nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒06‒13
thirteen papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Measuring Child Poverty and Well-Being: a literature review By Roelen, Keetie; Gassmann, Franziska
  2. How Does Employment Affect the Timing of Time with Children? By Jay Stewart; Mary Dorinda Allard
  3. A Note on the High Stability of Happiness : The Minimal Effects of a Nuclear Catastrophe on Life Satisfaction By Eva M. Berger
  4. SEN’S ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY Capabilities and Human Development in the Revival of Economics as a Moral Science By L.A. Duhs
  5. Religion and Human Capital in Ghana By Blunch, N.
  6. Democracy in America: Labor Mobility, Ideology, and Constitutional Reform By Congleton, R.D.
  7. Fertility and Schooling: How this relation changed between 1995 and 2005 in Colombia By Luis Fernando Gamboa; Nohora Forero Ramírez
  8. Capital Natural, Capital Humano y Participación de los Factores. Una Revisión de los Métodos de Medición del Crecimiento Económico By Hernando Zuleta; Julián David Parada; Jacobo Campo
  9. Keeping up or falling behind? The impact of benefit and tax uprating on incomes and poverty By Ruth Hancock; John Hills; Holly Sutherland; Francesca Zantomio
  10. Remittances and Subjective Welfare in a Mixed-Motives Model: Evidence from Fiji By Richard P.C. Brown; Eliana V. Jimenez
  11. The Emerging Aversion to Inequality: Evidence from Poland 1992-2005 By Irena Grosfeld; Claudia Senik;
  12. The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State By Graziella Bertocchi
  13. Job Satisfaction of the Employees in the Mobile Phone Corporates in Bangladesh: A Case Study By Mohammad A. Ashraf, M. H. R. Joarder and R. Al-Masum

  1. By: Roelen, Keetie; Gassmann, Franziska
    Abstract: Due to the acknowledgment that children deserve special focus in poverty measurement, the measurement of child poverty and well-being has received increasing attention within the academic and policy arena. The dependence of children on their direct environment for the provision of basic needs, the child-specific requirements in terms of their basic needs and the request for specific information for the formulation of child-focused policies are important reasons calling for the development of child poverty approaches. A range of approaches has been developed in the last decade to meet the need for a measurement tool especially geared to capture children and internalize their specific needs. Each of these approaches differ with respect to their chosen identification mechanism, aggregation methodology and data requirements. Decisions made on all these elements involve a set of advantages and disadvantages and have consequences for the usefulness of the approach to serve a specific purpose or audience. This review provides a structural overview of the current state of literature on the measurement of child poverty and well-being. We conclude that there are no perfect approaches for the measurement of child poverty and that each approach is the result of a specific conceptual framework in accordance with the availability of resources.
    Keywords: child poverty; poverty measurement
    JEL: I3 P46 I32
    Date: 2008–01–31
  2. By: Jay Stewart (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics); Mary Dorinda Allard (Program Director, ATUS)
    Abstract: A large body of literature has examined the effect of parental employment--primarily maternal employment--on the amount of time spent with children and in childcare activities, and it is well documented that employed parents spend less time with their children than nonemployed parents. But not all time is equal. Research on circadian rhythms suggests that children’s ability to benefit from parents’ enriching childcare activities, such as reading to and playing with their children, varies by time of day. Thus, we would expect parents to engage in these enriching activities at times of day when it is the most valuable to their children. If employment causes parents to shift their childcare activities away from times when it is the most valuable, then differences in the amount of time that employed and nonemployed parents spend in childcare underestimate the effect of employment on parents’ quality-adjusted time with their children. In this study, we examine whether employment results in parents shifting the time spent engaging in childcare activities to times that may be less productive. We develop a simple model of timing that predicts that parents will spend more time with their children when it is most productive. We then use data from the American Time Use Survey to compare workdays to nonwork days, and find that employment significantly affects the timing of enriching childcare activities for both mothers and fathers who are employed full time. In particular, these parents shift enriching childcare activities into the evening hours. In contrast, part-time employment has a much smaller effect on when mothers spent time with their children. Thus, part-time employment not only allows mothers to spend more time with their children compared to fulltime employment, it also allows them to spend that time when it may be the most beneficial and enjoyable.
    Keywords: Timing of Activities, Childcare, Time use
    JEL: J13 J22
    Date: 2008–06
  3. By: Eva M. Berger
    Abstract: Using life satisfaction as a direct measure of individual utility has become popular in the empirical economic literature. In this context, it is crucial to know what circumstances or changes the measure is sensitive to. Is life satisfaction a volatile concept that is affected by minor changes in life circumstances? Or is it a reliable measure of personal happiness? This paper will analyze the impact of a catastrophe, namely the nuclear catastrophe of Chernobyl, on life satisfaction. I use longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study and especially information collected on a monthly basis which allows the researcher to study calendar effects. The following clear-cut results are found. While concern about the environment rose immediately after the nuclear incident, life satisfaction changed little. This suggests that although people were aware of the severity of the catastrophe, they did not feel that their individual well-being had been affected. This finding is highly relevant to the life satisfaction literature as it shows that the life satisfaction measure is very stable and robust against societal and global events. It is shown to predominantly reflect personal life circumstances like health, employment, income, and the family situation and this relationship is apparently not disturbed by global events. Thus, my results reinforce previous findings on the relationship between life satisfaction and individual life characteristics as the stability of their outcome measure is approved.
    Keywords: Subjective Well-Being, Happiness, Environmental Protection, Household Panel, SOEP
    JEL: I31 A12 A19
    Date: 2008
  4. By: L.A. Duhs (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: Sen joins a line of economists – including Cropsey, Schumacher, Myrdal, Ward, Higgins and Etzioni – who have objected to the implicit political philosophy within orthodox neo-classical economics. He argues that the good or just society requires policies to remove all forms of “unfreedoms”, and policies to equalise the extent of capability deprivation. This capabilities approach calls for a rejection of utilitarianism, libertarianism and Rawlsianism in favour of the conception of justice provided by his putatively Smithian/Aristotelian approach. In taking the expansion of freedom to be both the principal end and the principal means of development, however, Sen ignores other philosophical positions which lead to quite different conclusions. Accordingly, his argument remains incomplete and unpersuasive, and the most fundamental questions remain to be resolved.
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Blunch, N.
    Abstract: This paper examines the religion-human capital link, examining a recent household survey for Ghana. Insights from the recent anthropological literature leads to a prediction of Islam being associated with lower human capital levels than Christianity, since Islam, perhaps surprisingly, may be clustered together with Traditional/Animist religion within the group of orally based religions for the case of Ghana. While previous studies typically have only considered the main religions, thereby not allowing for heterogeneous associations in the links at the sub-group level, and also have not allowed religious affiliation to be endogenously determined, these possibilities are explored here, as well. I find a strong association between individual religious affiliation and human capital as measured by years of schooling, with Christians as a group being more literate and having completed more years of schooling than Muslims and Animists / Traditionalists, thus confirming the predictions from the conceptual framework. At the same time, there is a great deal of heterogeneity in the strength of this relationship within different types of Christianity. The instrumental variables estimation strategy proves to be preferable to OLS, while at the same yielding higher associations in the religion-human capital relations ship. In turn, this indicates that previous studies, which have typically used OLS, may have systematically underestimated the strength of the religion-human capital link. Directions for future research are also presented.
    Keywords: Religion, human capital, literacy and numeracy, Ghana.
    JEL: J24 Z12
    Date: 2007–12
  6. By: Congleton, R.D.
    Abstract: Constitutional democracy in the United States emerged very gradually through a long series of constitutional bargains in the course of three centuries. No revolutions or revolutionary threats were necessary or evident during most of the three century–long transition to constitutional democracy in America. As in Europe, legislative authority gradually increased, wealth-based suffrage laws were gradually eliminated, the secret ballot was introduced, and the power of elected officials increased. For the most part, this occurred peacefully and lawfully, with few instances of open warfare or revolutionary threats. A theory of constitutional exchange grounded in rational choice models provides a good explanation for the distinctive features of American constitutional history, as it does for much of the West, although it does less well at explaining the timing of some changes.
    Date: 2007–09
  7. By: Luis Fernando Gamboa; Nohora Forero Ramírez
    Abstract: We test the existence of changes in the relationship between fertility and schooling in Colombia for women from 30 to 40 years old between 1995 and 2005. For our purpose, we use Poisson Regression Models. Our database is the Demographic and Health Survey from 1995 and 2005. We found a reduction in the fertility during this period and an increase in the educative level of the population. According to our results the total number of children a woman has, keeps an inverse relationship with her educative level, which may be explained by the effects of education on the knowledge of the fertility. We also find that the effect of an additional year of education in 1995 is higher than 2005. Besides, we also find that there are significant rural-urban differences in the determinants on fertility for Colombia’s women in the last decade. *** En este trabajo se pretende evaluar la existencia de cambios en la relación entre fecundidad y escolaridad en Colombia para mujeres de 30 a 40 años de edad entre 1995 y 2005. Para tal efecto se utilizan modelos de Poisson sobre la Encuesta Nacional de Demografía y Salud 1995 y 2005. Se encuentra una reducción en la fecundidad durante el periodo y su relación inversa con la escolaridad, que puede ser explicada por el efecto de la educación sobre otras variables como el incremento en el conocimiento sobre los programas de control natal. Se encuentra además que el efecto de un año adicional de educación sobre la fecundidad es mayor en 1995 que en 2005. De otro lado, se encuentra que las diferencias entre zonas urbanas y rurales son significativas en la explicación de la fecundidad en Colombia durante la última década.
    Date: 2008–06–04
  8. By: Hernando Zuleta; Julián David Parada; Jacobo Campo
    Abstract: Este trabajo aporta dos elementos básicos para el análisis del crecimiento económico en Colombia: En primer lugar, para el cálculo de la participación de los factores en el producto, se separa el ingreso de capital físico del ingreso de capital natural y el ingreso del trabajo básico del ingreso de capital humano. Con esta metodología se comprueba que la participación de los factores reproducibles tiene una tendencia creciente como lo sugieren los modelos de innovaciones sesgadas. En segundo lugar, utilizando los nuevos cálculos de participación de los factores, se desarrolla un ejercicio de contabilidad de crecimiento, este procedimiento permite identificar con mayor precisión el comportamiento de la productividad total de los factores. *** We provide two basic elements for the analysis of the economic growth in Colombia: In order to get the factor shares, we separate produced physical capital income from natural capital income and raw labor income from the human capital income. We find that the share of reproducible factors has an increasing trend (as suggested by biased innovations models). Second, using the new calculations, we perform an exercise of growth accounting. This procedure allows us to identify with major precision the behavior of total factor productivity.
    Date: 2008–06–05
  9. By: Ruth Hancock (School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia); John Hills (London School of Economics); Holly Sutherland (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Francesca Zantomio (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: Each year, the Government decides how much to raise benefits and tax allowances. In the UK the basis for these upratings is rarely debated, yet has major long-term consequences for the relative living standards of different groups as well as for the public finances. This paper considers the medium term implications of present uprating policies which vary across parameters of the tax-benefit system. Continuing for 20 years, other things staying the same, would result in a near doubling of the child poverty rate alongside a substantial gain to the public finances. At the same time pensioners are largely protected by the earnings indexation of pensioner benefits and, in time, the basic state pension. We show how difficult it will be to meet the UK child poverty targets unless the greater inequality inherent in the current regime for uprating payments and allowances is redressed.
    Keywords: benefits, income, poverty
    Date: 2008–05
  10. By: Richard P.C. Brown; Eliana V. Jimenez (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: To analyze migrants’ remittance motivations we extend the mixed-motives model of private transfers developed by Cox et al (2004), incorporating subjectively-assessed recipient welfare. We test the model with customized survey data from Fiji, finding evidence supportive of altruism for households below a subjective threshold level, indicating that international migrants’ remittances provide important social protection coverage to households where formal social protection systems are lacking.Unlike previous studies, we also find a positive, exchange-motivated relationship for those above the threshold. The conventional linear model applied to the same sample uncovers neither relationship. We conclude that either crowding-out or crowding-in of remittances can occur when recipients’ welfare improves, depending on the household’s pre-transfer welfare level. The net effects of recipients’ welfare improvements on remittances, and the effects of remittances on poverty alleviation and income distribution, are consequently more complex and ambiguous than previous studies suggest.
    Date: 2008
  11. By: Irena Grosfeld; Claudia Senik;
    Abstract: This paper provides an illustration of the changing tolerance for inequality in a context of radical political and economic transformation and rapid economic growth. We focus on the Polish experience of transition and explore self-declared attitudes of the citizens. Using monthly representative surveys of the population, realized by the Polish poll institute (CBOS) from 1992 to 2005, we identify a structural break in the relation between income inequality and subjective evaluation of well-being. The downturn in the tolerance for inequality (1997) coincides with the increasing distrust of political elites.
    Keywords: inequality, subjective satisfaction, breakpoint, transition.
    JEL: C25 D31 I30 P20 P26
    Date: 2008–04–01
  12. By: Graziella Bertocchi (-)
    Abstract: We offer a rationale for the decision to extend the franchise to women within a politico-economic model where men are richer than women, women display a higher preference for public goods, and women’s disenfranchisement carries a societal cost. We first derive the tax rate chosen by the male median voter when women are disenfranchised. Next we show that, as industrialization raises the reward to mental labor relative to physical labor, women’s relative wage increases. When the cost of disenfranchisement becomes higher than the cost of the higher tax rate which applies under universal enfranchisement, the male median voter is better off extending the franchise to women. A consequent expansion of the size of government is only to be expected in societies with a relatively high cost of disenfranchisement. We empirically test the implications of the model over the 1870-1930 period. We proxy the gender wage gap with the level of per capita income and the cost of disenfranchisement with the presence of Catholicism, which is associated with a more traditional view of women’s role and thus a lower cost. The gender gap in the preferences for public goods is proxied by the availability of divorce, which implies marital instability and a more vulnerable economic position for women. Consistently with the model’s predictions, women suffrage is affected positively by per capita income and negatively by the presence of Catholicism and the availability of divorce, while women suffrage increases the size of government only in non-Catholic countries.
    Keywords: women suffrage, inequality, public goods, welfare state, culture, family, divorce
    JEL: P16 J16 N40 H50
    Date: 2008–02–01
  13. By: Mohammad A. Ashraf, M. H. R. Joarder and R. Al-Masum (University Utara Malaysia; United International University, Bangladesh; North South University, Bangladesh)
    Abstract: Optimizing employee satisfaction is a key to the success of any business that relies on a variety of organizational and psycho-economic factors. This study was conducted to identify that sort of key factors, which are responsible to influence on the overall job satisfaction in the growing mobile phone corporate in Bangladesh. The phone corporates, which are included here in the study, are Grameen Phone (GP), Bangla Link and Aktel. The factors included in the investigation as independent variables are Compensation Package, Supervision, Career Growth, Training and Development, Working atmosphere, Company Loyalty and Performance Appraisal. The result indicates that training and performance appraisal, work atmosphere, compensation package, supervision, and company loyalty are the key factors that impact on employees’ job satisfaction in these corporations. The study also finds that the employees of these three corporations possessed above of the moderate level and positive attitude towards job satisfaction, which could be nudged up to excellent status of employee satisfaction if the management takes those identified factors with a little more rigorous weight into their considerations and acts further accordingly.
    Date: 2008–06

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