New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2008‒12‒14
seven papers chosen by

  1. Catastrophic health expenditure and household well-being By Ramses H. Abul Naga; Karine Lamiraud
  3. Is Informality a Good Measure of Job Quality? Evidence from Job Satisfaction Data By Carmen Pages; Lucia Madrigal
  4. Long Term Persistence By Luigi Guiso; Paola Sapienza; Luigi Zingales
  5. Population Aging and Economic Growth: the effect of health expenditure By Atsue Mizushima
  6. Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions By Richard H. Steckel
  7. Happiness Adaptation to Income beyond "Basic Needs" By Rafael Di Tella; Robert MacCulloch

  1. By: Ramses H. Abul Naga; Karine Lamiraud
    Abstract: According to the catastrophic health expenditure methodology a house-hold is in catastrophe if its health out-of-pocket budget share exceeds a critical threshold. We develop a conceptual framework for addressing three questions in relation to this methodology, namely: 1. Can a budget share be informative about the sign of a change in welfare? 2. Is there a positive association between a household.s poverty shortfall and its health out-of-pocket budget share? 3. Does an increase in population coverage of a health insurance scheme always result in a reduction of the prevalence of catastrophic expenditures?
    Keywords: Catastrophic health expenditure, welfare change, poverty, performance of health insurance schemes
    JEL: I1 I3
    Date: 2008–11
  2. By: Kanyi, Peter M.; Baharanyi, Ntam; Ngandu, Mudiayi; Zabawa, Robert
    Abstract: This study assessed homeownership and how it is affected by race, residency in or out of Alabama Black Belt, family status, poverty and other variables. All variables showed significant relationship to Alabama homeownership with single-parenthood showing a negative impact on White homeownership but insignificant to Black homeownership in the region.
    Keywords: Public Economics,
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Carmen Pages; Lucia Madrigal
    Abstract: The formality status of a job is the most widely used indicator of job quality in developing countries. However, a number of studies argue that, at least for some workers, the informality status may be driven by choice rather than exclusion. This paper uses job satisfaction data from three low-income countries (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) to assess whether informal jobs are less valued than formal jobs. The paper finds substantial differences in job satisfaction within different types of informal jobs. More importantly, the results suggest that across different definitions, informality does not yield the same ranking of job quality as self-reported measures of job satisfaction. This correspondence varies across countries, and it seems to be lower for less-skilled workers.
    Keywords: Job Satisfaction, Informality, Quality of Employment, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala.
    JEL: J21 J28 O17
    Date: 2008–12
  4. By: Luigi Guiso; Paola Sapienza; Luigi Zingales
    Abstract: Is social capital long lasting? Does it affect long term economic performance? To answer these questions we test Putnam’s conjecture that today marked differences in social capital between the North and South of Italy were due to the culture of independence fostered by the free city-states experience in the North of Italy at the turn of the first millennium. We show that the medieval experience of independence has an impact on social capital within the North, even when we instrument for the probability of becoming a city-state with historical factors (such as the Etruscan origin of the city and the presence of a bishop in year 1,000). More importantly, we show that the difference in social capital among towns that in the Middle Ages had the characteristics to become independent and towns that did not exists only in the North (where most of these towns became independent) and not in the South (where the power of the Norman kingdom prevented them from doing so). Our difference in difference estimates suggest that at least 50% of the North-South gap in social capital is due to the lack of a free city-state experience in the South.
    Keywords: social capital, culture, persistence, institutions, economic development
    JEL: O N P0
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Atsue Mizushima
    Abstract: Rising longevity has led to population aging in developed countries, causing increasing concerns about its economic impact. Specially, the trend of population aging increases health expenditure in developed countries, and 70% to 80% of health expenditure is funded by public sector. Therefore, this paper focuses on the health demand in an aging economy and examines how the aging of the population and public health funding (PHF) affects agents' behavior. For this purpose, we construct a simple growth model and examine the e®ect of aging and PHF on saving and the growth rate. We show that an increase in life expectancy increases the growth rate in the economy without PHF, but that it has an inverted U-shaped relation in the economy with PHF. From the welfare standpoint, we show that it increases the intergenerational conflict between current and future generation and that PHF has the result of alleviating the conflict.
    Keywords: life expectancy, household production, economic growth, social welfare
    JEL: I10 J14 O41
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Richard H. Steckel
    Abstract: Since 1995 approximately 300 publications on stature have appeared in the social sciences, which is a five-fold increase in the rate of production relative to the period 1977-1994. The expansion occurred in several areas, but especially within economics, indicating that heights have become a traditional source of evidence for study of human welfare. Much of this work extends beyond the traditional bailiwick of anthropometric history, including biological welfare during economic and political crises; anthropometric determinants of wages; the welfare of women relative to men in the contemporary world; the fetal origins hypothesis; and inequality in the developing world. The approach has also expanded within economic history to consider the consequences of empire for colonials; the health of populations lacking traditional measures of social performance; the consequences of smallpox; and very long-term trends in health. Much has also been learned about socioeconomic aspects of inequality, the welfare implications of industrialization, and socioeconomic determinants of stature. The last is a work in progress and one may doubt whether sufficient longitudinal evidence will become available for a complete understanding of the variety and strength of pathways that affect human physical growth.
    JEL: N00 O1
    Date: 2008–12
  7. By: Rafael Di Tella; Robert MacCulloch
    Abstract: We test for whether, once "basic needs" are satisfied, there is happiness adaptation to further gains in income using three data sets. Individual German Panel Data from 1985-2000, and data on the well-being of over 600,000 people in a panel of European countries from 1975-2002, shows different patterns of adaptation to income across the rich and poor. We find evidence that for wealthy Germans, and for the rich half of European nations, higher levels of per capita income don't buy greater happiness. The reason appears to be adaptation. However even for the rich half of European nations such habituation may take over 5 years so the happiness gains that they experience, whilst not permanent, can still be relatively long-lasting. Finally we study a cross section of nations in 2005 from the World Gallup Poll and find that the past 45 years of economic growth (from 1960-2005) in the rich half of nations has not brought happiness gains above those that were already in place once the 1960s standard of living had been achieved. However in the poorest half of nations we cannot reject the null hypothesis that the happiness gains they have experienced from the past 45 years of growth have been the same as the gains that they experienced from growth prior to the 1960s.
    JEL: D0 I31
    Date: 2008–12

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