New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒07‒20
three papers chosen by

  1. Relational Goods, Sociability, and happiness By Leonardo Becchetti; Alessandra Pelloni; Fiammetta Rossetti
  2. I Can’t Smile Without You: Spousal Correlation in Life Satisfaction By N Powdthavee
  3. Thinking About It: A Note on Attention and Well-Being Losses From Unemployment By P Dolan; N Powdthavee

  1. By: Leonardo Becchetti (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Alessandra Pelloni (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Fiammetta Rossetti (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: The role of sociability and relational goods has generally been neglected in the formulation of standard economics textbook preferences. Our findings show that relational goods have significant and positive effects on self declared life satisfaction, net of the impact of other concurring factors. We also document that such effects persist when the equally significant inverse causality nexus is taken into account. This implies that a more intense relational life enhances life satisfaction and, at the same time, happier people have a more lively social life. Finally, we show that gender, age and education matter by showing that the effects of sociability on happiness are stronger for women, older and less educated individuals.
    Date: 2008–07–14
  2. By: N Powdthavee
    Abstract: This paper studies how spouses' life satisfaction levels are correlated. Using the British Household Panel Survey, it tests whether the observed positive correlation in life satisfaction is due to assortative mating, shared social environment, or spillover effect of well-being between partners. There is evidence of a positive and statistically important correlation between partners' well-being, even after controlling for omitted individual fixed effects and allowing cross-equation residuals to be correlated. This is consistent with the idea of well-being spillovers within marriage. Moreover, consistent with the spillover effect model, marital dissolution at t+1 is negatively correlated with partners' life satisfaction at t.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Assortative Mating, Spillover, Marriage, Longitudinal
    JEL: D1 D62 D64 I0
    Date: 2008–07
  3. By: P Dolan; N Powdthavee
    Abstract: This note investigates Schkade and Kahneman's (1998) maxim that "Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it". The paper shows that whilst becoming unemployed hurts psychologically, unemployment has a greater impact on happiness if the person also regards it as an important event that took place in the last year. This finding, particularly if it is replicated for other domains, such as health and income, will have important implications for how we think about the impact of objective circumstances on well-being and about well-being more generally.
    Keywords: Happiness, Well-being, Attention, Focusing illusion, Unemployment
    JEL: H0 I0
    Date: 2008–07

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