Why is less educational achievement and diminished career success making men happier?

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Over at the HuffPo Marcus Buckingham asks: What’s Happening To Women’s Happiness? In the linked post he flogs this study by Wharton Professors Betsy Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, which purportedly shows that as women begin to catch up with men in some spheres and outperform them in others, they have become less happy while men are happier than ever. Here are the illustrative graphs Buckingham deploys:

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Assuming just for the sake of this post that this data and the conclusions drawn from it are true, why is the focus only on those horrible women who don’t seem to appreciate their improving situation? Why isn’t Buckingham also asking why the fact that fewer men are completing high school or college, and that only 41 percent of all the bachelor’s degrees and 39 percent of all the master’s degrees are being earned by men, seems to be making men happier? Is ignorance truly bliss? Once you make women the standard, and then compare men to them, it would certainly seem so.

–Ann Bartow

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