Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 2139–2166 | Cite as

The Relationship Between the Gender Gap in Subjective Well-Being and Leisure Activities in China

  • Dong Zhou
  • Langchuan PengEmail author
Research Paper


This study explains the observed gender gap in subjective well-being (SWB) in China using heterogeneous marginal utility derived from leisure hours. We find that women in China exhibit higher levels of well-being than men and that there is a conditional unexplained gender gap in SWB ranging between 0.15 and 0.17. This conditional gap can be partly (30–40%) explained by the gender difference in the marginal utility of leisure hours. Meanwhile, we find a strong negative effect of hours spent on housework. These findings are robust to a variety of model specifications and subsamples.


Gender subjective well-being gap Leisure activities Happiness Life satisfaction 



We thank two anonymous referees and the editor for their valuable suggestions. We are incredibly grateful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71703100) and Research Fund of Ministry of Education of China (17YJCZH267) for financial support. Also, this project is sponsored by the Shanghai Pujiang Elite Program(16PJC060). In addition, this research also received funding from Shanghai Jiao Tong University's USC-SJTU Institute of Cultural and Creative Industry, and from Zizhu National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, via the Zizhu New Media Management Research Center. The data are from China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), funded by 985 Program of Peking University and carried out by the Institute of Social Science Survey of Peking University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cultural Industry and ManagementShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Economics and FinanceNanjing Audit UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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