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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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).
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): https://www.idea.int/data-tools/data/voter-turnout (retrieved on the 31st of January 2022).
Average treatment effects on the treated
Caucasus Research Resource Center
Gross Domestic Product
Former Soviet Union
International Labor Organization
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United States of America
World Development Indicators
World Values Survey
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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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-022-00590-7