New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒02‒22
eleven papers chosen by

  1. On a Class of human development index measures By Srijit Mishra; Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan
  2. A conceptual framework for development of sustainable development indicators By Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan; B. Sudhakara Reddy
  3. Gender-based indicators in human development: Correcting for missing women By Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan
  4. Being religious - A Question of Incentives? By Anja Klaubert
  5. L'etica cattolica e lo spirito del capitalismo By Zamagni, Stefano
  6. The fragility of social capital By Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
  7. Does money affect happiness and self-esteem? The poor borrowers' perspective in a quasi-natural experiment By Becchetti, Leonardo; Castriota, Stefano
  8. Revisiting the economy by taking into account the different dimensions of well-being By Becchetti, Leonardo
  9. Apertura dell'economico alla relazionalita' By Verde, Melania
  10. Quality of Life in the Regions: An Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis for West German Labor Markets By Rusche, Karsten
  11. International Evidence on the Social Context of Well-Being By John F. Helliwell; Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh; Anthony Harris; Haifang Huang

  1. By: Srijit Mishra (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)
    Abstract: Using Minkowski distance function we propose a class of Human Development Index measures. Special cases of this turn out to be the popularly used linear average method as also a newly proposed displaced ideal method. Two measures of penalty are suggested. One captures the non-uniform attainment across dimensions and the other captures the deviation from the ideal path. A method of adjusting for unequal weights is also provided.
    Keywords: Ideal path, Penalty, Minkowski distance function, Multiple dimensions, Uniform development
    JEL: D63 I31 O15
    Date: 2008–10
  2. By: Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); B. Sudhakara Reddy (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)
    Abstract: There was a boom in the development of sustainable development indicators (SDIs) after notion of sustainability became popular through Bruntland Commission's report. Since then numerous efforts have been made worldwide in constructing SDIs at global, national and local scales, but in India not a single city has registered any initiative for indicator development . Motivated by this dearth of studies added to the prevailing sustainability risks in million plus cities in India, a research is being undertaken at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development and Research (IGIDR), Mumbai, India, to develop a set of sustainable indicators to study the resource dynamics of the city of Mumbai. As a first step in the process, the ground for development of SDIs is prepared through the development of a framework. A multi-view black box (MVBB) framework has been constructed by eliminating the system component from the extended urban metabolism model (EUMM) and introducing three-dimensional views of economic efficiency (EE), social wellbeing (SW), and ecological acceptability (EA). Domain-based classification was adopted to facilitate a scientifically credible set of indicators. The important domain areas are identified and applying MVBB framework, a model has been developed for each domain.
    Keywords: Urban metabolism, Resources transformation, Economic efficiency, Society, Ecology, Monitoring and evaluation, City development, Black box, Productization of process
    JEL: Q01 Q56 O18
    Date: 2008–03
  3. By: Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)
    Abstract: Gender Development Index and Gender Empowerment Measure are two gender-based indicators provided by the United Nations Development Program. Population share of the genders enter the formulation of these indicators in such a way that it favours the better performing gender. This can lead to further additions to `missing women'. A correction is proposed to capture this anomaly. This alternative satisfies an axiom of Monotonicity with its two corollaries, that is, given attainments the measure maximizes at ideal sex ratio and vanishes when one of the genders becomes extinct. An empirical illustration by taking life expectancy data of countries is given.
    Keywords: Ideality, Extinction, Index, Inequality, Sex-ratio
    JEL: D63 J16 I31 O15
    Date: 2008–09
  4. By: Anja Klaubert (Institute of Economics, University of Lüneburg)
    Abstract: Studies of the relationship between religion and economics can be divided into three major lines of research: behavioural economics of religion (microeconomic approach), macroeconomic consequences of religion and religious explanations of economic phenomena. Except for the third line strong evidence has been found on the microeconomic level of individuals and households that economic behaviour and outcome correlate with religion. Furthermore the role of religion on the macroeconomic level, e.g. the impact on economic growth, has been analyzed, too. However, only a few models integrating these two levels exist. In order to exemplify such an integrated model, the first step of the analysis has to be the examination of the decisions taken on the microeconomic level. For this purpose this paper focuses on rational incentives to be religious and to take part in religious activities without taking into account the benefits derived from religious believes itself.
    Keywords: religion, incentives, individual religiosity
    JEL: A1 B4 Z12
    Date: 2009–02
  5. By: Zamagni, Stefano (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: E' noto che la moralita', in quanto componente essenziale dell'infrastrutturazione istituzionale di una societa', se da un lato pone vincoli (formali e informali) all'agire umano, dall'altro lato sprigiona opportunita', spesso rilevanti, di azione. Invero, attraverso la moralita', e piu' in generale la cultura, l'uomo non ha bisogno di trasformarsi in una nuova specie per adattarsi all'ambiente che lui stesso ha contribuito a modificare. Questo e' vero anche "e forse soprattutto" per l'agire economico, che e' tipicamente un agire vincolato. La struttura originaria dell'azione economica, infatti, prevede sempre un qualche fine che si desidera conseguire secondo certe modalita' - nel rispetto di determinati vincoli. Due sono le categorie di vincoli: tecnico-naturali, gli uni (ad esempio, per produrre un certo bene e' necessario sia conoscere la tecnologia di produzione sia disporre degli input richiesti); morali, gli altri (quelli, ad esempio, che statuiscono che non e' lecito sfruttare i propri collaboratori pur di ottenere risultati migliori, oppure che non e' consentito tradire la fiducia altrui per trarne vantaggi personali). Ora, mentre e' alle scienze naturali che viene affidato il compito di determinare il primo tipo di vincoli, e' all'etica che viene attribuito il ruolo di fissare i vincoli di natura morale. Chiaramente, sistemi etici diversi - quali ad esempio il deontologismo kantiano, il contrattualismo hobbesiano, l'utilitarismo benthamiano, l'etica delle virtu' di impianto aristotelico - condurranno a vincoli morali diversi; il che - a sua volta - portera' ad esiti economici anche molto diversi. Si noti pero' l'asimmetria profonda: mentre i vincoli tecniconaturali tendono ad uniformarsi pur tra culture e ambienti istituzionali diversi - cio' che spiega la relativa facilita' con la quale il sapere tecnico-scientifico trasmigra da un luogo all'altro - i vincoli morali dipendono o, quantomeno, risentono della particolare matrice culturale prevalente in un dato ambiente e in una data epoca storica.
    Keywords: etica cattolica; spirito del capitalismo; mercato civile
    JEL: A13
    Date: 2008–02–09
  6. By: Antoci, Angelo (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Sabatini, Fabio (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Sodini, Mauro (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: This paper addresses two hot topics of the contemporary debate, social capital and economic growth. Our theoretical analysis sheds light on decisive but so far neglected issues: how does social capital accumulate over time? Which is the relationship between social capital, technical progress and economic growth in the long run? The analysis shows that the economy may be attracted by alternative steady states, depending on the initial social capital endowments and cultural exogenous parameters representing the relevance of social interaction and trust in well-being and production. When material consumption and relational goods are substitutable, the choice to devote more and more time to private activities may lead the economy to a "social poverty trap", where the cooling of human relations causes a progressive destruction of the entire stock of social capital. In this case, the relationship of social capital with technical progress is described by an inverted U-shaped curve. However, the possibility exists for the economy to follow a virtuous trajectory where the stock of social capital endogenously and unboundedly grows. Such result may follow from a range of particular conditions, under which the economy behaves as if there was no substitutability between relational activities and material consumption.
    Keywords: Social capital; Technical progress; Social sphere; Economic action; Well-being; Social poverty trap
    JEL: A13
    Date: 2009–01–13
  7. By: Becchetti, Leonardo (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Castriota, Stefano (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: Research on the nexus between life satisfaction and income has looked at lottery winners or postcommunism transition to document that exogenous changes in income generate effects of the same sign on happiness. In this paper we consider the unfortunate tsunami event as a negative lottery and examine the effects of the tsunami related income losses, net of the most ample possible set of concurring factors, on life satisfaction and self-esteem of a sample of Sri Lankan microfinance borrowers. Our empirical findings help to discriminate between various effects of material damages and monetary losses, both having strong significant impact on the dependent variables. Our contribution to the literature is in: i) identifying an exogenous shock which is temporary and does not suffer from voluntary participation bias (unfortunate "winners" of the negative lottery, exactly as control sample, did not decide to buy the lottery ticket); ii) testing the money-happiness nexus on a sample of individuals close to the poverty line.
    Keywords: life satisfaction; quasi natural experiment; tsunami; natural catastrophe
    JEL: I31 I32
    Date: 2008–02–06
  8. By: Becchetti, Leonardo (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: In standard economic models benevolent governments are the unique actors in charge to tackle the problem of reconciling individual with social wellbeing in presence of negative externalities and insufficient provision of public goods. Some promising practices of grassroot economics suggest however that, even a minoritarian share of concerned individuals and socially responsible corporations which internalise externalities, significantly enhance the opportunities of promoting "sustainable happiness" harmonising creation of economic, social and environmental value.
    Keywords: well-being; sustainable happiness; role; ethical and solidarity initiatives
    JEL: A13
    Date: 2009–01–29
  9. By: Verde, Melania (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: Come e' ampiamente noto l'economia nasce come scienza della "pubblica felicita'". In particolare, gli italiani Antonio Genovesi e Pietro Verri sono stati i primi a considerare le relazioni personali un bene in se' e ad indicare nella partecipazione alla vita civile la fonte della pubblica felicita'. Poi l'eclissi. Il pensiero neoclassico ha oscurato la felicita': l'economia diventa la scienza che studia il mercato come luogo in cui individui razionali si scambiano beni e servizi per soddisfare preferenze esclusivamente soggettive. Le relazioni personali diventano puramente strumentali: servono a procurarsi cioe' atri beni e servizi, non sono un bene in se' e scelte economiche sono guidate esclusivamente dall'auto interesse. Il paradigma interpretativo dell'homo oeconomicus porta i diversi soggetti ad adottare comportamenti ottimizzanti.
    Keywords: relazionalita'; relational good; pubblica felicita'; livello di soddisfazione
    JEL: A13
    Date: 2008–10–21
  10. By: Rusche, Karsten
    Abstract: Which of Germanys regions is the most attractive? Where is it best to live and work - on objective grounds? These questions are summed up in the concept “quality of life”. This paper uses recent research projects that determine this parameter to examine the spatial distribution of quality of life in Germany. For this purpose, an Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis is conducted which focuses on identifying statistically significant (dis-)similarities in space. An initial result of this research is that it is important to choose the aggregation level of administrative units carefully when considering a spatial analysis. The level plays a crucial role in the strength and impact of spatial effects. In concentrating on various labor market areas, this paper identifies a significant spatial autocorrelation in the quality of life, which seems to be characterized by a North-Mid-South divide. In addition, the ESDA results are used to augment the regression specifications, which helps to avoid the occurrence of spatial dependencies in the residuals.
    Keywords: Quality of Life; Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis; Functional Economic Areas; Spatial Econometrics; LISA Dummies
    JEL: R10 R50 D63 R12
    Date: 2008–10–01
  11. By: John F. Helliwell; Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh; Anthony Harris; Haifang Huang
    Abstract: This paper uses the first three waves of the Gallup World Poll to investigate differences across countries, cultures and regions in the factors linked to life satisfaction, paying special attention to the social context. Our principal findings are: First, using the larger pooled sample, we find that answers to the satisfaction with life and Cantril ladder questions provide consistent views of what constitutes a good life, with an average of the two measures providing a clearer picture than either measure on its own. Second, we find strong evidence for the importance of both income and social context variables in explaining within-country and international differences in well-being. For most specifications tested, the combined effects of a few measures of the social and institutional context are as large as those of income in explaining both international and intra-national differences in life satisfaction. Third, the very significant influences of both income and social factors permit the calculation of compensating differentials for social factors. We find very large income-equivalent values for key measures of the social context. Fourth, the international similarity of the estimated equations suggests that the large international differences in average life evaluations are not due to different approaches to the meaning of a good life, but to differing social, institutional, and economic life circumstances.
    JEL: D6 I3 J1 O0 O10 P51 P52
    Date: 2009–02

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