Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 657: On Gender Inequality and Life Satisfaction: Does Discrimination Matter?

Christian Bjørnskov (), Axel Dreher () and Justina AV Fischer ()
Additional contact information
Christian Bjørnskov: Aarhus School of Business, Postal: Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics, Prismet, Silkeborgvej 2, DK – 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Axel Dreher: ETH Zurich, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, and CESifo, Postal: ETH Zurich, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, Weinbergstrasse 35, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland and , CESifo, Germany
Justina AV Fischer: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Department of Economics , Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of gender discrimination on individual life satisfaction using a cross-section of 66 countries. We employ measures of discrimination of women in the economy, in politics, and in society more generally. According to our results, discrimination in politics is important to individual well-being. Overall, men and women are more satisfied with their lives when societies become more equal. Disaggregated analysis suggests that our results for men are driven by the effect of equality on men with middle and high incomes, and those on the political left. To the contrary, women are more satisfied with increasing equality independent of income and political ideology. Equality in economic and family matters does overall not affect life satisfaction. However, women are more satisfied with their lives when discriminatory practices have been less prevalent in the economy 20 years ago.

Keywords: Gender gap; happiness; well-being; discrimination; life satisfaction

JEL-codes: I31; J16

27 pages, April 8, 2007

Note: Final version, submitted

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