nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒09‒20
ten papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Fringe Benefits and Job Satisfaction By Benjamin Artz
  2. Life expectancy and the environment By Fabio Mariani; Agustin Pérez-Barahona; Natacha Raffin
  3. WP n. 15 - Measuring Well-Being differences across EU Countries. A Multidimensional Analysis of Income, Housing, Health, and Education By Elisabetta Croci Angelini; Alessandra Michelangeli
  4. International evidence on well-being By David G. Blanchflower
  5. Did the Decline in Social Capital Depress Americans’ Happiness? By Stefano Bartolini; Ennio Bilancini; Maurizio Pugno
  6. A Dynamic Analysis of Human Welfare in a Warming Planet By Humberto Llavador; John E. Roemer; Joaquim Silvestre
  7. Training, Job Satisfaction and Workplace Performance in Britain: Evidence from WERS 2004 By Jones, Melanie K.; Jones, Richard J.; Latreille, Paul L.; Sloane, Peter J.
  8. Dynamic Labour Supply Effects of Childcare Subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian Natural Experiment on Low-Fee Universal Child Care By Pierre Lefebvre; Philip Merrigan; Matthieu Verstraete
  9. I can't get no Satisfaction - Necessity Entrepreneurship and Procedural Utility By Joern Block; Philipp Koellinger
  10. Is there a divergence between objective measures and subjective perceptions of poverty trends? Evidence from West and Central Africa By Wodon, Quentin

  1. By: Benjamin Artz (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
    Abstract: Fringe benefits stand as an important part of compensation but confirming their role in determining job satisfaction has been mixed at best. The theory suggesting this role is ambiguous. Fringe benefits represent a desirable form of compensation but might result in decreased earnings and reduced job mobility. Using a pooled cross-section of five NLSY waves, fringe benefits are established as significant positive determinants of job satisfaction, even after controlling for individual fixed effects and testing for the endogeneity of fringe benefits.
    JEL: C23 J28 J32
    Date: 2008–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:uww:wpaper:08-03&r=hap
  2. By: Fabio Mariani (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, Ecole d'économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Agustin Pérez-Barahona (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Natacha Raffin (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, Ecole d'économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: We present an OLG model in which life expectancy and environmental quality dynamics are jointly determined. Agents may invest in environmental quality, depending on how much they expect to live, but also in order to leave good environmental conditions to future generations. In turn, environmental conditions affects life expectancy.The model produces multiple steady states development regimes) and initial conditions do matter. In particular, some countries may be trapped in a low life expectancy /low environmental quality trap. This outcome is consistent with stylized facts relating life expectancy and environmental performance measures. Possible strategies to escape from this kind of trap are also discussed. Finally, this result is robust to the introduction of human capital through parental education expenditures.
    Keywords: Environmental quality; life expectancy; poverty traps.
    Date: 2008–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00318677_v1&r=hap
  3. By: Elisabetta Croci Angelini (Università di Macerata); Alessandra Michelangeli (University of Milan-Bicocca and Econpubblica-Bocconi University)
    Abstract: <p align="justify">This paper investigates the evolution of the inequality in well-being across di erent EU countries between 1994 and 2001 by means of a multidimensional approach focusing on income, housing, education and health. We first analyse the four dimensions each by each through an univariate Atkinson-Kolm-Sen index. Then the distributions of each attribute are aggregated into an index which takes into account the possible correlation between dimensions. Our empirical results summarize the trends in inequality for the four indicators of well-being considered both separately and jointly, over time and across countries. Since our multidimensional index depends on the values assigned to the parameters, we test the sensitivity of the trend in well-being inequality for di erent normative choices.</p>
    Keywords: Inequality indicators,European Union,Well-being,Multidimensionality
    JEL: O1 O11
    Date: 2008–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:mcr:wpaper:wpaper15&r=hap
  4. By: David G. Blanchflower
    Abstract: National Time Accounting is a way of measuring society's well-being, based on time use. Its explicit form is the U-index, for "unpleasant" or "undesirable", which measures the proportion of time an individual spends in an unpleasant state. In this paper I review cross-country evidence on happiness and life satisfaction and consider whether these data will likely be replaced by the U-index. I find that first, that there are many similarities. According to both measures happiness is higher for the more educated, for married people, for those with higher income and for whites and lower for the unemployed; is U-shaped in age and un-trended over time in the USA although they are trended up in a number of EU countries and especially so in developing countries. Equivalent results are found using self-reported unhappiness data. Second, there is a large body of data on happiness that is unavailable on the U-index. For example, according to happiness research well-being across nations is lower the higher is the unemployment rate, the current inflation rate and the highest inflation rate in a person's adult life. Higher inequality also lowers happiness. Third, we know little about the predictive power of the U-index. Happiness and life satisfaction data seem able to forecast migration flows. Fourth, happy people are particularly optimistic about the future. Fifth, according to the happiness data the US ranks above France but the U-index suggests the reverse.
    JEL: I1 J0
    Date: 2008–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14318&r=hap
  5. By: Stefano Bartolini; Ennio Bilancini; Maurizio Pugno
    Abstract: Most popular explanations cannot fully account for the declining trend of U.S. reported well-being during the last thirty years. We test the hypothesis that the relationship between social capital and happiness at the individual level accounts for what is left unexplained by previous research. We provide three main findings. First, several indicators of social capital are significantly correlated with reported happiness. Second, social capital indicators for the period 1975-2004 show a declining trend. Finally, the trend of happiness can be largely accounted for by the increasing trend of income, the increasing trend of reference income and the declining trend of social capital – in particular by the decline of its relational and non-instrumental components
    Keywords: happiness, social capital, economic growth, relational goods, intrinsic motivations
    JEL: I3 O1
    Date: 2008–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:usi:wpaper:540&r=hap
  6. By: Humberto Llavador; John E. Roemer; Joaquim Silvestre
    Abstract: Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have caused atmospheric concentrations with no precedents in the last half a million years, inducing serious uncertainties about future climates and their effects on human welfare. Recent climate science supports the view that the climate stabilization will require very low GHG emissions in the future. We ask: Is a path of low emissions compatible with sustainable levels of human welfare? With steady growth in human quality of life? Addressing these questions requires both defining welfare criteria and empirically estimating the possible paths of the economy. We specify and calibrate a dynamic model with four intertemporal links: education, physical capital, knowledge and the environment. In line with Nordhaus (2008a) and with the Stern Review (2007), we assume that GHG emissions allow increased production, while a higher stock of atmospheric carbon decreases production. Our index of human welfare, which we call quality of life (QuoL), emphasizes education, knowledge, and the environment, affected by greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to consumption and leisure. Thus, we avoid a Consumptionist Fallacy – that welfare depends only on commodity consumption and perhaps leisure. We reject discounted utilitarianism as a normative criterion, and consider two alternatives. The first is an intergenerational maximin criterion, which maximizes the quality of life of the first generation subject to maintaining at least that level for all successive generations. The second is human development optimization, that seeks the maximization of the QuoL of the first generation subject to achieving a given, constant rate of growth in all subsequent generations. Hence, our analysis focuses on a human notion of sustainability, as opposed to the conventional “green” sustainability, limited to keeping the quality of the environment constant. Because our dynamic optimization programs defy explicit analytical solutions, our approach has been computational. As a benchmark, we consider a simple model with physical and human capital, for which we prove a turnpike theorem. We then devise a computational algorithm inspired by the turnpike property to construct feasible, although not necessarily optimal, paths in the more complex and realistic model. Our analysis indicates that, with GHG emission paths entailing very low emissions in the future, positive rates of growth in QuoL are possible while the first generation experiences a QuoL higher than the historical reference level. We also observe a tradeoff between the quality of life of the first generation and the rate of growth in the quality of life. Yet Generation 1’s sacrifice for the sake of a higher growth rate appears to be small. The paths that we compute involve investments in knowledge at noticeably higher levels than in the past.
    Keywords: Quality of life, climate change, education, maximin, growth
    JEL: D63 O40 O41 Q50 Q54 Q56
    Date: 2008–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:upf:upfgen:1110&r=hap
  7. By: Jones, Melanie K. (University of Wales, Swansea); Jones, Richard J. (University of Wales, Swansea); Latreille, Paul L. (University of Wales, Swansea); Sloane, Peter J. (University of Wales, Swansea)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the relationship between training, job satisfaction and workplace performance using the British 2004 Workplace Employee Relations Survey (WERS). Several measures of performance are analysed including absence, quits, financial performance, labour productivity and product quality. While there is clear evidence that training is positively associated with job satisfaction, and job satisfaction in turn is positively associated with most measures of performance, the relationship between training and performance is complex, depending on both the particular measures of training and of performance used in the analysis.
    Keywords: training, job satisfaction, absence, quits, financial performance, labour market, product quality
    JEL: J0 J2 J3
    Date: 2008–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3677&r=hap
  8. By: Pierre Lefebvre; Philip Merrigan; Matthieu Verstraete
    Abstract: This paper shows that a temporary incentive to join the labor market or to work more can also produce substantial life-cycle labor supply effects. On September 1997, a new childcare policy was initiated by the provincial government of Québec, the second most populous province in Canada. Licensed and regulated providers of childcare services began offering day care spaces at the subsidized fee of $5 per day per child for children aged 4. In successive years, the government reduced the age requirement, created new childcare facilities and spaces, and paid for the additional costs entailed by this low-fee policy. No such important policy changes for preschool (including kindergarten) children were enacted in the nine other Canadian provinces over the years 1997 to 2004. Using annual data drawn from Statistics Canada's Survey on Labour and Income Dynamic and a difference-in-differences quasi experimental methodology, the paper estimates the dynamic labor supply effects of the program. The results demonstrate that the policy had long-term labor supply effects on mothers who benefited from the program when their child was less than 6. A striking feature of the results is that they are driven by changes in the labor supply of less educated mothers.
    Keywords: Mother's labour supply, preschool and primary school children, childcare policy, treatment effects, natural experiment
    JEL: H42 J21 J22
    Date: 2008
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0824&r=hap
  9. By: Joern Block (Technische Universität München); Philipp Koellinger (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: We study a unique sample of 1,547 nascent entrepreneurs in Germany and analyze which factors are associated with their self-reported satisfaction regarding their start-up. Our study identifies a new facet of procedural utility and offers new insights about the motivations and goals of nascent entrepreneurs. Most importantly, we identify a group of nascent entrepreneurs that “cannot get satisfaction” with their start-up—not because their start-up fails to deliver financial returns, but because they did not choose to become entrepreneurs in the first place. This group of unsatisfied entrepreneurs includes individuals starting a business after a period of long-term unemployment and those individuals with a lack of better employment alternatives (necessity entrepreneurs). In addition, we provide additional evidence for the importance of both financial and non-financial incentives of entrepreneurs. While financial success is the most important determinant of start-up satisfaction, achievement of independence and creativity is also highly important. Our results emphasize the relevance of procedural utility for understanding economic behavior.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Satisfaction; Procedural Utility; Unemployment; Necessity Entrepreneurship
    JEL: J24 J17 L26
    Date: 2008–09–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20080078&r=hap
  10. By: Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: Several sub-Saharan African countries have succeeded at increasing their economic growth rate in recent years, and this has translated into substantial poverty reduction according to objective measures based on household survey data. At the same time, many people do not feel that the poverty situation has been improving in their country or community, and this is a source of concern for elected policymakers. To what extent is there a divergence between objective measures and subjective perceptions of poverty trends, and what may explain this divergence? The objective of this short dissemination note is to document and discuss this issue using data from West and Central Africa and results from a series of poverty assessments recently completed at the World Bank.
    Keywords: Poverty; Perceptions; Vulnerability; Social Services; Africa
    JEL: I30
    Date: 2007–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:10486&r=hap

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