New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2007‒09‒09
four papers chosen by

  1. Muslim population shares and global development patterns 1990 - 2003 in 134 countries By Tausch, Arno
  2. The policy relevance of absolute and relative poverty headcounts: What's in a number? By Notten, Geranda; de Neubourg, Chris
  3. El crecimiento económico internacional en la segunda mitad del siglo XX ¿que factores lo determinaron? By Carlos E. Posada; Eliana Carolina Rubiano
  4. The Role of Religious and Social Organizations in the Lives of Disadvantaged Youth By Rajeev Dehejia; Thomas DeLeire; Erzo F.P. Luttmer; Joshua Mitchell

  1. By: Tausch, Arno
    Abstract: 9 key conclusions are drawn: 1) First of all, Islam is hardly to blame for global development problems, let alone, Muslim migration is to blame for the failure of the European Lisbon process 2) it emerges that the European Union, the way it is constructed, is not the answer, but part of the very problem of stagnation and deficient development 3) in particular, the Lisbon target “low comparative price levels” contradicts the other Lisbon targets 4) Europe is characterized by an aging society and the pension crisis. But World Bank pension models will not propel economic growth and sustainable development 5) Opening up to global markets and unfettered globalization will not provide sustainable development to the European political economy 6) Many of the ills of the Muslim world are in reality caused by the crisis of modernization (“things get worse, before the get better”) 7) The “Limits to Growth” in the richest countries create serious social and ecological tensions 8) Urbanization negatively affects development in many ways 9) The positive effects of globalization are very limited While the analysis on world development 1990 – 2003, which contradicts in many ways Huntingtons famous book (1996), shows the detrimental effects of dependency, low comparative price levels and membership in the EU-15 on the social and ecological balances of countries of the world, we also tested the effects of our new data on Muslims per cent of total population on a comprehensive number of dependent variables of socio-economic development in 134 countries of the world, namely 1. economic growth, 1990-2003 (UNDP HDR, 2005) 2. freedom from political rights violations, 1998, and 2006 (Easterly, 2000-2002, and Freedom House, 2007) 3. Happy Planet Index (Happy Planet Organization) 4. Human development Index, 2005 (UNDP HDR 2005) 5. Gender development index 2004 (UNDP HDR, 2006) 6. Gender empowerment index, 2004 (UNDP HDR, 2006) 7. life expectancy, 1995-2000 (UNDP HDR 2000) 8. Life Satisfaction (Happy Planet Organization) 9. freedom from unemployment (UN statistical system website, social indicators) 10. eco-social market economy (GDP output per kg energy use) (UNDP HDR 2000) 11. the Yale/Columbia environmental sustainability index (ESI-Index), 2005 12. female economic activity rate as % of male economic activity rate (UNDP HDR 2000) 13. freedom from % people not expected to survive age 60 (UNDP HDR 2000) 14. freedom from a high ecological Footprint (Happy Planet Organization) 15. freedom from a high quintile ratio (share of income/consumption richest 20% to poorest 20%) (UNDP HDR 2005) 16. freedom from civil liberty violations, 1998, and 2006 (Easterly, 2002, and Freedom House, 2007) 17. freedom from high CO2 emissions per capita (UNDP HDR 2000) Ceteris paribus, Muslim culture even significantly and positively affects the human rights record, human development, gender development, and the ecological balances, and in general terms alleviates the problem of “structural violence”, measured in terms proposed by Galtung (1971). But there is a significant negative relationship between the percentages of Muslims per total population and the indicator: life satisfaction. Also it emerges that Muslim nations and countries with large Muslim population shares suffer dispropotrionately from heavy unemployment; which is closely connected to the problem of unequal exchange (low comparative international price levels). As to the causal directions of these relationships, the article argues in favor of cautious interpretations, and no final verdict is reached. In many ways, Muslim communities are to be regarded as socially stabilizing and growth enhancing factors. But the negative relationship between life satisfaction and Muslim population shares invites for a more thorough debate on happiness, based on classic Muslim philosophy or hanafist Euro-Islam, and against tendencies of a salafist reading of the scriptures. Our work also argues in favor of taking the problem of unequal exchange (low comparative price levels) more seriously as in the past. It is an underlying causal mechanism, creating unemployment in the Muslim world. At any rate, a liberal, tolerant and spiritual reading of the Holy Scriptures is recommended – much in the spirit of major religious Muslim figures as Professor Smail Balic from Bosnia and Professor Ali Bardakoglu from Turkey.
    Keywords: C21 - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; C43 - Index Numbers and Aggregation; Z12 – Religion; F59 - International Relations and International Political Economy: Other
    JEL: F5 Z12 F22 F15 F50
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Notten, Geranda; de Neubourg, Chris
    Abstract: Financial poverty indicators still play an important role in policymaking and evaluation. Countries such as the USA and the EU member states use one or several ‘official’ poverty indicators on which success of poverty reduction policy is regularly monitored. Whereas the US poverty indicator is based on an absolute concept of poverty, the EU Laeken indicator is based on a relative concept. But the consequences of such a decision are considerable. As absolute and relative poverty indicators reflect related but conceptually distinct approaches to determining insufficient levels of well-being; they can yield very different poverty statistics, particularly over time. In this paper, we use the official EU and US poverty indicators to study the policy relevance of using either an absolute or a relative indicator. We find significant differences between the poverty estimates in poverty rates as well as in the poverty profiles. Benefit incidence- and adequacy rates are equally estimated and compared. The paper concludes that the differences between the two poverty concepts is more than important enough to support monitoring poverty and the related social and economic policies, using both relative and absolute poverty indicators.
    Keywords: poverty; absolute; relative; social policy; United States; European Union
    JEL: H55 I30 H53
    Date: 2007–08
  3. By: Carlos E. Posada; Eliana Carolina Rubiano
    Abstract: En este ensayo presentamos un modelo de crecimiento económico y los resultados de su estimación econométrica. Entre sus variables incluimos las demográficas y de capital físico y humano. El ejercicio empírico se basó en un “panel dinámico” que cubrió un período de aproximadamente cuatro decenios (1960-2000) y tres muestras de países con el fin de apreciar la robustez de los resultados. La primera, con 59 países, y, las otras dos, diferenciando entre países pobres y ricos. Los resultados de la muestra total parecen dominados por los de la sub-muestra de países pobres, a saber: solo la tasa de inversión en capital físico fue significativa en la determinación de la tasa de crecimiento económico. En el caso de los países ricos, además de la inversión en capital físico, también se mostraron significativas la inversión en capital humano (con un efecto rezagado de 10 años) y la constante, sugiriendo, esto último, que fue importante en estos países un cambio técnico exógeno como uno de sus motores de crecimiento.
    Date: 2007–06–26
  4. By: Rajeev Dehejia; Thomas DeLeire; Erzo F.P. Luttmer; Joshua Mitchell
    Abstract: This paper examines whether participation in religious or other social organizations can help offset the negative effects of growing up in a disadvantaged environment. Using the National Survey of Families and Households, we collect measures of disadvantage as well as parental involvement with religious and other social organizations when the youth were ages 3 to 19 and we observe their outcomes 13 to 15 years later. We consider a range of definitions of disadvantage in childhood (family income and poverty measures, family characteristics including parental education, and child characteristics including parental assessments of the child) and a range of outcome measures in adulthood (including education, income, and measures of health and psychological wellbeing). Overall, we find strong evidence that youth with religiously active parents are less affected later in life by childhood disadvantage than youth whose parents did not frequently attend religious services. These buffering effects of religious organizations are most pronounced when outcomes are measured by high school graduation or non-smoking and when disadvantage is measured by family resources or maternal education, but we also find buffering effects for a number of other outcome-disadvantage pairs. We generally find much weaker buffering effects for other social organizations.
    JEL: D10 I30 J62 Z12
    Date: 2007–09

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