Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality
- 2.5k Downloads
Although most surveys of happiness and general life satisfaction find only small differences between men and women, women report slightly higher subjective well-being than men in some countries, and slightly lower subjective well-being in others. The present study investigates the social and cultural conditions that favor higher female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction. Results from more than 90 countries represented in the World Values Survey show that conditions associated with a high level of female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction include a high proportion of Muslims in the country, a low proportion of Catholics, and absence of communist history. Among indicators of gender equality, a low rate of female non-agricultural employment is associated with higher female-versus-male happiness and satisfaction. Differences in the rate of female non-agricultural employment explain part of the effects of communist history and prevailing religion. They may also explain the recent observation of declining female life satisfaction in the United States.
KeywordsHappiness Life satisfaction Women Gender equality World Values Survey
- Arrosa, M. L. & Gandelman, N. (2013). Happiness decomposition: Female optimism. Working Paper JEL: I31, J16, D03.Google Scholar
- Blau, F. D. (1998). Trends in the well-being of American women, 1970–1995. Journal of Economic Literature, 36, 112–165.Google Scholar
- Booth, A. L., & van Ours, J. C. (2010). Part-time jobs: What women want? IZA Discussion Papers, #4686.Google Scholar
- Cingranelli, D. L., Richards, D. L., & Clay, K. C. (2013). The Cingranelli-Richards Human Rights Dataset; http://www.humanrightsdata.org/.
- Eff, E. A. (2004). Spatial and cultural autocorrelation in international datasets. Department of Economics and Finance Working Paper Series, available at http://www.mtsu.edu/~berc/working/spatial%20autocorrelation%20z.pdf.
- Ellis, L., & Ratnasingam, M. (2012). Gender, sexual orientation, and occupational interests: Evidence of androgen influences. Mankind Quarterly, 53, 36–80.Google Scholar
- Gash, V., Mertens, A., & Gordo, L. R. (2010). Women between part-time and full-time work: The influence of changing hours of work on happiness and life satisfaction. SOEP Papers on Multidisciplinary Panel Research, available at http://www.diw.de/soeppapers.
- Heston, A., Summers, R. & Aten, B. (2011). Penn World Table version 4.0. Center for International Comparisons of Production, Income and Prices at the University of Pennsylvania 2009, Accessed July 15, 2011 at http://pwt.econ.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt63/pwt63_retrieve.php.
- Inglehart, R., Basáñez, M., Díez-Medrano, J., Halman, L., & Luijkx, R. (2004). Human beliefs and values. A cross-cultural sourcebook based on the 1999–2002 values surveys. México: Siglo XXI Editores.Google Scholar
- Lynn, R., & Vanhanen, T. (2012). Intelligence. A unifying construct for the social sciences. London: Ulster Institute.Google Scholar
- Meisenberg, G. (2004). Talent, character, and the dimensions of national culture. Mankind Quarterly, 45, 123–168.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2009). Gender, Institutions and Development Database; http://www.oecd.org/dev/genderinstitutionsanddevelopmentdatabase.htm.
- Pakaluk, C. & Burke, J. A. (2010). The new battle of the sexes: understanding the reversal of the happiness gender gap. Dept. of Economics, Ave Maria University Working Papers 1004, retrieved 25 Jan. 2014 from http://mysite.avemaria.edu/RePEc/working-papers/WP1004-Pakaluk-New-Battle-of-Sexes.pdf.
- Ross, G. A. (2011). The impact of church attendance on the decline in female happiness in the United States. Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, 7(1).Google Scholar
- Spiro, M. (1979). Gender and culture: Kibbutz women revisited. Durham (NC): Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Tiger, L., & Shepher, J. (1975). Women in the Kibbutz. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
- Vieira Lima, S. (2011). A cross-country investigation of the determinants of the happiness gender gap. Downloaded Jan. 14, 2014 from: http://www.happinesseconomics.net/ocs/index.php/heirs/markethappiness/paper/view/345/191.
- Willson, J., & Dickerson, A. (2010). Part time employment and happiness: a cross-country analysis. Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series, #2010021, available at: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/42726/1/SERPS2010021.pdf.