Latest Event Updates

Parents’ subjective well-being after their first child and declining fertility expectations

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By Francesca Luppi and Letizia Mencarini, out in Demographic Research


Background: Recent studies have suggested a decline in subjective well-being after the birth of a first child. Yet parents’ subjective well-being is, in general, linked positively to wanting and to having additional children.

Objective: The paper addresses the question of whether new parents’ satisfaction with their overall life and several specific life spheres modifies their expectations about having a second, or further, child.

Methods: Relying on twelve waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia panel survey (2001–2012), we apply piecewise growth models to a sample of individuals in couples who experience parenthood for the first time. We model, separately by gender, the relationship between satisfaction in seventeen life domains, overall life satisfaction, and fertility expectations during the first three years following the birth of a first child.

Results: Results suggest that a decline in new parents’ life satisfaction, overall and in different life domains, is associated with a significant decline in fertility expectations. The most important domains are family, social relationship, and work, although with differences by gender. In fact, mothers’ fertility expectations are positively associated with their satisfaction with career prospects and with their work–family balance, whereas, for fathers, fertility expectations are positively associated with their financial situation.

Contribution: Our study provides strong evidence that several life domains – and new parents’ changes in satisfaction with regard to them – are important in elucidating the mechanism linking fertility expectations and the first child.

Read the paper here.


Life satisfaction favors reproduction. The universal positive effect of life satisfaction on childbearing in contemporary low fertility countries

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by Letizia Mencarini, Daniele Vignoli, Tugba Zeydanli, Jungho Kim out in PlosOne

Abstract. Do people with higher life satisfaction have more children? Having children requires considerable energy and investment on the part of parents. However, even in countries where contraceptives are easily available and widely used, where having children is optional and most of time the result of an intended action, parenthood has not gone “out of fashion”. This paper tests the hypothesis that higher life satisfaction fosters reproductive behavior. We argue that people satisfied with their overall life feel better prepared to start the monumental task of childrearing. If, it is suggested, life satisfaction facilitates fertility, then this positive link should be observable in contemporary low fertility societies. The hypothesis is tested by taking overall life satisfaction as a determinant of fertility behavior using long longitudinal data available for developed countries: namely for Australia, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We find that higher levels of subjective well-being are, indeed, associated with a higher probability of having children in all the countries considered. We, therefore, conclude that life satisfaction favors reproduction, at least in low fertility.

Read the paper here

“Fertility and Life Satisfaction in Rural Ethiopia”. New SWELLFER’s paper published in Demography

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Abstract. Despite recent strong interest in the link between fertility and subjective well-being, the focus has centered on developed countries. For poorer countries, in contrast, the relationship remains rather elusive. Using a well-established panel survey—the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (ERHS)—we investigate the empirical relationship between fertility and life satisfaction in rural Ethiopia, the largest landlocked country in Africa. Consistent with the fertility theories for developing countries and with the sociodemographic characteristics of rural Ethiopia, we hypothesize that this relationship varies by gender and across life stages, being more positive for men and for parents in old age. Indeed, our results suggest that older men benefit the most in terms of life satisfaction from having a large number of children, while the recent birth of a child is detrimental for the subjective well-being of women at reproductive ages. We address endogeneity issues by using lagged life satisfaction in ordinary least squares regressions, through fixed-effects estimation and the use of instrumental variables.

See Conzo, Fuochi and Mencarini’s paper out in Demography


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The first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being. Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. In June 2016 the OECD committed itself “to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts”. In February 2017, the United Arab Emirates held a full-day World Happiness meeting, as part of the World Government Summit. Now on World Happiness Day, March 20th, we launch the World Happiness Report 2017, once again back at the United Nations, again published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and now supported by a generous three-year grant from the Ernesto Illy Foundation. Some highlights are as follows.

Read more:



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The Italian Society of Public Economics announces its XXIX Annual Conference, to be held in Catania, Italy, September 21st and 22nd, 2017 on the topic:

Public Economics and Behavioural Economics

For more info see here

Papers on issues that do not fall within the main topic of the Conference will also be considered for submission. A first draft of the paper must be submitted before June, 10th 2017 through the following link:
Submitted papers should include abstract, JEL codes and keywords.

ECSR conference 2017 – Milan (IT) – Call for papers

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The European Consortium for Sociological Research (ECSR), together with the Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy at Bocconi University, are happy to announce that the next three-day conference is to be held in Milan, Italy from August 31st to September 2nd, 2017.

The ECSR 2017 conference theme is ”Institutions, Inequality and Social Dynamics”. This theme will receive special attention, but as always, we welcome presentations on all relevant areas of sociological research, such as the labour market, work and employment, education, family sociology, migration and integration, political sociology, health and well-being, social inequalities. We also welcome contributions concerning sociological aspects of governance, business, family firms and gender. Confirmed keynote speakers are: Mario Amore Department. of Management and Technology, Bocconi University Annette Eva Fasang WZB Berlin Social Science Center Markus Gangl Department of Social Sciences, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main Torkild Hovde Lyngstad Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo Ross Macmillan Dondena Centre, Bocconi University Hadas Mandel Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel-Aviv University Melinda Mills Nuffield College, University of Oxford You can now submit your abstract at by email to

The deadline is April 1st Authors are asked to submit both:

1. A short abstract (250 words).

2. Either an extended abstract in PDF (2-4 pages, including tables) or a completed paper in PDF. Extended abstracts must be sufficiently detailed to allow the organizers to judge the merits of the paper, including a description of the topic to be studied, the theoretical focus, the data and research methods, and the findings. The extended abstract or paper should include: names, email addresses, and institutions of all authors, title, up to five key words. Your email should include: 1. Name, email address, and institution of the corresponding author in the body of the email. 2. Names and email addresses of all other authors. 3. Plain text version of the short abstract, in the body of the email (ie copy/past into email). 4. Paper or extended abstract as PDF as an attachment – submission without a PDF or with other formats will be send back.

Research suggests women are happier than men, but is this right?

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One common yet counterintuitive finding in the life satisfaction literature is that women on average report higher life satisfaction than men, even though they’re worse off in many measurable ways. This finding raises the question: are women actually happier than men, or are they just reporting that they’re happier?

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15th Meeting of the European Network for the Sociological and Demographic Study of Divorce

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The Research Centre for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (CLLS) will be hosting the 15th  Meeting of the European Network for the Sociological and Demographic Study of Divorce. The conference will take place in Antwerp, Belgium on 5th-7th October.

The conference organizers invite papers on the causes, procedures and consequences of union dissolution. We encourage research from sociological, psychological, economic, demographic, legal and other perspectives on these topics. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome. The format of the conference will be similar to previous meetings with regular paper sessions and plenty of time for discussion.

The conference will start on the morning of the 5th, and ends on the afternoon of the 7th. The conference venue is located in the heart of Antwerp, close to public transport and hotels. There is no conference fee. Participants will cover their own travel and lodging expenses.

Please submit your abstract (300 words) via the conference website by 1st May. Abstracts will be evaluated, and notifications sent out by the end of May. Full papers should be uploaded at least three weeks before the meeting.

Please forward this e-mail to colleagues who might be interested in presenting their work at the conference. More information concerning the meeting can be found on the conference website or by mail:

We look forward to meeting you in Antwerp.

Conference website:
Website of the European Network:
Website CLLS:

“Workshop on Subjective Well-Being and Demography” at PAA – Call for papers

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Workshop on Subjective Well-being and Demography – Integrating Subjective Well-being in the demographic research agenda
Side meeting at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA)

Chicago, United States, 26 April 2017: 1:00 PM-6:00 PM

Organized by the IUSSP Panel on Subjective Well-being and Demographic Events

Deadline for submissions: 1 March 2017.

The workshop will take place from 1 to 6 pm on the afternoon before the PAA Welcome Mixer (Wednesday, April 26, 2017).


With the ever increasing research interest in subjective well-being, also in demography, the purpose of the workshop is to establish a forum for academics to present their papers on subjective wellbeing and demographic processes. Priority will be given to papers that are not otherwise presented at the PAA conference. The workshop will take a broad and inclusive perspective. We welcome papers and research ideas/projects that consider subjective wellbeing either as a driver or an outcome, comparative or longitudinal (or both), developing or developed countries, and also papers of a more methodological nature (both in terms of statistical analysis, measurement and theory).

The workshop provides on opportunity for presentation of 6/7 research papers within the topics listed above.

The session will conclude with a round-table discussion organized by the IUSSP Panel.

You may submit a paper for consideration by the Programme Committee by Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at:


For further information, please contact Letizia Mencarini:

General information about the PAA Annual Meeting is available at:


IUSSP Scientific Panel on Subjective Well-being and Demographic Events:
Chair: Letizia Mencarini – Bocconi University;
Members: Arnstein Aassve – Bocconi University; Thomas Hansen – NOVA – Norwegian Social Research; Hans-Peter Kohler – University of Pennyslvania Population Studies Center; Rachel Margolis – University of Western Ontario; Anna Matysiak – Vienna Institute of Demography.

Call for Papers HEIRS Conference – 10-11 April 2017

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April 10th and 11th 2017 the Conference “Prizes and Virtues: an interdisciplinary workshop” will be held at the LUMSA University in Rome.

More information about the workshop, organized by HEIRS (Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations), are available at the following link:

Deadline for submissions of extended abstracts (max 1000 words) is February 15th 2017 (acceptance date: February 25th 2017) to:

Call for papers: European Happiness Days, March 20-22, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Starting on the official UN International Day of Happiness, the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation will organize the European Happiness Days at the Erasmus University Rotterdam from Monday March 20 until Wednesday March 22, 2017. Central theme will be: The Value of Happiness: A World To Win. On the first two days (Monday and Tuesday) the subtheme will be The Happy Economy, on the third day (Wednesday) this will be The Good Economy. The European Happiness Days will be organized by the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation (EHERO) to celebrate both its 1st lustrum and the 1st lustrum of the UN International Day of Happiness.

Aim of the European Happiness Days is to bring together an international group of researchers, policy makers and business leaders with an interest in happiness economics to present and discuss research findings as well as share experiences from the field. Confirmed keynote speakers are Professor Ruut Veenhoven, Professor Erik Angner and Happiness Ambassador and editor of the World Book of Happiness Leo Bormans. After the plenary speeches in the morning, in the afternoon sessions and workshops will be organized around three subjects:

–    Happiness and Organizations (business)

–    Happiness and Lifestyles (individuals)

–    Happiness and Policies (governance)

For the parallel sessions, we seek academic papers offering conceptual and empirical insights into happiness from an interdisciplinary point (economics, psychology, sociology, health studies, management, etc.) of view. Key themes include (but are not limited to):

–    Employment, unemployment and happiness

–    Happiness and firm performance

–    Urban and rural differences in happiness

–    Happiness and economic and political crises

–    Consumption, income and happiness

–    Leisure and happiness

–    Health and happiness

–    Quality of governance and happiness

–    Education and happiness

–    Family, children and happiness

–    Happiness and migration

–    Happiness economics and behavioral economics

–    Ethics and happiness

–    Eudemonic happiness

–    Environmental quality, sustainability and happiness

–    Circular economy

–    Experimental research on happiness

–    Measurement of happiness

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to by February 9. Participants will be notified of acceptance by February 16th; after which they need to register via the conference website ( which will be online soon. The Conference registration fees are applicable to all participants, except keynote speakers and invited participants.

Old and new families workshop

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“Old Families and new families facing the new century’s challenges” will be held in Padua, on the 15-16th December 2016, at the Department of Statistical Sciences of the Univeristy of Padua (Aula Benvenuti).


What stops parents from having a second child?

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by Francesca Luppi on N-IUSSP

Parents of one child are commonly confronted by the first child’s persistent pleas for a little brother or sister. However, they might be skeptical about satisfying their child’s request because they know from experience how easily childbearing can turn their well-balanced daily life upside-down. Childbearing can be far less joyful than one might imagine before experiencing it, as witnessed by the decline in parents’ – and especially mothers’ – happiness and life satisfaction shortly after the birth of the first child (Kohler and Mencarini, 2016). The first child is the proving ground of parenthood: prospective parents’ expectations about how life will change with the arrival of a child do not often match the reality of experience after the birth (Craig and Siminski, 2010). Tiredness due to sleepless nights and to the infant’s relentless needs are among the causes. Additionally, childbearing reduces time for intimacy, increases the level of conflict within the couple and dissatisfaction with the partner, in particular about how partners should share the household tasks (Twenge et al. 2003; Doss, 2009). Traditionally, the mother is the parent with more responsibilities for childcare, especially during the first years of the child’s life. This means that she often takes on the double burden of family and work, sometimes sacrificing her career prospects in order to reconcile her multiple responsibilities.

Understanding whether and how first parental experience affects the probability and the timing of a second child is important for theoretical and practical reasons. The theoretical reason is that low fertility is in large part due to couples stopping at the first child. Do these couples forego the second child because they are dissatisfied with their life after the first birth? The practical reason concerns the possibility of policy intervention to support fertility within specific social groups which might experience more difficulties related to childbearing.

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Why we should be looking at happiness inequality

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Much research and policy discussion over the past decade or two has argued for measures of wellbeing that are broader than the indicators of income and wealth previously used as the primary measures of human and social progress (e.g. Stiglitz et al. 2010, OECD 2013). There has also been a surge of interest in the measurement and welfare analysis of what is, in many countries, growing inequality of income and wealth (United Nations 2013, Atkinson 2015). But discussions about the measurement and consequences of inequality have thus far been focused mainly on the distribution of income and wealth, both within and across countries (Atkinson and Bourguignon 2014, Piketty 2014). Even where attention has been paid to other forms of inequality – for example, based on ethnicity, gender, health, or education (Putnam 2015) – little has been done to compare the sources or measure the relative importance of these diverse types of inequality.

If subjective wellbeing provides a better measure of welfare than that provided by income and wealth, should inequality in the distribution of subjective wellbeing not provide a superior measure of inequality? Should it not also be expected to reveal the combined consequences of various sorts of inequality?


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Conferenza SISE (Società Italiana di Sociologia Economica) – Call for papers

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La SISE (Società Italiana di Sociologia Economica) terrà il suo primo convegno a Roma – La Sapienza nei giorni 26-27-28 gennaio 2017.

Le proposte di paper devono essere inviate al seguente indirizzo: entro lunedì 3 ottobre, sotto forma di lungo abstract in italiano o inglese, per un totale di 8.000 caratteri circa.  L’abstract deve specificare in dettaglio non solo il tema, ma anche la domanda di ricerca, la letteratura di riferimento e il metodo e le tecniche (eventualmente) utilizzate. Si chiede inoltre ai proponenti di specificare la “storia” del paper, illustrando sinteticamente se fa parte di una ricerca più ampia, svolta da solo o in gruppo, in contesto nazionale o internazionale e se versioni preliminari del lavoro sono già state pubblicate e/o  presentate in altri convegni o seminari. Entro il 17 ottobretutti i proponenti riceveranno comunicazione dell’accettazione o meno della loro proposta. Quanti risulteranno selezionati dovranno produrre entro il 20 dicembre i paper in versione completa, di modo da consentire l’organizzazione dei diversi panel e la preparazione dei relativi discussant.

Per maggiori informazioni:

The Parenthood Happiness Puzzle: An Introduction to Special Issue (European Journal of Population – 2016)

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Hans Peter Kohler and Letizia Mencarini


Contrary to conventional wisdom, recent studies argue that parenthood is not necessarily related to higher parental subjective well-being (SWB). However, parenthood remains an important aspect of adults’ lives, also in highly developed societies where childbearing has become optional, financially expensive and affecting other goals in life. Whereas a great deal of effort has been put into answering why fertility is low in so many developed countries, one may even ask why is it not even lower. The answer is not obvious but stems from the fact that, to date, the relationship between fertility and SWB has been understudied and the mechanisms at work are not well understood. This special issue makes a step forward in this line of research, providing a coherent set of papers addressing different dimensions of the relationship between fertility and SWB and its mechanisms, starting from a demographic perspective, but integrating theories and research results from other disciplines. The collection of papers assesses the effect of the birth of a child on the individual SWB from angles still unexplored with the idea that the effects of fertility on individuals’ SWB are diverse depending on individual, couple and country contextual factors.

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L’altra metà del lavoro

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Più cresce l’occupazione delle donne, più si crea reddito e più si fanno figli. Ma pesa il divario “domestico” di genere: la fatica non retribuita è distribuita male. In particolare in Italia

Melinda Gates se lo ricorda ancora, l’incubo mattutino dell’interminabile viaggio in auto per accompagnare all’asilo la primogenita Jennifer Katharine, oggi ventenne. Racconta che, sentendola in affanno, il marito, allora amministratore delegato della Microsoft, si offrì di sostituirla nell’incombenza due volte alla settimana. Con un certo senso dell’umorismo, Ms Gates suggerisce a ogni mamma stremata di mettere con le spalle al muro il partner: «Provate a dirgli: caro, se ci è riuscito uno come Bill Gates, a portare all’asilo la sua bambina, pensa a come potresti farlo meglio tu!».

Si sa: casalinga o professionista full-time, benestante o indigente, ogni signora di ogni latitudine, più o meno supportata, fa crescere i neonati e i bambini, instrada gli adolescenti, cura i malati, assiste gli anziani, nutre le famiglie, tiene in ordine le case, la biancheria e i vestiti. E tutto questo nelle situazioni migliori, perché altrimenti le tocca pure procurarsi acqua e legna e coltivare i campi.
Ms Gates non è certo la prima a inserire nell’ordine del giorno la caring economy e gli effetti socio-economici del lavoro di cura.

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Conferences 2017

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The Call for Papers is available now for the 2017 PAA Annual Meeting (#PAA2017).  #PAA2017 will be held April 27 – 29 in Chicago, IL.  You can find the Call for Papers and other information on the PAA Website.
Confex will accept submissions online beginning July 28, 2016.
The deadline for submissions is September29, 2016. 


University of Florence – February 8, 2017 – February 10, 2017

Authors are asked to include a short abstract in English (max 200 words), plus upload either the extended abstract (2-4 pages) OR the full paper, both in Italian or English language including the title and three to five keywords. Please provide the full names, affiliations and e-mail addresses of all co-authors. No author (or co-author) should appear more than twice on the final program.

The deadline for submissions is 15 October 2016

Please download the full call for paper here.

More info here

Un buon welfare può rendere felici i genitori

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È un fatto pressoché immutabile: a prescindere dal paese in cui vivete e dalla fase di vita in cui vi trovate, avere dei bambini vi rende molto meno felici rispetto alle persone che non ne hanno. È il cosiddetto divario di felicità dei genitori.

Secondo una nuova ricerca pubblicata sull’American Journal of Sociology, i genitori americani sono particolarmente infelici da questo punto di vista, con il divario più ampio (13 per cento) in un gruppo di 22 paesi industrializzati.

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The foul reign of the biological clock

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“I wasted years with x!” I have never heard a straight man say this. But when a woman does, after a breakup, everyone immediately understands what she means. We are raised to believe that female bodies are time bombs. Any relationship that does not “work out” – which is to say, does not get a woman pregnant by a man committed to helping her raise their offspring – brings her closer to her expiration date. At the stroke of midnight, our eggs turn into dust.

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Want to save your marriage? Don’t have kids

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Lots of women look forward to motherhood – getting to know a tiny baby, raising a growing child, developing a relationship with a maturing son or daughter. All over the world, people believe that parenting is the most rewarding part of life. And it’s good that so many mothers treasure that bond with their child, because the transition to parenthood causes profound changes in a woman’s marriage and her overall happiness … and not for the better.

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Happy families? Male acceptance of equality in the home could define the future

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As we approach the UN International Day of Families, only the foolhardy would try and predict the future of family groups. Previous attempts have, in fact, failed. William J Goode, writing in the early 1960s during the “golden age of marriage”, saw convergence towards the Western-style conjugal family as an inevitable consequence of industrialisation. No sooner had his seminal book, World Revolution and Family Patterns, been published than divorce rates started increasing, and married women began moving into the labour force.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, however. And there are some clear clues we can draw on to guess how family life might change in Europe over the years.

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INTERNATIONAL YOUNG RESEARCHERS’ CONFERENCE The impacts and challenges of demographic change

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22 and 23 September 2016 Paris (France) FIAP Jean Monnet Salle Bruxelles

The iPOPs Laboratory of Excellence (Individuals, Populations, Societies) and the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) are organizing an International Young Researchers’ Conference on 22 and 23 September at the FIAP Jean Monnet in Paris. It will bring together PhD students, post-doctoral students and young researchers around the topic of population.

Call for papers

ECSR 2016 Conference

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The European Consortium for Sociological Research (ECSR), together with the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford and Nuffield College will be hosting a three-day conference to be held in Oxford, United Kingdom from September 22-24, 2016.

The 2016 conference theme is Stratification andPopulation Processes in European Societies. This theme will receive special attention, but as always, we welcome presentations on all relevant areas of sociological research, such as the labour market, work and employment, education, family sociology, migration and integration, political sociology, health and well-being, social inequalities, etcetera.

April 11, 2016 → Deadline for submitting abstracts

Call for papers

Childlessness: What’s Old, What’s New, What’s Innovative

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by Michaela Kreyenfeld

“Explanations for childlessness have long abounded in popular culture. Some have chalked it up to decaying mores, others to cataclysmic events like war or economic disaster—still others to policy, which can be the cause or effect of any of these. But like so much in science, reality does not necessarily fit, or at least fit nicely, with what we “observe” on a daily basis.”

Read more:

New SWELL-FER publication

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We are happy to announce a new publication for the SWELL-FER project:

Elena Pirani & Daniele Vignili:

“Changes in the Satisfaction of Cohabitors Relative to Spouses Over Time”

Journal of Marriage and Family – DOI:10.1111/jomf.12287

BSPS conference 2016

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BSPS Annual Conference 2016

Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 September 2016, University of Winchester


BSPS Conference 2016 Call for papers

Le mamme italiane tra le meno felici d’Europa

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I padri sono significativamente più felici dei non padri.Vale in tutti i Paesi della nostra Europa, qualunque sia la latitudine o il prodotto interno lordo. Lo stesso ragionamento non vale per le madri. Le donne con figli sono più felici di quelle che non li hanno soltanto nei Paesi più sviluppati, quelli nei quali c’è una maggiore partecipazione femminile alla vita politica e dove le politiche a sostegno della conciliazione tra casa e lavoro ci sono e funzionano.

L’analisi è uno dei risultati, non ancora definitivi visto che lo studio è in corso e andrà avanti per altri due anni, del progetto su «Benessere e fecondità» (Swellfer). La ricerca è finanziata con più di un milione di euro dal Consiglio europeo della ricerca ed è coordinata dalla professoressa Letizia Mencarini, che se ne è occupata nel Collegio Carlo Alberto di Torino fino a dicembre e da quest’anno lo farà nel Centro Dondena della Bocconi di Milano.

Read more:

SIS conference 8-10 June 2016

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48th Meeting of the Italian Statistical Society – University of Salerno


Papers are submitted on-line. All submissions, except invited talks, are subject to a blind refereeing process.
Short paper submission (Contributed sessions and posters)
To ensure proper evaluation, short papers should be about 4 pages long and describe the substantive problem and the data analyzed, as well as the approach and models used. Short papers should also include a clear statement of the main results and conclusions and indicate the most important key references.

Editorial standards and submission area
The papers/short papers can be submitted using LaTeX or Word editorial standards.

– LaTeX template (click here to download the LaTeX template)
– Word template (click here to download the Word template).

The LaTeX users need to upload a .zip file containing the .tex file, any image files and the .pdf version of the paper in the submission area.

After acceptance of the contributed papers, the Conference Program Committee will confirm the inclusion in the program of the proposed contributed paper sessions.

Editorial Standard:
– from 4 to 6 pages for the short papers of contributed sections and posters
– do not exceed 10 pages for the papers of solicited sections
– do not exceed 14 pages for the papers of specialized sections
– do not exceed 20 pages for the papers of plenary sections

All abstracts should contain not more than 200 words, without references and formula.


Abstract/Paper: February 7, 2016 (Authors of the posters can submit only the abstracts)
Authors Notifications: March 25, 2016
Final version: April 17, 2016

Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality

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Gerhard Meisenberg • Michael A. Woodley

Although most surveys of happiness and general life satisfaction find only
small differences between men and women, women report slightly higher subjective wellbeing than men in some countries, and slightly lower subjective well-being in others. The present study investigates the social and cultural conditions that favor higher female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction. Results from more than 90 countries represented
in the World Values Survey show that conditions associated with a high level of female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction include a high proportion of Muslims in the country, a low proportion of Catholics, and absence of communist history.
Among indicators of gender equality, a low rate of female non-agricultural employment is associated with higher female-versus-male happiness and satisfaction. Differences in the rate of female non-agricultural  employment explain part of the effects of communist history and prevailing religion. They may also explain the recent observation of declining female life satisfaction in the United States.

paper download

“Reddito, benessere e felicità: gli indicatori oltre il PIL”

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IEFE-Bocconi organizza nell’ambito delle iniziative dell’Osservatorio sulla Green Economy e  in collaborazione con Edizioni Ambiente:

“Reddito, benessere e felicità: gli indicatori oltre il PIL”

che si terrà mercoledì 14 ottobre p.v. dalle ore 11:00 alle ore 15:00 presso l’Aula AS02 – via Roentgen 1, Milano

Guest speaker: Robert Costanza, Crawford School

Introducono: Edoardo Croci, IEFE Università Bocconi,  Marco Moro, Edizioni Ambiente

 La partecipazione all’evento è libera e gratuita previa iscrizione all’indirizzo:

Robert Costanza è cofondatore della Società Internazionale per l’Economia Ecologica
, professore ordinario di public policy presso la Crawford School. Prima di questo incarico, ha ricoperto il ruolo di professore di sostenibilità presso l’Institute of sustainable solutions alla Portland State University. In precedenza è stato Gund Professor di economia ecologica e direttore fondatore del “Gund institute for the ecological economy” presso l’Università del Vermont.
Costanza è anche attualmente senior fellow presso il consiglio nazionale per la scienza e l’ambiente, a Washington DC, e senior fellow presso lo Stockholm Resilience Center.
Nel suo campo di indagine rientrano l’analisi dell’energia e dei materiali attraverso i sistemi economici ed ecologici e la valutazione delle capacità di carico dei sistemi naturali.

Institutional Change, Happiness, and Fertility

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Arnstein Aassve, Letizia Mencarini and Maria Sironi


Building on existing theories of fertility dynamics, this article provides a theoretical perspective that connects two recent strands of the literature. The first concerns gender equity and equality where institutions play a critical role. The second is that subjective well-being matters in explaining childbearing behaviour (and vice versa). Our key argument is that subjective well-being is a direct function of the discrepancy between aspirations and attainment, here interpreted as a potential mismatch between gender equity and equality. As aspirations change over time, discrepancy arises in so far institutions are unable to follow suit with new emerging preferences. This lowers subjective well-being associated with childbearing, and hence leads to lower levels of fertility. Our empirical analysis is based on the European Social Survey, and although taking an indirect approach, we provide support for this idea. Fertility and happiness are higher where institutions appear to have adapted to women’s new preferences and aspirations, which is further supported by strong gender differences in happiness associated with parenthood. Fathers are always happier than non-fathers—no matter the circumstances of the country where they reside—whereas mothers are happier only when relevant institutions are in place.

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Men want to spend more time at home – even if it means taking a pay cut

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We’re all familiar with what sociologists call “the traditional family”: a straight, married couple, with a male breadwinner who works long hours to support his family, while the woman stays home, takes care of the domestic work, and rears the children. Feminists have long campaigned against the factors which ensure that this the only option – for both men and women. Now, it appears that male breadwinners aren’t too happy with it either.

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Call for Papers – CONFERENCE. Life Satisfaction and Social Optimum: The challenge between subjective and objective wellbeing indicators.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: HEIRS International Conference 2016
ROME – 15-16 March, 2016
“Life Satisfaction and Social Optimum: The challenge between subjective and objective wellbeing indicators”

Subjective wellbeing indicators are widely used in several disciplines to measure overall satisfaction in order to overcome limits and loopholes of traditional objective indicators. Researcher and policymakers have both a keen interest in understanding how subjective and objective indicators compare, how they perform and differ and how they can be used to assess the impact of policy-making. The conference welcomes contributions aimed at moving ahead the frontier of studies
on integrating subjective and objective indicators, on the methodologies for measuring subjective indicators and on the
determinants of subjective wellbeing.

The conference will host the event of the presentation of the World Happiness Report 2016 edited by Jeffrey Sachs, John Helliwell, Richard Layard

The conference welcomes contributions on the following topics:
– Subjective and objective wellbeing indicators: relationships and correspondences.
– Advancement in the use of subjective wellbeing indicators.

– The determinants of subjective wellbeing indicators.
– Satisfaction and objective indicators in specific domains: health, job, leisure and income.
Important dates:

– Abstracts (max 300 words) must be submitted by January 20th, 2016 to (.PDF format)
–  Acceptance by January 31st, 2016.
–  Early registrations by February 20th, 2016

More info:

Is Happiness a Matter of our Genes? New Research Findings and Implications

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The event will take place on Wednesday October 7 2015, from 6.30-8.30pm at the Arts Two Lecture Theatre, Mile End campus of Queen Mary University of London.

Professor Lord Richard Layard will talk about how our experience over life affects our well-being. Lord Layard is a labour economist who worked for most of his life on how to reduce unemployment and inequality, co-founder of Action for Happiness and author of several books on happiness including “Happiness: Lessons from a new science”.

Professor Meike Bartels will talk about the genetics of well-being. Prof Bartels is University Research Chair Professor in Genetics and Wellbeing at the Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam where she conducts and supervises several large research projects to gain sight into the underlying genetic and environmental sources of variation on psychological well-being.

Dr Michael Pluess will talk about the interplay between genes and environment. He is a senior lecturer in developmental psychology at the Department of Biological and Experimental Psychology at Queen Mary University of London and investigates how genetic differences moderate the effects of environmental influences. He is the editor of a new book “Genetics of Psychological Well-Being: The role of heritability and genetics in positive psychology” published by Oxford University Press.

More info:

Women are less happy with their relationship than men.

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A 10-year survey of marriages and de facto relationships in Australia has delivered one overwhelming observation: women are less satisfied with their relationships than men are.

The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey compiles responses from 12 waves of participants who were asked to rank their relationship satisfaction and factors leading to separation.

It gives us unique and intriguing insights into which couples last, why others break up and what is making men and women happy or unhappy. It can also help with match-making, with some fascinating statistics into what types of personalities are most compatible. The data is based on nearly 31,000 observations for each gender.


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The booklet ‘Measuring and reporting on Europeans’ Wellbeing’ presents findings on Europeans’ wellbeing using data from the first six rounds of the ESS. The aim is to showcase the scope that ESS data provide for exploring the definition, distribution and drivers of subjective wellbeing across Europe and to encourage others to make full use of ESS data in advancing society’s understanding of these important issues. This is the result of a collaboration between leading experts on wellbeing in Europe and prominent researchers in fields such as sociology, political science, demography, psychology and geography, to identify some highlights from the rich body of research into wellbeing carried out using ESS data. By making a variety of innovative, methodologically sophisticated, and policy-relevant findings easily accessible, the aim is to provide a valuable contribution to both academic and policy debates around wellbeing.

Arnstein Aassve, Letizia Mencarini and Maria Sironi contributed to this issue with the article: “Does parenthood bring about happiness?

See a synthesis of the report here and here.

Summer Submissions to Conferences on SWB

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ALP-POP 2016

Villars-sur-Ollon – Switzerland – January, 26-29  2016

Submission of original papers or extended abstracts are invited by August 15, 2015. Submissions and inquiries should be addressed via email to:

More info:

Economics, Health and Happiness

Lugano – January 14, 15, 16th 2016

  • Proposals, from 100 to 300 words, must be sent by July 15th, 2015 to the following email address:
  • Acceptance: September 15th, 2015
  • Final paper: November 2nd, 2015

More info:

Education and reproduction in low-fertility settings

Vienna, 2–4 December 2015

Please send your 1-page abstract to by 30 June 2015

World Happiness Report 2015

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The world has come a long way since the first World Happiness Report in 2012. Happiness is increasingly considered a proper measure of social progress and a goal of public policy.

The year 2015 is a watershed for humanity, with the pending adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help guide the world community towards a more inclusive and sustainable pattern of global development. The UN member states called for SDGs on the occasion of the Rio+20 Summit, marking the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit. The SDGs will be adopted by heads of state at a special summit at the United Nations in September 2015, on the 70th anniversary of the UN. The concepts of happiness and well-being are very likely to help guide progress towards sustainable development.

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Bruno Arpino, Award for the best methodology paper at the International Seminar on Active Ageing Index 2015. ​

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Award for the best methodology paper at the International Seminar on Active Ageing Index 2015, Brussels (European Commission, UNECE and Oxford Institute of Population Ageing). The paper titled “Active Ageing Typologies: A Latent Class Analysis of the Older Europeans” and co-authored with Valeria Bordone (Wittgenstein Centre, Austria) is currently being considered to be included in the edited book of the AAI Seminar, edited by Asghar Zaidi (the lead editor), Sarah Harper, Bjarne Hastrup, Kenneth Howse, Giovanni Lamura, and Jolanta Perek-Bialas.

SWELLFER Seminar – 20th March: Chiara Saraceno

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We are pleased to announce the next SWELLFER seminar:


Chiara Saraceno
Subjective well being between context and time


The seminar will take place at the Collegio Carlo Alberto

on the 20th of March

at 11:00

room: Sala Rossa


Please confirm your presence at

In pursuit of happiness: why some pain helps us feel pleasure

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by B.Bastian

The idea that we can achieve happiness by maximising pleasure and minimising pain is both intuitive and popular. The truth is, however, very different. Pleasure alone cannot not make us happy.

Take Christina Onassis, the daughter of shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. She inherited wealth beyond imagination and spent it on extravagant pleasures in an attempt to alleviate her unhappiness. She died at 37 and her biography, tellingly subtitled All the Pain Money Can Buy, recounts a life full of mind-boggling extravagance that contributed to her suffering.

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Why our happiness and satisfaction should replace GDP in policy making

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by R.A. Easterlin

Since 1990, GDP per person in China has doubled and then redoubled. With average incomes multiplying fourfold in little more than two decades, one might expect many of the Chinese people to be dancing in the streets. Yet, when asked about their satisfaction with life, they are, if anything, less satisfied than in 1990.

The disparity indicated by these two measures of human progress, Gross Domestic Product and Subjective Well Being (SWB), makes pretty plain the issue at hand. GDP, the well-being indicator commonly used in policy circles, signals an outstanding advance in China. SWB, as indicated by self-reports of overall satisfaction with life, suggests, if anything, a worsening of people’s lives. Which measure is a more meaningful index of well-being? Which is a better guide for public policy?

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SWELL-FER Reading Group – mood

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Thanks everybody for the intensive and very well done Reading-Day!


Reading Group: “Stability of Happiness. Theories and Evidence on Whether Happiness Can Change” (eds. Sheldon K.M. and Lucas R.E., 2014)

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On Friday 16th January we are organizing a “reading group day” at the Collegio Carlo Alberto (Moncalieri).

This session has been dedicated to the book:

“Stability of Happiness. Theories and Evidence on Whether Happiness Can Change”, edited by K.M. Sheldon and R.E. Lucas (2014)

The event will take place from the 11am to the 6pm, in the Meeting Room at the first floor of the Collegio Carlo Alberto.



For participating please email to and confirm your presence by the 13th of January.

Looking forward to see you!

Sempre meno mamme, sempre meno bambini

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In Italia le nascite sono in costante diminuzione, non solo per il calo della fecondità ma anche perché si riduce il numero delle potenziali mamme. In calo anche i nati da genitori di origine straniera, mentre aumenta per tutte l’età media alla nascita dei figli. E sempre più bambini nascono da genitori non sposati. In altri paesi i nuovi modi di fare famiglia hanno aiutato la fecondità. Da noi si teme che non succederà.

Letizia Mencarini e Daniele Vignoli

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Choose your parents wisely

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There is a large class divide in how Americans raise their children. Rich parents can afford to ease up a bit; poor parents need help.

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