nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒02‒07
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Motivations to volunteer and social capital: the role of intrinsic motivations in promoting networks of cooperative relations By Giacomo Degli Antoni
  2. The Austrian School on Happiness and Relational Goods By Antonio Magliulo
  3. The Happiness of Giving: The Time-Ask Effect By Liu, Wendy; Aaker, Jennifer L.
  4. A Perceived Human Development Index By Neri, Marcelo

  1. By: Giacomo Degli Antoni (EconomEtica)
    Abstract: Although intrinsic motivations receive increasing attention in explaining human actions, our knowledge on their causes and effects is incomplete. Quite surprisingly, the existing literature fails to consider the relationship between intrinsic motivations and social capital formation. The present paper increases understanding on the effect of intrinsic motivations by studying the role that different motivations to volunteer have on the creation of volunteers’ social capital which is intended as networks of cooperative relations. Our empirical analysis considers three indices of social capital, aimed at measuring both the quantitative (number) and the qualitative (degree of familiarity and cooperation) character of social relations, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to volunteer (ideal motivations, the desire to feel useful to others, the pursuit of social recognition and the desire to increase the number of acquaintances or friends). We find that the creation of social capital through participation in voluntary associations is not indifferent to the motivations which induced the volunteer to start his/her unpaid activity. In particular, we show that intrinsic motivations enable people to extend their social networks by creating relations characterized by a significant degree of familiarity. By contrast, extrinsic motivations, and in particular the decision to join an association in order to increase the number of acquaintances or friends, promote the creation of networks from a quantitative point of view, but they do not facilitate the creation of relations based on a particular degree of confidence.
    Keywords: Intrinsic Motivations, Social Capital, Volunteer Work, Social Networks
    JEL: A13 D01 L31
    Date: 2009–01
  2. By: Antonio Magliulo (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche)
    Abstract: Austrian economists do not directly face the problem of the relationships between economics and happiness. They even rather rarely use the word happiness and do not bother to define the philosophical meaning of it referring to Aristotle or to the Enlightenment. They prefer to speak of human welfare: a comprehensive welfare, not limited to the satisfaction of material needs. The problem that they directly face is whether and in what sense non-instrumental human relationships (that is relational goods) can be considered and dealt with as economic goods increasing human welfare. In this way, they indirectly explore the theme of the relationships between economics and happiness.
    Keywords: Austrian School, Economics and Happiness, Well-Being, Relational Goods
    JEL: B13 D60
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Liu, Wendy (U of California, Los Angeles); Aaker, Jennifer L. (U of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: This research examines how a focus on time versus money can lead to two distinct mindsets that impact consumers' willingness to donate to charitable causes. The results of three experiments, conducted both in the lab and in the field, reveal that asking individuals to think about "how much time they would like to donate" (versus "how much money they would like to donate") to a charity increases the amount that they ultimately donate to the charity. Fueling this effect are differential mindsets activated by time versus money. Implications for the research on time, money and emotional well-being are discussed.
    Date: 2008–08
  4. By: Neri, Marcelo
    Abstract: The objective of the paper is to build a Perceived Human Development Index (PHDI) framework by assembling the HDI components, namely indicators on income, health and education on their subjective version. We propose here to introduce a fourth dimension linked to perceptions on work conditions, given its role in the “happiness†literature and in social policy making. We study how perceptions on satisfaction about the individual’s satisfaction with income, education, work and health are related to their objective counterparts. We use a sample of LAC countries where we take advantage of a larger set of questions on the four groups of social variables mentioned included in the Gallup World Poll by the IADB. We emphasize the impacts of objective income and age on perceptions. Complementarily, in the appendix we use the full sample of 132 countries where a smaller set of variables can be included, which provides a greater degree of freedom to study the impact of objective HDI components observed at country level on the formation of individual’s perception on income, education, work, health and life satisfaction. These exercises provide useful insights about the workings of beneficiaries’ point of view to understand the transmission mechanism of key social policy ingredients into perceptions. In particular, the so-called PHDI may provide a complementary subjective reference to the HDI. We also study how one’s satisfaction with life is established, measuring the relative importance given to income vis-à-vis health and education. Estimating these “instantaneous happiness functions†will help to assess the relative weights attributed to income, health and education in the HDI, which is a benchmark in the multidimensional social indicators toolbox used in practice.
    Date: 2008–12–29

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