This, the authors claim, helps explain what Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have called the paradox of declining female happiness.
I refute it thusly:
It is not that when there are a larger number of choices that we choose to do those things which make us unhappier.
It is that having a greater number of choices makes us unhappier.
For the cost of doing any one thing is giving up doing all of the other things which we could be doing. If we have a larger number of choices then we must be giving up doing a larger number of things to do any one thing.
The paradox of declining female happiness is not a paradox at all. It is quite simply that women now have the same number of choices that men have had for longer. Thus female happiness is declining to male levels.
You can indeed then go on to argue that we would all be made happier by having fewer choices: at which point I would suggest you stand over there next to that feminist while explaining to her how being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen really is going to make her happier.
Yes, of course, this outcome would make me happier, but that\’s why you\’ve got to stand next to her while explaining it.