„Das Paradox der sinkenden weiblichen Glücklichkeit“

Leser Roslin macht auf eine Studie aufmerksam, in dem es um die Glücklichkeit von Frauen im Laufe der Zeit geht:

The lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years by many objective measures, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. This decline in relative wellbeing is found across various datasets, measures of subjective wellbeing, demographic groups, and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s 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. (JEL I31, J16, J28)

Quelle: The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

Die Glücklichkeit der Frauen scheint also zu sinken, jedenfalls relativ zu der der Männer.

Aus der Besprechung der Gründe:

This finding of a decline in women’s well-being relative to that of men’s well-being raises questions about whether modern social constructs have made women worse off, or, alternatively, about the interpretabil – ity of subjective well-being data analyzed over long time periods. Despite findings of higher well-being among women in countries with less gender discrimination ( Christian Bjørnskov, Axel Dreher, and Justina A. V. Fischer 2007 ) , the decrease in gender discrimination since the 1970s has not improved the ( subjectively perceived ) lot of women. Rather than immediately inferring that the women’s movement failed to improve the lot of women, we conclude with a simple taxonomy for organizing alternative explanations of this paradox.

First, there may be other important socioeconomic forces that have made women worse off. A number of important macro trends have been documented: decreased social cohesion ( Robert D. Putnam 2000 ) , increased anxiety and neuroticism ( Jean M. Twenge 2000 ) , and increased household risk ( Hacker 2006 ) . While each of these trends have impacted men and women, it is possible for even apparently gender-neu – tral trends to have gender-biased impacts if men and women respond differently to these forces. For example, if women are more risk averse than men, then an increase in risk may lower women’s utility relative to that of men.

The second possibility is that broad social shifts such as those brought on by the changing role of women in society fundamentally alter what measures of subjective well-being are capturing. Over time it is likely that women are aggregating satis – faction over an increasingly larger domain set. For example, life satisfaction may have previously meant “satisfaction at home” and has increasingly come to mean some combination of “satisfaction at home” and “satisfaction at work.” This averag – ing over many domains may lead to falling average satisfaction if it is difficult to achieve the same degree of satisfaction in multiple domains. One piece of evidence along these lines is that the correlation between happiness and marital happiness is lower for women who work compared with those who are stay at home wives, and the correlation has fallen over time for all women in our sample. Unfortunately, data limitations prevent us from fully exploring this theory. Subjective well-being data have come to be used in the psychology and economics literatures because they have been shown to be correlated with more objective measures of happiness. Yet these measures do not necessarily indicate that subjec – tive well-being measures are able to capture the positive or negative consequences of large-scale social changes over time. It has been recognized that an individu – al’s assessment of their well-being may reflect the social desirability of responses. Kahneman ( 1999 ) argues that while people in good circumstances may be hedonically better off than people in worse circumstances, they may require more to declare themselves happy. In the context of the findings presented in this paper, women may now feel more comfortable being honest about their true happiness and have deflated their previously inflated responses. Or, as in Kahneman’s example, the increased opportunities available to women may have increased what women require to declare themselves happy. And indeed, Figure 7 shows that contrary to the subjective well-being trends we document, female suicide rates have been fall – ing, even as male suicide rates have remained roughly constant through most of our sample. As such, from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, the ratio of female-to-male suicide declined. It is plausible that the happiness of those at the extreme tail that is represented by suicide may have risen, while the happiness of those at the median may have fallen. Equally, this may indicate changing responses to the well-being question for a given level of happiness. In either case, the link between reported well-being ( a subjective measure ) and suicide ( an objective measure ) has changed over time.

Finally, the changes brought about through the women’s movement may have decreased women’s happiness. The increased opportunity to succeed in many dimensions may have led to an increased likelihood of believing that one’s life is not measuring up. Similarly, women may now compare their lives to a broader group,  including men, and find their lives more likely to come up short in this assessment. Or women may simply find the complexity and increased pressure in their modern lives to have come at the cost of happiness

Also grob zusammengefasst könnte die Ausweitung der Geschlechterrollen dazu führen, dass man in mehr Punkten unzufrieden sein kann und gerade bei einer Geschlechterrolle, die sowohl Karriere als auch aktives Familienleben in gleicher Weise möglich macht das Aufspalten zwischen diesen Möglichkeiten es subjektiv leichter ein Defizit im Leben zu sehen, weil man eben beide Bereiche nicht komplett umsetzen kann.