nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒06‒27
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Objective overeducation and worker well-being: a shadow price approach By D. VERHAEST; E. OMEY
  2. Meet the Joneses: An Empirical Investigation of Reference Groups in Relative Income Position Comparisons By Markus Schaffner; Benno Torgler
  3. Does early maternal employment affect non-cognitive children outcomes? By Zsuzsa Blasko
  4. Finding a job: Consequences for life satisfaction and interactions with job quality By Grün, Carola; Hauser, Wolfgang; Rhein, Thomas
  5. The Evolution of the Labor Market and Leisure Industries in Spain: Quality of Life versus Standard of Living By Paramio, Juan Luis; Zofío, José Luis

    Abstract: This paper examines, for a sample of Flemish school leavers, the relation between objective over-education and job satisfaction by applying a shadow price approach. We differentiate between direct effects of overeducation and indirect effects via other job characteristics that are associated with overeducation. Additional fixed-effects estimates are executed to account for individual heterogeneity. The utility consequences of overeducation are found to be large and cannot be compensated by a reasonable wage increase at the start of the first employment. These outcomes suggest that, at labour market entry, overeducation is largely involuntary, and is likely to induce negative productivity costs. The negative consequences of overeducation are also found to dimi-nish with years of work experience.
    Keywords: overeducation, mismatch, underemployment, job satisfaction, well-being, shadow price
    JEL: J24 J28
    Date: 2008–04
  2. By: Markus Schaffner; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: It is generally understood that people care about their absolute income position, and several studies have in fact moved beyond this, showing that people also place considerable significance on their relative income position. However, empirical evidence about the behavioural consequences is scarce. We address this shortcoming by exploring the relative income effect in a (controlled) sporting contest environment. Specifically, we look at the pay-performance relationship by working with a large panel data set consisting of 26 NBA seasons. We explore how closeness affects positional concerns exploring in detail several potential reference groups. This allows checking of their relevance and of the scope of comparisons, a critical aspect in the literature that requires further investigation.
    Date: 2008–06–17
  3. By: Zsuzsa Blasko (Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: This review aims at summarizing research-findings in the field of early maternal employment and children's psychological development. We are concentrating on maternal work during the first 4-5 years of children's life, and look at research investigating linkages between maternal employment and various aspects of children's psychological functioning in these early years or later. Most articles discussed here came from the Journal of Marriage and the Family, although some other journals are also included. When selecting the articles, attempts were made to collect relatively recent papers if possible from various research traditions, including sociological as well as psychological approaches. Our review has shown that according to the existing research evidence early maternal employment per se has a clear adverse effect on children's socioemotional development only if it happens in the first year of children's life. Consequences of later employment (eg. when the child reaches 4 year of age) might even include positive ones. In itself, it also seems to do very little difference whether the mother works full time or part time. It is only extremely long hours that might cause concern. There are however other circumstances that might divert the impact of maternal work into a negative direction. These include incongruence between maternal employment preferences and actual behaviour, high level of occupational stress, low income and low complexity of work. When these circumstances are present, children of working mothers are more likely to show behavioural problems than their counterparts. Possible negative effects of maternal employment can in theory be overcome by a high quality alternative care and also with much attention given to the child in the restricted amount time the mother can spend with her/him. In the reality however, risk factors tend to accumulate and positive factors are not easily available for those most in need.
    Keywords: maternal employment, behaviour problems, psychological development, early ages
    JEL: I29 J13
    Date: 2008–06
  4. By: Grün, Carola (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Hauser, Wolfgang; Rhein, Thomas (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "Using German and British panel data, we analyse the impact of transitions from unemployment to full-time employment on life satisfaction, with special focus on the influence of job quality. On average there are pronounced positive effects of a new job in both countries, even after controlling for income changes and other factors. These effects are smaller for people taking up low-paid jobs (in Germany, but not in Britain) or temporary jobs, but even this group is significantly better off compared to people remaining unemployed in both countries. We also use job satisfaction as an alternative indicator of job quality. Re-employed persons with low job satisfaction scores are not likely to experience a significant rise in life satisfaction." (author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Keywords: Arbeitslose, berufliche Reintegration - Auswirkungen, Lebenssituation - Zufriedenheit, Arbeitsplatzqualität, Lohnhöhe, befristeter Arbeitsvertrag, Großbritannien, Bundesrepublik Deutschland
    Date: 2008–06–12
  5. By: Paramio, Juan Luis (Departamento de Educación Física, Deportes y Motricidad Humana. Universidad Autónoma); Zofío, José Luis (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
    Abstract: We discuss the effects that the emergence of the new post-industrial form of flexible capitalist organization has on the Spanish labor market and, by extension, on the working life of two representative groups of employees characterized by their casual and stable working conditions. This brings a growing duality in the labor market, where individuals who cannot escape casual employment coexist with those enjoying long term contracts. This concern includes how these changes affect the nature and the ways in which these particular groups understand quality of life and standard of living, which in turn serves to call into question the ‘end of work’ and the expected ‘leisure society’. In addition, we highlight several circumstances that illustrate a decay in job quality and working conditions, particularly the increase in working hours. Parallel to this process we identify a work-and-spend behavior, resulting in overspent families that exhibit financial fragility and give up quality of life, associated with more free time, for higher living standards, which demand an increasing job commitment. Free time from work has become a scarce resource in Spain, and for those individuals belonging to what is known as the ‘new leisure class’, it is associated with high spending leisure activities, which has increased the economic importance of leisure industries.
    Keywords: Labour market; cycle of work-and-spend; free time; leisure industries; Spain
    JEL: J08 J22 J31
    Date: 2008–06

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