nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2007‒06‒02
ten papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments By Matteo Cervellati; Joan Esteban; Laurence Kranich
  2. Population Policies, Fertility, Women's Human Capital, and Child Quality By T. Paul Schultz
  3. Moral sentiments, democracy and redistributive politics: between nature and culture By Gilles Le Garrec
  4. Lucas vs. Lucas: On Inequality and Growth By Juan Carlos Cordoba; Genevieve Verdier
  5. How Does Family Structure Affect Children’s Outcomes? Evidence from the Civil War. By Frankel, David M.
  6. Trust and Social Collateral By Markus Mobius; Adam Szeidl
  7. Consequences of family policies on childbearing behavior: effects or artifacts? By Gerda R. Neyer; Gunnar Andersson
  8. I'm not fat, just too short for my weight - Family Child Care and Obesity in Germany By Philippe Mahler
  9. The challenge of Inequality By Dag Ehrenpreis
  10. Intentions, Insincerity, and Prosocial Behavior By Amegashie, J.

  1. By: Matteo Cervellati; Joan Esteban; Laurence Kranich
    Abstract: Moral values influence individual behavior and social interactions. A specially significant instance is the case of moral values concerning work effort. Individuals determine what they take to be proper behaviour and judge the others, and themselves, accordingly. They increase their esteem -and self-esteem- for those who perform in excess of the standard and decrease their esteem for those who work less. These changes in self-esteem result from the self-regulatory emotions of guilt or pride extensively studied in Social Psychology. We examine the interactions between sentiments, individual behaviour and the social contract in a model of rational voting over redistribution where individual self-esteem and relative es-teem for others are endogenously determined. Individuals differ in their productivities. The desired extent of redistribution depends both on individual income and on individual attitudes toward others. We characterize the politico-economic equilibria in which s
    Keywords: Social Contract, Endogenous Sentiments, Voting over Taxes, Moral Work
    JEL: D64 D72 Z13 H3 J2
    Date: 2007–03–01
  2. By: T. Paul Schultz (Yale University)
    Abstract: Population policies are defined here as voluntary programs which help people control their fertility and expect to improve their lives. There are few studies of the long-run effects of policy-induced changes in fertility on the welfare of women, such as policies that subsidize the diffusion and use of best practice birth control technologies. Evaluation of the consequences of such family planning programs almost never assess their long-run consequences, such as on labor supply, savings, or investment in the human capital of children, although they occasionally estimate the short-run association with the adoption of contraception or age-specific fertility. The dearth of long-run family planning experiments has led economists to consider instrumental variables as a substitute for policy interventions which not only determine variation in fertility but are arguably independent of the reproductive preferences of parents or unobserved constraints that might influence family life cycle behaviors. Using these instrumental variables to estimate the effect of this exogenous variation in fertility on family outcomes, economists discover these Across effects@ of fertility on family welfare outcomes tend to be substantially smaller in absolute magnitude than the OLS estimates of partial correlations referred to in the literature as evidence of the beneficial social externalities associated with the policies that reduce fertility. The paper summarizes critically the empirical literature on fertility and development and proposes an agenda for research on the topic.
    Keywords: Consequences of Fertility Decline, Child Quality, Evaluation of Population Policies
    JEL: J13 J24 O15
    Date: 2007–05
  3. By: Gilles Le Garrec (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques)
    Date: 2007
  4. By: Juan Carlos Cordoba; Genevieve Verdier
    Abstract: Lucas (2004) asserts that "Of the tendencies that are harmful to sound economics, the most seductive, and in my opinion the most poisonous, is to focus on questions of distribution... The potential for improving the lives of poor people by finding different ways of distributing current production is nothing compared to the apparently limitless potential of increasing production." In this paper we evaluate this claim using an extended version of Lucas' (1987) welfare-evaluation framework. Surprisingly, we find that the welfare costs of inequality outweigh the benefits of growth in most cases. These calculations support the case for a research agenda that treats not only growth but also inequality as a priority.
    Keywords: Poverty , Economic growth , Business cycles ,
    Date: 2007–01–31
  5. By: Frankel, David M.
    Abstract: We propose a novel approach to measuring the causal effect of family structure on a child’s outcomes. In a war, some fathers are killed in action and cannot return to their families. This creates a natural experiment in which the effects of a father’s absence can be tested. Using data from the U.S. Civil War, we find no evidence that a father’s death in the war affected his child’s labor income as a young adult. We also find no effect on labor force participation or the chance of being married in 1880. Daughters of fathers who died were less likely to be students in 1880, although we find no such effect on sons.
    Keywords: Family structure, female headed families, Civil War, natural experiments.
    JEL: J0
    Date: 2007–05–24
  6. By: Markus Mobius; Adam Szeidl
    Abstract: This paper builds a theory of informal contract enforcement in social networks. In our model, relationships between individuals generate social collateral that can be used to control moral hazard when agents interact in a borrowing relationship. We define trust between two agents as the maximum amount that one can borrow from the other, and derive a simple reduced form expression for trust as a function of the social network. We show that trust is higher in more connected and more homogenous societies, and relate our trust measure to commonly used network statistics. Our model predicts that dense networks generate greater welfare when arrangements typically require high trust, and loose networks create more welfare otherwise. Using data on social networks and behavior in dictator games, we document evidence consistent with the quantitative predictions of the model.
    JEL: D02 D23
    Date: 2007–05
  7. By: Gerda R. Neyer (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Gunnar Andersson (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: This paper argues that theoretical and methodological aspects account for the ambiguous results of investigations into the effects of family policies on fertility. Theoretically we employ approaches of comparative welfare-state research, of the sociology of “constructed categories”, and of the “new institutionalism” to demonstrate that investigations into the effects of policies on fertility need to contextualize policies and reduce their complexities by focusing on “critical junctures”, “space”, and “usage”. As regards methods we argue that the policy effects can only be assessed properly if we study the impact of policies on individual behavior, event-history models applied to individual-level data being the state-of-theart of such an approach. We present studies on the impact of family policies on Swedish childbearing behavior to demonstrate that an analytical and methodological approach as we advocate prevents us from drawing misleading conclusions about the effects of family policies on childbearing and fertility.
    Keywords: Europe, family, fertility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2007–05
  8. By: Philippe Mahler (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Obesity is increasing worldwide for both adults and children. Genetic disposition is responsible for some variation in body weight but cannot explain the dramatic increase in the last two decades. The increase must be due to structural and behavioral changes. One such behavioral change is the increase in working females in the last decades. The absence from the mother reduces potential child care time in the family. Reduced child care time may have adverse effects on the prevalence of obesity in children and adults. This paper analyzes the effect of mother’s labor supply in childhood on young adults probability of being obese in Germany. Using a sample drawn from the German Socio-Economic Panel the results show that a higher labor supply of the mother increases the probability for her child to be obese as young adult. This result underlines the importance of childhood environment on children’s later life outcome and the importance of behavioral changes in explaining the increase in obesity.
    Keywords: GSOEP, obesity, female labor supply, child care, sibling estimation
    JEL: I12 J22 D10
    Date: 2007–05
  9. By: Dag Ehrenpreis (International Poverty Centre)
    Keywords: Poverty, challenge , Inequality
    JEL: B41 D11 D12 E31 I32 O54
    Date: 2007–06
  10. By: Amegashie, J.
    Date: 2007

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