New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒02‒16
nine papers chosen by

  1. Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship? By Ed Hopkins
  2. Economic Well-Being and Poverty Among the Elderly: An Analysis Based on a Collective Consumption Model By Cherchye, L.; Rock, B. de; Vermeulen, F.M.P.
  3. Child Survival, Poverty and Policy Options from DHS Surveys in Kenya: 1993-2003 By Jane Kabubo-Mariara; Margaret M. Karienyeh; Francis K. Mwangi
  4. Social Capital, Well-Being, and Earnings: Theory and Evidence from Poland By Growiec, Jakub; Growiec, Katarzyna
  5. Well-Being and Affluence in the Presence of a Veblen Good By B. Curtis Eaton; Mukesh Eswaran
  6. Poisoning the mind : arsenic contamination and cognitive achievement of children By Chaudhury, Nazmul; Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz
  7. Preference for early retirement, health and job satisfaction : a European comparison By Didier Blanchet; Thierry Debrand
  8. Psychosocial resources and social health inequalities in France: Exploratory findings from a general population survey By Florence Jusot; Michel Grignon; Paul Dourgnon
  9. Promoting Social Participation for Healthy Ageing - A Counterfactual Analysis from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) By Thierry Debrand; Nicolas Sirven

  1. By: Ed Hopkins
    Date: 2008–02–10
  2. By: Cherchye, L.; Rock, B. de; Vermeulen, F.M.P. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: We apply the collective consumption model of Browning, Chiappori and Lew- bel (2006) to analyse economic well-being and poverty among the elderly. The model focuses on individual preferences, a consumption technology that captures the economies of scale of living in a couple, and a sharing rule that governs the intra-household allocation of resources. The model is applied to a time series of Dutch consumption expenditure surveys. Our empirical results indicate substan- tial economies of scale and a wife's share that is increasing in total expenditures. We further calculated poverty rates by means of the collective consumption model. Collective poverty rates of widows and widowers turn out to be slightly lower than traditional ones based on a standard equivalence scale. Poverty among women (men) in elderly couples, however, seems to be heavily underestimated (overesti- mated) by the traditional approach. Finally, we analysed the impact of becoming a widow(er). Based on cross-sectional evidence, we find that the drop (increase) in material well-being following the husband's death is substantial for women in high (low) expenditure couples. For men, the picture is reversed.
    Keywords: collective model;intra-household allocation;indifference scales;economies of scale;poverty.
    JEL: D11 D12 D13 D63 I31
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Jane Kabubo-Mariara; Margaret M. Karienyeh; Francis K. Mwangi
    Abstract: This paper analyses multidimensional aspects of child poverty in Kenya. We carry out poverty and inequality comparisons for child survival and also use the parametric survival model to explain childhood mortality using DHS data. The results of poverty comparisons show that: children with the lowest probability of survival are from households with the lowest level of assets; and poverty orderings for child survival by assets are robust to the choice of the poverty line and to the measure of wellbeing. Inequality analysis suggests that there is less mortality inequality among children facing mortality than children who are better off. The survival model results show that child and maternal characteristics, and household assets are important correlates of childhood mortality. The results further show that health care services are crucial for child survival. Policy simulations suggest that there is potential for making some progress in reducing mortality, but the ERS and MDG targets cannot be achieved.
    Keywords: Child survival, multidimensional poverty, inequality, stochastic dominance, childhood mortality, asset index, Kenya
    JEL: J13 I12 I32 I38 D63
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Growiec, Jakub; Growiec, Katarzyna
    Abstract: We study the relationship between two distinct dimensions of social capital (bridging and bonding social capital) and the personal performances of individuals: their reported subjective well-being (SWB) and earnings. A theoretical model is put forward which explains the sources and dynamics of social capital formation. It predicts an inverse U-shaped relationship between any type of social capital and SWB, an inverse U-shaped relationship between bridging social capital and earnings, and an unambiguously negative impact of bonding social capital on earnings. The key predictions of the model are confirmed using cross-section survey data from the 2005 wave of the “Social Diagnosis” survey program conducted in Poland. Very low levels of bridging social capital observed in Poland imply that it is unambiguously beneficial to invest in it: both SWB of individuals and their earnings would increase in such case.
    Keywords: bridging social capital; bonding social capital; earnings; subjective well-being; Poland
    JEL: D10 J20
    Date: 2007–12–06
  5. By: B. Curtis Eaton; Mukesh Eswaran
    Abstract: We develop a series of simple general equilibrium models that incorporate a pure Veblen good. We examine the comparative statics of well-being, and the consumption of leisure, the Veblen good, a standard consumption good, a standard public good, and a good that we call community, with respect to exogenous increases in productivity. In all of our models, as productivity incrases, the Veblen good eventually comes to dominate the economy in the sense that, by reducing leisure, more than all of any added productivity is dissipated in the production of the Veblen good. In fact, except for some knife edge cases, the Veblen good eventually crowds out all other economic activity. In particular, our findings show that, in the presence of a Veblen good, productivity increases contribute to the destruction of social capital.
    Keywords: conspicuous consumption, Veblen, well-being, leisure, social capital
    JEL: D62 H23 J22 Z13
    Date: 2008–02–07
  6. By: Chaudhury, Nazmul; Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz
    Abstract: Bangladesh has experienced the largest mass poisoning of a population in history owing to contamination of groundwater with naturally occurring inorganic arsenic. Continuous drinking of such metal-contaminated water is highly cancerous; prolonged drinking of such water risks developing diseases in a span of just 5-10 years. Arsenicosis-intake of arsenic-contaminated drinking water-has implications for children ' s cognitive and psychological development. This study examines the effect of arsenicosis at school and at home on cognitive achievement of children in rural Bangladesh using recent nationally representative school survey data on students. Information on arsenic poisoning of the primary source of drinking water-tube wells-is used to ascertain arsenic exposure. The findings show an unambiguously negative and statistically significant correlation between mathematics score and arsenicosis at home, net of exposure at school. Split-sample analysis reveals that the effect is only specific to boys; for girls, the effect is negative but insignificant. Similar correlations are found for cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes such as subjective well-being, that is, a self-reported measure of life satisfaction (also a direct proxy for health status) of students and their performance in primary-standard mathematics. These correlations remain robust to controlling for school-level exposure.
    Keywords: Education For All,Health Monitoring & Evaluation,Environmental Economics & Policies,Tertiary Education,Urban Solid Waste Management
    Date: 2008–02–01
  7. By: Didier Blanchet (INSEE institut national de la statistique et des études économiques); Thierry Debrand (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics)
    Abstract: This work uses the first wave of SHARE to analyze the impact of health and satisfaction at work on preferences concerning age at retirement in 10 European countries. Preferences concerning age at retirement are measured by the rate of people wishing to retire as soon as possible. We examine how health and work conditions contribute to explain differences in these preferences both at the individual level and between countries. At the individual level, the effects that are obtained are consistent with expectations, but they are of little help for explaining international differences. Fixing health and work conditions, we observe a north-south gradient of preferences for early retirement which remains close to the gross cross country differentials. All these results are robust to control by institutional features of pension systems (overall generosity of pension systems) and to control for the selection bias implied by the fact that preferences are only measured on people that are still in employment.
    Keywords: retirement, monetary factor, Health, job satisfaction
    JEL: J28 I10 J26
    Date: 2007–02
  8. By: Florence Jusot (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics); Michel Grignon (Departments of Economics and Health, Aging and Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario); Paul Dourgnon (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics)
    Abstract: We study the psychosocial determinants of health, and their impact on social inequalities in health in France. We use a unique general population survey to assess the respective impact on self-assessed health status of subjective perceptions of social capital controlling for standard sociodemographic factors (occupation, income, education, age and gender). The survey is unique for two reasons: First, we use a variety of measures to describe self-perceived social capital (trust and civic engagement, social support, sense of control, and self-esteem). Second, we can link these measures of social capital to a wealth of descriptors of health status and behaviours. We find empirical support for the link between the subjective perception of social capital and health. Sense of control at work is the most important determinant of health status. Other important ones are civic engagement and social support. To a lesser extent, sense of being lower in the social hierarchy is associated with poorer health status. On the contrary, relative deprivation does not affect health in our survey. Since access to social capital is not equally distributed in the population, these findings suggest that psychosocial factors can explain a substantial part of social inequalities in health in France.
    Keywords: social capital, social support, relative deprivation, sense of control, social health inequalities, France
    JEL: J12 I10
    Date: 2007–11
  9. By: Thierry Debrand (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics); Nicolas Sirven (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics)
    Abstract: Promoting social participation of the older population (e.g. membership in voluntary associations) is often seen as a promising strategy for 'healthy ageing' in Europe. Although a growing body of academic literature challenges the idea that the link between social participation and health is well established, some statistical evidence suggest a robust positive relationship may exist for older people. One reason could be that aged people have more time to take part in social activities (due to retirement, fewer familial constraints, etc.); so that such involvement in voluntary associations contributes to maintain network size for social and emotional support; and preserves individuals' cognitive capacities. Using SHARE data for respondents aged fifty and over in 2004, this study proposes to test these hypotheses by evaluating the contribution of social participation to self-reported health (SRH) in eleven European countries. The probability to report good or very good health is calculated for the whole sample (after controlling for age, education, income and household composition) using regression coefficients estimated for individuals who do and for those who do not take part in social activities (with correction for selection bias in these two cases). Counterfactual national levels of SRH are derived from integral computation of cumulative distribution functions of the predicted probability thus obtained. The analysis reveals that social participation contributes by three percentage points to the increase in the share of individuals reporting good or very good health on average. Higher rates of social participation could improve health status and reduce health inequalities within the whole sample and within every country. Our results thus suggest that 'healthy ageing' policies based on social participation promotion may be beneficial for the aged population in Europe.
    Keywords: Healthy ageing, Self-reported health, Social participation, Social capital, SHARE data, Counterfactual analysis, Stochastic dominance
    JEL: I12 Z13
    Date: 2008–01

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