The Los Angeles Times highlights economics professor Homa Zarghamee’s research on why single mothers are happier today than decades ago. An excerpt:

"The report, published online in the Journal of Happiness Studies, tracks how women answered questions on a nationally representative survey between 1972 and 2008. When the researchers tried to tease out what made single mothers less happy, they found that the biggest factor was being single.

“The fact that they’re single seems to explain a lot of why they’re less happy,” said John Ifcher, assistant professor of economics at Santa Clara University. Making less money, a factor tied to decreased happiness in other studies, made a smaller difference than being single.

But over time, single mothers became happier as other women became somewhat less so, narrowing the gap between them, said Homa Zarghamee, assistant professor of economics at Barnard College. The exception was among married mothers: The “happiness deficit” between single and married moms did not change enough for the shift to be statistically significant."

The study appears in the Journal of Happiness Studies. Prof. Zarghamee's research focuses on the impact of mood on economic behavior, determinants of social preferences, gender and competition, and determinants of subjective well-being.