New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒05‒24
eight papers chosen by

  1. Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-time Work Puzzle By Alison L. Booth; Jan Van Ours
  2. Estimation of causal effects of fertility on economic wellbeing:Evidence from rural Vietnam By Arnestein Aassve; Bruno Arpino
  3. Return to Work after Childbirth: does Parental Leave Matter in Europe? By Chiara Pronzato
  5. Clash of Career and Family: Fertility Decisions after Job Displacement By Emilia Del Bono; Andrea Weber; Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
  6. Deep determinants of economic growth – empirical verification with panel data models By Tomasz Brodzicki; Dorota Ciolek
  7. Mums and their sons; Dads and their daughters: Panel Data Evidence of Parental Altruism across 14 EU Countries By Jose Alberto Molina; Maria Navarro; Ian Walker
  8. Do Dads matter? Or is it just their money that matters? Unpicking the effects of separation on educational outcomes by and By Ian Walker; Yu Zhu

  1. By: Alison L. Booth (Department of Economics, University of Essex); Jan Van Ours (Tilburg University)
    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.
    Date: 2007–10
  2. By: Arnestein Aassve (Institute of Quantitative Methods, Bocconi University); Bruno Arpino (University of Florence)
    Abstract: Estimating the effects of demographic events on households’ living standards introduces a range of statistical issues. In this paper we analyze this topic considering our observational study as a quasi-experiment in which the treatment is expressed by childbearing events between two time points and the outcome is the change in equivalized household consumption expenditure. Our main question concerns how one can best estimate causal effects of demographic events on households’ economic wellbeing. We first provide a brief discussion of different methods for causal inference stressing their differences with respect to the underlying assumptions and data requirement. In particular, we contrast methods relying on the Uncounfoundedness Assumption (UNA), such as regressions and propensity score matching, with methods allowing for selection on unobservables, such as the Instrumental Variable (IV) estimators. We stress the fact that these methods are not equivalent in what they estimate. With Regressions and Propensity Score Matching (PSM) we can identify and estimate the Average Treatment Effect (ATE) and the Average Treatment effect on the Treated (ATT), while IV methods give the Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE). Since LATE is the average causal effect of the treatment on the sub-group of compliers, it is generally different from ATE and ATT. Moreover, different instruments identify the effect on different groups of compliers giving different estimates of LATE. A problem for policy making is that the compliers are in general an unobserved sub-group. However, IV methods estimate relevant policy parameter if the instrument itself is a potential policy variable. We demonstrate these issues with an application on data derived from the Vietnam Living Standard Measurement Study.
    Date: 2008–01
  3. By: Chiara Pronzato (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate the role of the extended parental leave in the return to work for mothers of newborn children. Parental leaves have been introduced in the last 30 years in all European countries in order to extend the period of job-protection, allowing both parents to care for the child after the maternity leave period has expired. In this paper, I exploit the variability in policies offered by the EU countries, in terms of length of the leave and payments, and I study the influence of statutory leaves on the probability of staying at home with the child during the leave, and on the probability of working in the period of time following the leave. Using data from ECHP, I select women who have a child in the years of the survey, who have worked before, and I follow them over time. After studying the determinants of the return to work in each country separately, I generalize the results, matching women with similar human capital characteristics and fertility history from different countries and, consequently, under different parental leave regulations. Results suggest that the right to long and paid leaves gives mothers the opportunity to remain at home with the child at a lower cost, and that lengthy statutory leaves are associated with being more likely to be at work in the period following the leave.
    Keywords: childcare, europe, women and employment
    Date: 2007–11
  4. By: Antonio Magliulo (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche)
    Abstract: Il “paradosso della felicità in economia” ha suscitato un interesse crescente tra studiosi di tutto il mondo. Nelle società opulente gli individui, nonostante l’aumento di reddito, non si dichiarano più felici. Una delle spiegazioni proposte si basa sulla constatazione che la crescita economica può distruggere alcuni beni relazionali da cui la felicità dipende: rapporti familiari, amicali, affettivi e civili. La spiegazione si avvale di un’interpretazione storica: il marginalismo, disconoscendo la natura economica dei beni relazionali, avrebbe offuscato il tema della felicità in economia. Questa ricerca intende ricostruire la storia di un tentativo, negletto ma rilevante, compiuto da Menger e Böhm-Bawerk e successivamente da Wicksteed e Robbins di risolvere il problema delle relazioni umane in economia.
    Keywords: Scuola Austriaca, Economia e Felicità
    JEL: B13 D60
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Emilia Del Bono (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Andrea Weber (Institute of Advanced Studies, Vienna); Rudolf Winter-Ebmer (Johannes Kepler Universität Linz)
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate how fertility decisions respond to unexpected career interruptions which occur as a consequence of job displacement. Using an event study approach we compare the birth rates of displaced women with those of women unaffected by job loss after establishing the pre-displacement comparability of these groups. Our results reveal that job displacement reduces average fertility by 5 to 10% in both the short and medium term (3 and 6 years) and that these effects are largely explained by the response of white collar women. Using an instrumental variable approach we provide evidence that the reduction in fertility is not due to the income loss generated by unemployment but arises because displaced workers undergo a career interruption. These results are interpreted in the light of a model in which the rate of human capital accumulation slows down after the birth of a child and all specific human capital is destroyed upon job loss.
    Keywords: fertility, firm separations, human capital, unemployment
    Date: 2007–12
  6. By: Tomasz Brodzicki (Faculty of Economics, University of Gdansk); Dorota Ciolek (Faculty of Management, Department of Econometrics, University of Gdansk)
    Abstract: We verify the impact of the so-called deep determinants on the level of economic real GDP per capita for an unbalanced panel of 207 economies within the period 1996-2004 using the Hausman-Taylor method of estimation. Institutional variables are detected to be endogenous. The results confirmed the assumed impact of deep determinants on the observed disparities in economic development. In most cases the basic specification of the model suggested by the empirical literature (log of openness, rule of law, distance from equator) is statistically significant and the impact of the variables has the anticipated direction. Several other specifications are tested and they perform pretty well. As the distance from equator has been detected not to be statistically insignificant in several specifications (for Asia and Europe) a combination of exogenous geographical variables enters the model with positive results. The basic specification of the model fits well the context of Africa and South America. It however performs badly for Asia. The quality of institutions is of prime importance for southern hemisphere economies as well as for former (currently economies in transition) and current socialist economies. The permanent improvement in the quality of institutions is the key determinant of success of economic transformation – underperformance in this area leads to smaller gains in terms of GDP per capita levels attained.
    Keywords: economic growth, economic development, institutions, geography, openness, panel data models, Hausman-Taylor estimator
    Date: 2008–05
  7. By: Jose Alberto Molina (Department of Economic Analysis, University of Zaragoza, Spain); Maria Navarro (Department of Economic Analysis, University of Zaragoza, Spain); Ian Walker (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, UK)
    Abstract: We study how fathers’ and mothers’ income satisfaction correlate with the income satisfaction of their sons and daughters, as well as with other economic and sociodemographic variables. We estimate these correlations using data on parents and children in households surveyed in the eight waves of the European Community Household Panel-ECHP (1994-2001) for 14 EU countries. To assess the robustness of simple correlations to we exploit siblings in the Panel and we investigate the sensitivity of the estimates to the inclusion of other control variables. We also adopt a multi-level random effects ordered probit specification that exploits step-parents in the data to allow us to decompose nature from nurture effects. Our headline results suggest strong altruism effects, but these estimated effects differ across countries, differ between mothers and fathers, and are different between sons and daughters.
    Date: 2007–06–12
  8. By: Ian Walker (University of Warwick and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Yu Zhu (University of Kent and Centre for the Economics of Education)
    Abstract: The widely held view that separation has adverse effects on children has been the basis of important policy interventions. While a small number of analyses have been concerned with selection into divorce, no studies have attempted to separate out the effects of one parent (mostly the father) leaving, from the effects of that parent's money leaving, on the outcomes for the child. This paper is concerned with early school leaving and educational attainment and their relationship to parental separation, and parental incomes. While we find that parental separation has strong effects on these outcomes this result seems not to be robust to adding additional control variables. In particular, we find that when we include income our results then indicate that father’s departure appears to be unimportant for early school leaving and academic achievement, while income is significant. This suggests that income may have been an important unobservable, that is correlated with separation and the outcome variables, in earlier research. Indeed, this finding also seems to be true in our instrumental variables analysis – although the effect of income is slightly weakened.
    Keywords: parental separation, parental incomes, early school leaving, educational attainment
    JEL: D13 D31 J12 J13 J16 J22
    Date: 2007–06–12

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