nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2007‒09‒16
ten papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Job Satisfaction And Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Problem By Booth, A.L.; Ours, J.C. van
  2. Can a rise in income inequality improve welfare? By Pérez Truglia, Ricardo Nicolás
  3. Individual Responsibility and the Funding of Collective Goods By Louis Levy-Garboua; Claude Montmarquette; Marie-Claire Villeval
  4. Personality, Job Satisfaction and Health - The Mediating Influence of Affectivity By Justina A.V. Fischer; Alfonso Sousa-Poza
  5. Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially By Dan Ariely; Anat Bracha; Stephan Meier
  6. Economics Against Human Rights By Manuel Couret Branco
  7. Democracy and growth: An alternative empirical approach By Shen , Jian-Guang
  8. Teorie del benessere: ascesa e crisi By Mariantonietta Fiore
  9. Desarrollo sostenible y sus indicadores By Arias Arbelaez, Fabio Alberto

  1. By: Booth, A.L.; Ours, J.C. van (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Using fixed effects ordered logit estimation, we investigate the relationship between part-time work and working hours satisfaction; job satisfaction; and life satisfaction. We account for interdependence within the family using data on partnered men and women from the British Household Panel Survey. We find that men have the highest hours-of-work satisfaction if they work full-time without overtime hours but neither their job satisfaction nor their life satisfaction are affected by how many hours they work. Life satisfaction is influenced only by whether or not they have a job. For women we are confronted with a puzzle. Hours satisfaction and job satisfaction indicate that women prefer part-time jobs irrespective of whether these are small or large. In contrast, female life satisfaction is virtually unaffected by hours of work. Women without children do not care about their hours of work at all, while women with children are significantly happier if they have a job regardless of how many hours it entails.
    Keywords: part-time work;happiness;satisfaction;working hours;gender.
    JEL: J22 I31 J16
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Pérez Truglia, Ricardo Nicolás
    Abstract: Since consumers are not thought to derive "intrinsic" utility from the consumption of status goods, the common vision among economists insists that relative concerns make everyone unhappy. Using a signaling-type model, I show that conspicuous consumption is a natural and efficient response of people to the absence of certain markets, especially when income is associated to desirable characteristics. Thus, reducing inequality may not be as welfare-improving as usually thought. I test this conjecture based on panel data for 10,000 respondents in Russia for 2000-2002, exploiting two identification strategies. The following results emerge: i. Regional expenditures inequality increases the marginal utility derived from consumption; ii. The "direct" distaste for inequality has been considerably underestimated by the literature; iii. The model is consistent with a utility function first concave and then convex; iv. The results remain unchanged after controlling for the income equivalence scale elasticity and a wide range of recent theories on Economics of Happiness.
    Keywords: Happiness; well being; life satisfaction; income; expenditures; conspicuous consumption; inequality; welfare; signaling; Friedman-Savage utility function; income equivalence scale elasticity; comparison income; reference group; non-market goods and services.
    JEL: C33 D31 D61
    Date: 2007–01–29
  3. By: Louis Levy-Garboua (CES-TEAM and Paris School of Economics); Claude Montmarquette (CIRANO and Université de Montréal); Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE CNRS, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))
    Abstract: When a deficit occurs in the funding of collective goods, it is usually covered by raising the amount of taxes or by rationing the supply of the goods. This article compares the efficiency of these institutions. We report the results of a 2x2 experiment based on a game in the first stage of which subjects can voluntarily contribute to the funding of a collective good that is being used to compensate the victims of a disaster. In the second stage of the game, in case of a deficit, we introduce either taxation or rationing. Each treatment is subjected to two conditions: the burden of the deficit is either uniform for all the subjects, or individualized according to the first-stage contribution. We show that the individualized treatments favor the provision of the collective good through voluntary cooperation whereas the uniform treatments encourage free-riding. Individualized taxation brings the voluntary contributions closer to the optimum while uniform rationing appears to be the worst system since free-riding restrains the provision of the good.
    Keywords: collective goods, experiment, interior Pareto optimum, rationing, responsibility, taxation
    JEL: C91 H21 H30 H41 H50
    Date: 2007–09
  4. By: Justina A.V. Fischer; Alfonso Sousa-Poza
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the relationship between job satisfaction and measures of health of workers over 50 using the Swiss Household Panel (SHP) and cross-sectional data from the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Methodologically, it addresses two important design problems encountered frequently in the literature: (a) cross-sectional causality problems and (b) absence of objective measures of physical health and intellectual ability that complement self-reported measures of health status. Not only does using the SHP panel structure with job satisfaction lagged mitigate the simultaneity bias, employing the objective health measures in the SHARE dataset addresses measurement problems resulting from respondents’ affective states. For all datasets, we find a positive link between job satisfaction and self-report health measures; that is, employees with higher job satisfaction levels feel healthier, are less depressed, and report fewer impediments in their daily activities. However, once objective measures of physical health are employed, we observe no such link. Rather, the only positive relationship is for intellectual abilities. These primary findings are then tested using additional controls for working conditions, prior health state and affective mental state. The results indicate that job satisfaction partly serves as a transmission channel.
    Keywords: job satisfaction, health, panel data analysis
    JEL: I18 I19 J28
    Date: 2007–08
  5. By: Dan Ariely; Anat Bracha; Stephan Meier
    Abstract: This paper examines image motivation—the desire to be liked and well-regarded by others— as a driver in prosocial behavior (doing good), and asks whether extrinsic monetary incentives (doing well) have a detrimental effect on prosocial behavior due to crowding out of image motivation. ; By definition, image depends on one’s behavior being visible to other people. Using this unique property we show that image is indeed an important part of the motivation to behave prosocially. Moreover, we show that extrinsic incentives interact with image motivation and are therefore less effective in public than in private. Together, these results imply that image motivation is crowded out by monetary incentives; this means that monetary incentives are more likely to be counterproductive for public prosocial activities than for private ones.
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Manuel Couret Branco (Department of Economics, University of Évora)
    Abstract: It is said that economics value individual and economic freedom and from that many hastily conclude that mainstream economics value human rights. The purpose of this paper is to show that on the contrary mainstream economics is fundamentally contradictory with many human rights especially Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The main reason for this is that mainstream economics and human rights have trouble in communicating, the latter speaking the rights language and the former the needs language. Within the needs language, capability to pay is the key question whereas within the rights language, entitlement is. If in the first case exclusion and inequality are acceptable in the second case the only acceptable situation is the one characterized by inclusion and equality. In other words goods and services can be unequally distributed, rights cannot. For this reason one cannot count on the market alone to ensure economic, social and cultural rights. Therefore, considering the introduction of different logics into the economic equation as unbearable interferences with economic logic, mainstream economics stands against human rights. In order to give a better illustration of this contradiction the particular conflicts between economics and the right to work, the right to water and the right to social security will be presented. The main conclusion of this paper is that in order to favour human rights economics should either suffer a paradigmatic revolution or accept to play just a supporting role in the process of global development.
    Keywords: Human Rights, Economic Theory, Social Utility, Rights-Approach, Right to Work, Social Security
    JEL: A1 B4 H4 H5 I3 J8 K0
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Shen , Jian-Guang (BOFIT)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a “before-and-after” approach to empirical examination of the relationship between democracy and growth. Rather than the commonly used cross-country regression method, this paper compares the economic performances of forty countries before and after they became democracies or semi-democracies sometime within the last forty years. The empirical evidence indicates that an improvement in growth performance typically follows the transformation to democracy. Moreover, growth under democracy appears to be more stable than under authoritarian regimes. Interestingly, wealthy countries often experience declines in growth after a democratic transformation, while very poor nations typically experience accelerations in growth. Growth change appears to be negatively related to the initial savings ratio and positively related to the export ratio to GDP. Partial correlation between growth change and primary school or secondary school enrollments and the ratio of government expenditure to GDP is not identified.
    Keywords: democracy; economic growth
    JEL: O40 O57
    Date: 2007–09–12
  8. By: Mariantonietta Fiore
    Abstract: L’Economia del Benessere, che deve la sua denominazione all’opera omonima di Arthur C. Pigou del 1920, si costituisce come discorso scientifico sulla base della filosofia etica utilitaristica basata sulla valutazione della bontà di un’azione in termini di bilancio tra sensazioni di piacere e di dolore. Il carattere strettamente individuale e non collettivo del benessere, cardinalità e confrontabilità, la presenza di un’eccessiva commistione di filosofia ed economia, ideologia e scienza furono alcune delle critiche che segnarono la “fine” della vecchia Economia del Benessere per far posto a teorie economiche rigorose e pure, oggettive e prive di giudizi di valore. Inoltre, il dibattito intorno alle teorie di politica economica keynesiane ha dato luogo ad un percorso confuso di teorie che, alla fine degli anni ’70 - primi anni ’80, hanno portato gli economisti di ispirazione ideologica neoclassica (Nuova macroeconomia classica) a lanciare una controffensiva non ancora esaurita, il cui punto più rilevante è l’affermazione della irrilevanza della politica economica e, con essa, delle teorie del benessere che, quale nucleo logico e astratto della politica economica, nascono proprio per “suggerire forme di intervento” (Pigou 1920) per la massimizzazione del benessere di tutta la comunità ed esaminare, quindi, i risultati ottenuti dai diversi sistemi economici, reali o ipotetici. In questa sede, si opererà un’analisi delle teorie del benessere, evidenziando ascesa e crisi in un percorso complesso caratterizzato da fasi e approcci teorici diversi, ab origine etico-economico, più tardi sociale-economico con implicazioni etico-egualitarie. In appendice, in linea con i recentissimi ambiti di ricerca di Economia e felicità, si presenta evidenza descrittiva del legame esistente tra felicità e età, educazione, sesso, stato civile e reddito.
    Date: 2007–07
  9. By: Arias Arbelaez, Fabio Alberto
    Date: 2006–12–03
  10. By: Alexander Cotte Poveda
    Abstract: This research paper performs a review of the most recent literature about the topic of economic growth, inequality poverty and violence in Colombia. The survey explores some of the characteristics, connections and realities which have been documented in the existing literature on the incidence that those variables may have on violence dynamics. Based on observed trends for the last fifty years, it is performed an geo-referenced exercise on the different effects that poverty, geographical localization of violent groups, and production of illegal crops may exert on the high levels of violence experienced by some regions in the country. It is presented also an empirical examination of the incidence that productive factors, violence and inequality may entail to economic growth. It is fount evidence for the hypothesis according to which the prevailing socioeconomic characteristics of every region has affected the economic growth dynamics. Thus, it is proven that productive factors and violence have effects on national economic growth.
    Date: 2007–09–08

This nep-hap issue is ©2007 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.