and the U.S. tell us why: the key factor behind widows’ reduced well-being is increased time spent alone.
    Keywords: widowhood; well-being; social networks; time use;
    JEL: I31 I19 J14
    Date: 2023–01–20

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