Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 107–124 | Cite as

Gender Inequality in Europe and the Life Satisfaction of Working and Non-working Women

  • Cem BaşleventEmail author
  • Hasan Kirmanoğlu
Research Paper


Empirical analysis of data drawn from the European Social Survey reveals that—after individual characteristics are controlled for—women engaging in market work and housework have similar life satisfaction levels. Complementing the micro-level data from the survey with country-level variables, namely GDP per capita and gender inequality (measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, GGGI), we estimate a multilevel regression model to shed light on the contextual factors of the life satisfaction of women in Europe. We find that working women’s well-being relative to housewives is greater in countries where the GGGI indicates a smaller gender gap, i.e. where women are in a better position in terms of equality with men in the public domains. We interpret this finding to mean that the so-called ‘paradox of declining female happiness’ is in part due to persistent gender roles which appear to have a larger impact on the well-being of working women.


Gender inequality Life satisfaction European Social Survey Global Gender Gap Index Multilevel regression 

JEL Classification

C25 I31 J16 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsIstanbul Bilgi UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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