nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒10‒28
six papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Quality of Life in Urban Neighborhoods in Costa Rica By Roger Madrigal Author-X-Name_First: Roger Author-X-Name_Last: Madrigal; Juan Robalino Author-X-Name_First: Juan Author-X-Name_Last: Robalino; Luis J. Hall Author-X-Name_First: Luis J. Author-X-Name_Last: Hall
  2. Work Expectations, Realizations, and Depression in Older Workers By Tracy A. Falba; William T. Gallo; Jody L. Sindelar
  3. A Crowding-Out Effect for Relative Income By Benno Torgler; Bruno S.Frey; Markus Schaffner; Sascha L.Schmidt
  4. Urban Inequality By Edward L. Glaeser; Matthew G. Resseger; Kristina Tobio
  5. Consumption, Happiness, and Climate Change By Cohen, Mark A.; Vandenbergh, Michael P.
  6. Environmental Participation and Environmental Motivation By Benno Torgler; Maria A. Garcia-Valinas; Alison Macintyre

  1. By: Roger Madrigal Author-X-Name_First: Roger Author-X-Name_Last: Madrigal; Juan Robalino Author-X-Name_First: Juan Author-X-Name_Last: Robalino; Luis J. Hall Author-X-Name_First: Luis J. Author-X-Name_Last: Hall
    Abstract: This paper considers valuation of amenities in urban neighborhoods and satisfaction with both those neighborhoods and life in general. First, rents are used to estimate neighborhood amenities price in San Jose, which explain 39 percent of the standardized variation of rents. Some districts rank very high in housing characteristics but poorly in neighborhood amenities, while others rank poorly in housing characteristics but high in neighborhood amenities, suggesting that indirect policy measures might reduce inequality in urban areas through improving neighborhood amenities. Second, the paper explores differences in the valuation of amenities by calculating prices in different urban areas. In more sparsely populated urban areas, distance to national parks becomes less important, but distance to primary roads becomes more important. Finally, housing and safety satisfaction represent the key components of life satisfaction.
    Date: 2008–10
  2. By: Tracy A. Falba; William T. Gallo; Jody L. Sindelar
    Abstract: We explore the impact on depressive symptoms of deviation in actual labor force behavior at age 62 from earlier expectations. Our sample of 4,241 observations is drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). We examine workers who were less than 62 years of age at the 1992 HRS baseline, and who had reached age 62 by our study endpoint, enabling comparison of actual labor force withdrawal with earlier expectations. Poisson regression were used to estimate the impact of expected full-time work status on depressive symptoms; regressions are estimated separately for those working fulltime at age 62 and those not working fulltime. We found significant effects on depression at age 62 both for full-time workers who expected not to be working full-time, and for participants not working full-time who expected to be doing so. These results hold even after adjustment for earlier depressive symptoms, sociodemographic and other relevant controls. The findings suggest that working longer and retiring earlier than expected each may compromise psychological well-being. The current financial crisis may result in both scenarios as some workers may have to work longer than expected due to the decline in pension and other wealth while others may retire earlier due to job loss.
    JEL: I10 I18 J14 J18 J26
    Date: 2008–10
  3. By: Benno Torgler; Bruno S.Frey; Markus Schaffner; Sascha L.Schmidt
    Abstract: The risk of external interventions crowding-out intrinsic motivation has long been established in economics. This paper introduces a new dimension by arguing that a crowding-out effect does become possible if individuals receive higher relative compensation. Using a unique, large data set that focuses on 26 seasons in basketball (NBA) we find empirical support for a relative crowding-out effect. Performance is reduced as a reaction to a relative income advantage.
    Keywords: Crowding-out, relative income, positional concerns, motivation
    JEL: D00 D60 L83
    Date: 2008–10–23
  4. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Matthew G. Resseger; Kristina Tobio
    Abstract: What impact does inequality have on metropolitan areas? Crime rates are higher in places with more inequality, and people in unequal cities are more likely to say that they are unhappy. There is also a negative association between local inequality and the growth of both income and population, once we control for the initial distribution of skills. What determines the degree of inequality across metropolitan areas? Twenty years ago, metropolitan inequality was strongly associated with poverty, but today, inequality is more strongly linked to the presence of the wealthy. Inequality in skills can explain about one third of the variation in income inequality, and that skill inequality is itself explained by historical schooling patterns and immigration. There are also substantial differences in the returns to skill, related to local concentrations in different industries, and these too are strongly correlated with inequality.
    JEL: H0 I0 J0 R0
    Date: 2008–10
  5. By: Cohen, Mark A. (Resources for the Future); Vandenbergh, Michael P.
    Abstract: In this article, we explore the implications of this literature for understanding the relationship between climate change policies and consumption. We identify a number of ways in which accounting for the implications of the new happiness literature could lead to laws and policies that influence consumption in ways that increase the prospects for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developed and developing countries. We do not examine every nuance of the growing happiness literature, but we provide a brief introduction and observations that we hope will stimulate further efforts by academicians and policymakers.
    Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, subjective well-being
    JEL: Q54 I31 D31
    Date: 2008–10–15
  6. By: Benno Torgler; Maria A. Garcia-Valinas; Alison Macintyre
    Abstract: We explore whether environmental motivation affects environmental behavior by focusing on volunteering. The paper first introduces a theoretical model of volunteering in environmental organizations. In a next step, it tests the hypothesis working with a large micro data set covering 32 countries from both Western and Eastern Europe using several different proxies to measure environmental motivation. Our results indicate that environmental motivation has a strong impact on individuals’ voluntary engagement in environmental organizations. A higher level of environmental motivation due to higher environmental moral standards may lead to a stronger voluntary involvement in environmental organizations.
    Keywords: environmental participation, environmental motivation, environmental morale, pro-environmental attitudes, social capital
    JEL: D11 H41 H26 H73 D64
    Date: 2008–10–23

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