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Friday, June 05, 2009

What Makes Women Happy?

I came across a post by Greg Mankiw linked to a study by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers a couple weeks back but didn't have time to post...probably sent it out as a "tweet."
The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness
By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging -- one with higher subjective well-being for men.
To me, it doesn't seem that surprising that a study would show worldly success doesn't always bring substantive happiness along with it. Even if in life, we do along with the lie.

While this study may shows that the feminists were wrong to suggest that women could find true happiness if they achieved the same success in the workforce as men, I don't think that men achieve happiness and fulfillment through material successes any more or less than women do.