Judit Kalman

Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Institute of Economics

Judit Kalman

How well they cope? Gender Differences in Effects of Labor Market Status and Education on Subjective Well-Being across European welfare states - before and after the crisis

In high-income countries, women report a higher level of life satisfaction than men on average, but score lower on  short-term positive and negative emotions  and suffer from higher levels of depression - and the picture gets complicated with age, life cycle,employment, income, family status etc. This positive gender gap in subjective life satisfaction is a puzzle,as women would have several objective reasons to be less satisfied with their life and their professional situation through persistent disadvantages in the labour market (lower wages,more part-time, glass-ceiling), access to education, access to power etc.  Moreover ample evidence exist about  the strong role of institutions, norms, social context and thus spatial/country  or region-specific differences in terms of how objective aspects of wellbeing are perceived subjectively . E.g. OECD 2015 states that, as well as having low levels of income inequality Nordic countries tend to have much smaller differences in quality of life outcomes – including gender and age-related differences .

This  research will investigate what determines gender differences in subjective well-being across old and new EU member states and also across different welfare regimes.  One goal  is to estimate individual specific effects of labor market status, education level , family status/parenthood , household structure, work-life balance, household distribution of tasks over perceptions of their own well-being as well as trying to identify differences before and after the crisis. However, the major focus of this research  is to check whether country-specificities in some macroeconomic factors and institutional arrangements( labor market/unemployment benefit, maternity leave, child care  and social policy schemes) have any effect on gender aspects of subjective well-being - thereby allowing a comparison of not only countries belonging to Western and Eastern Europe (EU15 vs EU12) but also along different welfare state regimes in EU  (expanded Esping-Andersen typology etc.) of Nordic, Continental EU, Southern EU, Anglo-Saxon and CEE countries.

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