The Happiness–Parenthood Link in a Context of Limited State Support: The Case of Switzerland

Ester Rizzi and Małgorzata Mikucka

Nº 2015-03



How to cite this article :

Rizzi, E. & Mikucka, M. (2014). The Happiness–Parenthood Link in a Context of Limited State Support: The Case of Switzerland. FORS Working Paper Series, paper 2015-3. Lausanne: FORS.

Keywords :

parenthood ; fertility ; life satisfaction; happiness ; fixed-effects analysis

Abstract :

To ascertain the effect of different institutional settings on the happiness-parenthood link, new studies examining various national contexts are needed. The current research extends previous analyses of the consequences of parenthood for life satisfaction by considering a new set of panel data, that is, the Swiss Household Panel. Our aim is to ascertain to what extent previous results are generalizable to a new context characterized by low state support for families. We use fixed effects models controlling for unobserved heterogeneity to analyze changes in life satisfaction for both mothers and fathers. If our findings are overall consistent with previous studies, specific features of the Swiss context emerge: (i) the absence of a peak of happiness for women at the birth of the second child, (ii) the important decline in happiness in subsequent years, and (iii), already at the birth of the first child, a stronger and significant decline in happiness of more educated women compared to less educated. We interpret our results in the light of the low level of state support for families in Switzerland and the role played by state policies.


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