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Employment Versus Home-Stay and the Happiness of Women in the South Caucasus


Modern women often face an uneasy choice: dedicating their time to reproductive household work or joining the workforce and spending time away from home and household duties. Both choices are associated with benefits, as well as non-trivial costs, and necessarily involve some trade-offs, influencing the general feeling of happiness women experience given their decision. The trade-offs are especially pronounced in traditional developing countries, where both the pressure for women to stay at home and the need to earn additional income are strong, making the choice even more controversial. To understand the implications of this choice on the happiness of women in these types of countries we compare housewives and working women of the South Caucasus region. The rich data collected annually by the Caucasus Research Resource Center allows us to match working women with their housewife counterparts and to compare the level of happiness across the two groups—separately for each country as well as for Armenian and Azerbaijani minorities residing in Georgia. We find a significant negative happiness gap for working women in Armenia and in Azerbaijan, but not in Georgia. The absence of such a gap among the Armenian and Azerbaijani minorities of Georgia indicates that the gap is mostly a country-rather than an ethnicity-specific effect.

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Data Availability

Data and coding (in STATA) associated with the manuscript are available from the authors upon request.


  1. Unlike Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia is an ethnically diverse country: it is home to several ethnic minorities. The two largest minority groups are Armenians and Azerbaijanis. According to the 2014 Census, 5% of the Georgian population were ethnic Armenians and 6% were ethnic Azerbaijanis (GEOSTAT, 2016).

  2. All models are estimated using Stata 16. For detailed introductions to propensity score matching, see Smith (1997). For additional technical details about estimation, see Becker and Ichino (2002).

  3. For comparison, while more than 70 percent of Armenians and Azerbaijanis voted in national elections, the corresponding average participation in voting in EU countries was around 63 percent, and in the six post-Soviet countries included in our descriptive analysis (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) was less than 60 percent. Authors’ calculations based on data collected by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA): (retrieved on the 31st of January 2022).



Average treatment effects on the treated


Caucasus Barometer


Caucasus Research Resource Center


Gross Domestic Product


European Union


Former Soviet Union


International Labor Organization


South Caucasus


Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


United States of America


World Development Indicators


World Values Survey


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Both authors contributed to the study conception, design, and implementation.

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Correspondence to Karine Torosyan.

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See Tables

Table 14 Names and definition of variables used for matching


Table 15 Probability of being a working woman, Armenia


Table 16 Correlation matrix for explanatory variables, Armenia


Table 17 Probability of being a working woman, Azerbaijan


Table 18 Correlation matrix for explanatory variables, Azerbaijan


Table 19 Probability of being a working woman, Georgia


Table 20 Correlation matrix for explanatory variables, Georgia


Table 21 Probability of being a working woman, Georgian ethnicity in Georgia


Table 22 Correlation matrix for explanatory variables, Georgian ethnicity in Georgia


Table 23 Probability of being a working woman, Armenian ethnicity in Georgia


Table 24 Correlation matrix for explanatory variables, Armenian ethnicity in Georgia


Table 25 Probability of being a working woman, Azerbaijanian ethnicity in Georgia

25 and

Table 26 Correlation matrix for explanatory variables, Azerbaijanian ethnicity in Georgia


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Torosyan, K., Pignatti, N. Employment Versus Home-Stay and the Happiness of Women in the South Caucasus. J Happiness Stud 23, 4027–4071 (2022).

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