Children, Unhappiness and Family Finances

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May 2020
Paper author(s): 
David G. Blanchflower
Andrew E. Clark
Education - Health
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness

The common finding of a zero or negative correlation between the presence of children and parental well-being continues to generate research interest. We here consider international data, including well over one million observations on Europeans from eleven years of Eurobarometer surveys, and in the first instance replicate this negative finding, both in the overall data and then for most different marital statuses. Children are expensive: controlling for financial difficulties turns our estimated child coefficients positive. We argue that difficulties paying the bills explains the pattern of existing results by parental education and income, and country income and social support. Last, we underline that not all children are the same, with stepchildren commonly having a more negative correlation than children from the current relationship.


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