Parenthood and the distribution of intra-household inequalities in wellbeing

JournalThe Journal of Economic Inequality
AuthorsSiobhan Austen, Jaslin Kalsi, Astghik Mavisakalyan
PublishedMarch 2023
PublisherSpringer Link
Number of Pages36
Research ThemesGender and Diversity

While there is a large body of literature on the effects of parenthood on wellbeing, an intra-household perspective has, thus far, been limited.

This is an important research gap given that the experience of raising children is typically associated with interdependencies between mothers and fathers.

Taking an intra-household approach, this study generates new insights into the complex puzzle of the impacts of parenthood on wellbeing drawing on longitudinal data of Australian mixed-sex couple households.

We identify how subjective wellbeing (SWB) changes with the number of children a couple has and the presence of a newborn child, and whether these changes in SWB are gendered.

We also examine the pattern of these changes, accounting for anticipation and adaptation effects associated with parenthood.

The results reveal mostly negative associations between parenthood and wellbeing, but the distribution of these effects is not always equal within households.

In particular, the negative consequences of having more than one child appear to be more pronounced for women compared to men.

We establish that this gendered effect is likely due to relatively large time conflicts experienced by mothers in these situations.