According to new research from Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson:The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness
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.
I am not at all sure how to interpret this finding. It sounds like either the women's movement was a mistake or subjective happiness is not the right objective.
Dr. Mankiw should have stopped at "I am not at all sure how to interpret this finding..."
Obviously the women's movement is not yet complete. Women are under intense social and financial pressures that men just don't have to deal with, and many of those are the result of continuing, pervasive sexism. So I think it's pretty ballsy * to claim that--because it hasn't achieved its goals yet--the movement is a mistake.
lame update: i forgot to quote mankiw! fixed now.
* Get it?