Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 915–952 | Cite as

Does income moderate the satisfaction of becoming a parent? In Germany it does and depends on education

  • Marco Le Moglie
  • Letizia MencariniEmail author
  • Chiara Rapallini
Original Paper


We investigate the role of individual labor income as a moderator of parental subjective well-being trajectories before and after the birth of the first child in Germany. Analyzing the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP), we found that income matters negatively for parental life satisfaction after the first birth, though with important differences by education and gender. In particular, among better educated parents, those with higher income experience a steeper decrease in their subjective well-being. Income is measured as the average of individual labor income within 3 years before the birth. We provide evidence that our results are robust to potential endogeneity between income and first childbirth using the individual labor income at 3 years from the event, and for an alternative measure, i.e. the equivalent household income. Results are discussed in terms of different aspirations and difficulties parents may experience, especially in terms of work and family balance.


First child Subjective well-being Individual income Education Germany 

JEL Classification

J1 J13 D1 I31 



The authors thank the two anonymous referees for their comments and helpful suggestions.

Funding information

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council, under the European ERC Grant Agreement no. StG-313617 (SWELL-FER: Subjective Well-being and Fertility).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public PolicyBocconi UniversityMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Management (DISEI)University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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