2009 May 31 Sunday
Women In America Less Happy Than In 1970s

Feminism doesn't appear to be helping women lead happier lives. In an NBER working paper Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers find that men are becoming happier than women as female happiness declines.

By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically 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.

One cause of this trend: the better educated and more successful a woman becomes the higher her standards for an acceptable guy. That shrinks her pool of potential mates while not shrinking the pool of potential mates for high status guys. So high status guys have more to choose from. The woman's high income makes her more alone. Her pursuit of a career makes her delay marriage until her value on the dating market goes down.

Because we pretend that assorted double standards between the sexes aren't natural consequences of our different natures we try to live and act in ways incompatible with our natures. Hence the unhappiness. Another possible cause of this greater female unhappiness: does the welfare state create more cads?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 May 31 02:35 PM  Human Nature


Comments
Grim said at May 31, 2009 3:37 PM:

The other problem women face are they are only attracted to men that are better than them. With the devaluation of men very few men meet this criteria. Thus leading to a lot of unhappiness.

James Bowery said at June 1, 2009 7:34 AM:

Polygyny is more prevalent the closer you get the Subsaharan Africa due to greater female independence in food and shelter acquisition. As we've mechanized agriculture in temperate climates, men have become less essential to civilization -- at least as long as women can maintain the machinery and the nonrenewables don't run out. Hence, we're gradually Africanizing with a probable impending collapse as Malthus weighs in, unless inventive AIs can be brought online to maintain the machinery for women and the African alphas. I suppose there is always the eunuch option with a bit of genetic engineering to make the men who aren't African alphas into willing subbies. There does seem to be a trend in that direction.


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