Predicted Happiness from Childbearing and Fertility Behaviour

Arnstein Aassve, Università Bocconi
Anna Barbuscia, Collegio Carlo Alberto
Letizia Mencarini, Università degli Studi di Torino and Collegio Carlo Alberto

Using longitudinal data from the Generations and Gender Surveys (for Bulgaria, France and Italy) we study the determinants of predicted happiness associated with childbearing and then its role for explaining realized childbearing. “Expected happiness” as declared by individuals, is indeed a powerful predictor of their fertility behavior. Those who expect to be happier from childbearing have a much higher probability of having a child within the next three years. But the results also show strong gender and country differences in the level of expected happiness and its effect on fertility behavior. For instance, in Italy individuals tend to have high expectations about the effects of childbearing, whereas realized fertility is low. Differently from recent papers considering happiness and fertility, in the GGS the question about happiness is specific with respect to childbearing. This allows us to overcome the main problems of considering overall measures of happiness.

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Presented in Session 217: Happiness, Parenting, and Childbearing