How does parenthood affect life satisfaction in Russia?

Malgorzata Mikucka, Université Catholique de Louvain

The literature on life satisfaction dynamics during parenthood relies largely on data from Western countries. This paper tests the generality of previous conclusions and theoretical models by confronting them with estimates from Russia. We apply fixed effects regression for panel data to the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey data from years 1994-2012. We focus on the dynamics of life satisfaction during parenthood and we investigate the moderating effect of age at first birth, income, and education. The trajectory of life satisfaction during parenthood in Russia differs from the Western one. Life satisfaction of parents does not temporarily increase in the period surrounding the first birth, but it increases during the period surrounding the second birth. Moreover, the long-term effect of parenthood on life satisfaction is positive. These results provide little support to the set-point theory of happiness, but are consistent with selection to parenthood. Planning of parenthood may be an important issue for future studies.

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Presented in Session 4: Well-being and gender attitudes