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Regular version of the site

Małgorzata Mikucka

Senior Associate Researcher

Adress: Bacharage, Luxembourg
E-mail: mikucka.m@gmail.com

CV | Personal Page

Education and academic positions:

  • 2010-2012 - Postdoc Researcher, Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies, Luxembourg;
  • 2005-2010 -PhD in Humanistic Sciences, Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland;
  • 1997-2002 - MA in Sociology, Institute of Sociology, Warsaw University, Poland;

Academic interests:

employment and home-making, unemployment, life-course transitions, marriage and divorce, subjective well-being, social determinants of health

Research projects:

  • Well-being premium to marriage. Time trends and macro processes involved (2013-2014)
  • Does economic growth erode social capital and subjective well-being (2013-2014)

"Well-being premium to marriage. Time trends and macro processes involved" (Ongoing)


The goal of this paper is to examine how the well-being premium to marriage have been changing over time. Analyses existing so far focus mainly on the case of the US, which creates a knowledge gap. My work attempts to fill it by extending the analysis to about 100 countries, accounting both for the developed and developing ones. Moreover, together with establishing the trend, I test the hypothesis that the trend has been shaped by the changing socio-economic conditions that decreased the overall level of the economic specialization of spouses within marriage.

I use full data-sets of World Values Survey (WVS) and European Values Study (EVS), which allow observing changes in time for a wide set of countries. I look at two measures of subjective well-being: happiness and life satisfaction, the measures which inform about two separate but related aspects of subjective well-being.

I perform the analysis in three steps. First, I use the method of multilevel regression to estimate – on the basis of both individual and the country-level data – the overall trend of the well-being gap between married and never married persons. My results show that the gap is indeed decreasing over time.

Second, I investigate the relationships between country-year specific factors, in particular between the size of the well-being gap between the married and never married, and other country-specific factors: GDP and fertility rate, as well as women’s political and social rights, and the mean level of economic specialization within marriage. The well-being premium from marriage is higher in countries with higher GDP and lower fertility, however these factors do not explain the decrease of the well-being gap between the married and never married.

Third, I estimate the country-specific time trends of the well-being gap between married and never married, and of other country-specific factors. The results of investigation of trends are so far mixed and difficult to interpret.

Research Progress:

"Does economic growth erode social capital and subjective well-being" (ongoing; together with Francesco Sarracino)

The so-called “Easterlin paradox” (Easterlin, 1974) contrasts the American long-termgrowth of GDP withits stagnating subjective well-being. Although the debate on the paradox is still open (Inglehart et al.,2008, Sacks et al., 2010, Veenhoven and Vergunst, 2013), it suggests that economic growth per semaynot keep the promise of improving people’s quality of life; at least some additional conditions have tobe met in order to achieve this goal. According to the Negative Externalities Growth (NEG) model(Bartolini and Bonatti, 2003), economic growth may erode free goods (such as clean environment,social relationships et.c.) which negatively affects well-being. Moreover, it may also increase incomeinequalities and social divisions, which also have negative well-being consequences (Alesina et al.,2004). Although the literature provided some support for this theoretical model, it suffers from severalweaknesses. In particular, the statistical methods used frequently do not distinguish between theeffects of individual-level and contextual factors, creating a risk of ecological fallacy. Moreover, studiesusing individual-level data fail to provide a clear conceptual distinction between levels and trends ofGDP and social capital, as well as they do not differentiate between the long-term trends and short-termvariations. Both these distinctions are important for theoretical and empirical reasons (Bartolini andSarracino, 2011).This project attempts to provide evidence on the NEG model overcoming the methodological limitationsof previous studies. We use multilevel regression analysis of a broad set of data from the WVS and EVS.The data provide large variation of contextual factors (inequality, GDP, social capital) and the long timespanof observation allows estimating long-term trends and distinguishing them from the short-termvariations.We expect that the paper resulting from the project will contribute to the literature on economic growth,social capital and well-being. The innovative aspect is the use of multilevel regression, a statisticalmethod largely ignored by the literature of the subject, which however is currently the state of arttechnique of analysing hierarchical data. Using this technique may allow overcoming some of thelimitations of the current literature on the Easterlin paradox.


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