nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒04‒05
six papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Measuring Power and Satisfaction in Societies with Opinion Leaders: Properties of the Qualified Majority Case By René Van Den Brink; Agnieszka Rusinowska; Frank Steffen
  2. The Obesity Epidemic: Analysis of Past and Projected Future Trends in Selected OECD Countries By Franco Sassi; Marion Devaux; Michele Cecchini; Elena Rusticelli
  3. Child Well-Being and Sole-Parent Family Structure in the OECD: An Analysis By Simon Chapple
  4. Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK By Mike Brewer; Anita Ratcliffe; Sarah Smith
  5. Confronting Objections to Performance Pay: A Study of the Impact of Individual and Gain-sharing Incentives on the Job Satisfaction of British Employees By Pouliakas, Konstantinos; Theodossiou, Ioannis
  6. Work, Jobs and Well-Being across the Millennium By Andrew E. Clark

  1. By: René Van Den Brink (Tinbergen Institute - Tinbergen Institute); Agnieszka Rusinowska (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines); Frank Steffen (ULMS - University of Liverpool Management School - University of Liverpool Management School)
    Abstract: A well known and established model in communication policy in sociology and marketing is that of opinion leadership. It is based on the idea of a two-step flow of communication. Opinion leaders are actors in a society who are able to affect the behavior of other members of the society called followers. Hence, opinion leaders might have a considerable impact on the behaviorof markets and other social agglomerations being made up of individual actors choosing among a number of alternatives. For marketing purposes it appears to be interesting to investigate the effect of different opinion leader-follower structures in markets or any other collective decision-making situations in a society.We study a two-action model in which the members of a society are to choose one action, for instance, to buy or not to buy a certain joint product, or to vote yes or no on a specific proposal. Each of the actors has an inclination to choose one of the actions. By definition opinion leaders have some power over other actors, their followers, and they exercise this power by influencing the behavior of their followers, i.e. their choice of action. After all actors have chosen their actions, a decision-making mechanism determines the collective choice resulting out of the individual choices. The structure of the relations between the actors can be represented by a bipartite digraph. We analyze such digraphs investigating satisfaction and power distributions within societies with and without the opinion leaders. Moreover, we study common properties of the satisfaction and power measures and illustrate our findings and some marketing implications for a society with five members.
    Keywords: Bipartite digraph; influence; inclination; collective choice; opinion leader; follower; satisfaction; power
    Date: 2009
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00371813_v1&r=hap
  2. By: Franco Sassi; Marion Devaux; Michele Cecchini; Elena Rusticelli
    Abstract: This paper provides an overview of past and projected future trends in adult overweight and obesity in OECD countries. Using individual-level data from repeated cross-sectional national surveys, some of the main determinants and pathways underlying the current obesity epidemic are explored, and possible policy levers for tackling the negative health effect of these trends are identified. First, projected future trends show a tendency towards a progressive stabilisation or slight shrinkage of pre-obesity rates, with a projected continued increase in obesity rates. Second, results suggest that diverging forces are at play, which have been pushing overweight and obesity rates into opposite directions. On one hand, the powerful influences of obesogenic environments (aspects of physical, social and economic environments that favour obesity) have been consolidating over the course of the past 20-30 years. On the other hand, the long term influences of changing education and socio-economic conditions have made successive generations increasingly aware of the health risks associated with lifestyle choices, and sometimes more able to handle environmental pressures. Third, the distribution of overweight and obesity in OECD countries consistently shows pronounced disparities by education and socio-economic condition in women (with more educated and higher socio-economic status women displaying substantially lower rates), while mixed patterns are observed in men. Fourth, the findings highlight the spread of overweight and obesity within households, suggesting that health-related behaviours, particularly those concerning diet and physical activity, are likely to play a larger role than genetic factors in determining the convergence of BMI levels within households.<P>Obésité : Analyses des tendances dans les pays de l’OCDE<BR>Ce document fournit une vue d’ensemble des tendances passées et futures des taux de surpoids et d’obésité dans les pays de l’OCDE. L’utilisation de données individuelles issues d’enquêtes transversales nationales a permis d’explorer les déterminants principaux et les cheminements sous-jacents à l’épidémie d’obésité, et d’identifier de possibles leviers politiques pour contrer les effets négatifs de ces tendances sur la santé. Premièrement, les projections futures confirment la tendance vers une stabilisation progressive voire une faible baisse des taux de pré-obésité, accompagnée d’une augmentation continuelle des taux d’obésité. Deuxièmement, les résultats suggèrent que des forces divergentes sont en jeu, poussant les taux de surpoids et d’obésité dans deux directions opposées. D’une part, la forte influence d’un environnement obésogène (les aspects de l’environnement physique, social et économique qui favorisent l’obésité) a été confirmée au cours des 20-30 dernières années. D’autre part, l’influence sur le long terme de l’évolution de l’éducation et des conditions socio-économiques a rendu les générations successives de plus en plus conscientes des risques pour la santé liés aux choix de vie, et parfois plus aptes à gérer la pression de l’environnement. Troisièmement, les distributions des taux de surpoids et d’obésité dans les pays de l’OCDE montrent de façon cohérente des disparités marquées selon l’éducation et les conditions socio-économiques chez les femmes (plus éduquées et ayant un statut socio-économique plus élevé, les femmes ont des taux considérablement plus faibles), alors que des résultats variés sont observés chez les hommes. Quatrièmement, les résultats soulignent l’étendu du surpoids et de l’obésité au sein des ménages, et suggèrent que les comportements liés à la santé en particulier ceux concernant l’alimentation et l’activité physique, jouent probablement un rôle plus important que les facteurs génétiques dans la détermination du niveau de l’IMC au sein des ménages.
    Keywords: obesity, obesogenic environment, socio-economic inequality, household
    JEL: D12 I12 I32
    Date: 2009–03–20
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:oec:elsaad:45-en&r=hap
  3. By: Simon Chapple
    Abstract: This paper addresses the causal impact of being raised in a sole-parent family on child well-being across the OECD. The question is answered by a cross-OECD meta-analysis and a literature review. There are widely varying rates of sole parenthood across the OECD. Rates of sole parenthood have generally been rising in the past few decades. Inevitably, countries with higher rates of sole parenthood are more concerned about the potential well-being effects on children. The reasons for sole parenthood include never having partnered, having separated and divorced, and being widowed. The composition of sole parents by these reasons varies widely across OECD countries. Views on the desirability of two-parent families for raising children are also divergent across the OECD.<BR>Ce document examine l’impact de l’appartenance à une famille monoparentale sur le bien-être des enfants dans les pays de l’OCDE. Il marque l’aboutissement d’une méta-analyse et d’un examen des travaux publiés sur le sujet dans ces différents pays. Le taux de monoparentalité varie considérablement d’un pays de l’OCDE à l’autre. D’une manière générale, ce taux a augmenté au cours des toutes dernières décennies. Bien évidemment, les pays où ce taux est élevé se préoccupent plus que les autres des effets possibles de la monoparentalité sur les enfants en termes de bien-être. Les causes de monoparentalité incluent le fait de ne jamais avoir vécu en couple, la séparation, le divorce et le veuvage. C’est la raison pour laquelle la composition des familles monoparentales est extrêmement variable d’un pays de l’Organisation à l’autre. Sur le point de savoir s’il est souhaitable que les enfants soient élevés par leurs deux parents, les avis diffèrent également selon les pays. La méta-analyse de 122 études de pays de l’OCDE hors États-Unis conclut qu’en moyenne, les effets préjudiciables de la monoparentalité sur le bien-être des enfants sont faibles, constat grosso modo conforme à celui de méta-analyses antérieures, fondées en grande partie sur des études américaines. Plus l’étude est de bonne qualité, plus la taille de l’effet constaté est faible. La taille des effets varie également d’un pays de l’Organisation à l’autre mais il n’a pas été possible de rattacher systématiquement ce phénomène à des différences de politique. Quoi qu’il en soit, si les effets sont faibles, toute interprétation de causalité doit impérativement s’appuyer sur des hypothèses solides.
    JEL: J12 J13
    Date: 2009–03–23
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:oec:elsaab:82-en&r=hap
  4. By: Mike Brewer (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Anita Ratcliffe (Institute for Fiscal Studies and CMPO, University of Bristol); Sarah Smith (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Centre for Market and Public Organisation)
    Abstract: <p>In 1999 the UK government made major reforms to the system of child-contingent benefits, including the introduction of Working Families' Tax Credit and an increase in means-tested Income Support for families with children. Between 1999-2003 government spending per-child on these benefits rose by 50 per cent in real terms, a change that was unprecedented over a thirty year period. This paper examines whether there was a response in childbearing. To identify the effect of the reforms, we exploit the fact that the spending increases were targeted at low-income households and we use the (exogenously determined) education of the woman and her partner to define treatment and control groups. We argue that the reforms are most likely to have a positive fertility effect for women in couples and show that this is the case. We find that there was an increase in births (by around 15 per cent) among the group affected by the reforms. </p>
    Keywords: Welfare reform; fertility; Working Families Tax Credit
    JEL: J13 J18 H53
    Date: 2008–11
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:08/09&r=hap
  5. By: Pouliakas, Konstantinos; Theodossiou, Ioannis
    Abstract: The increasing use of incentive pay schemes in recent years has raised concerns about their potential detrimental effect on intrinsic job satisfaction (JS), job security and employee morale. This study explores the impact of pay incentives on the overall job satisfaction of workers in the UK and their satisfaction with various facets of jobs. Using data from eight waves (1998-2005) of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and a uniquely-designed well-being dataset (EPICURUS), a significant positive impact on job satisfaction is only found for those receiving fixed-period bonuses. These conclusions are robust to unobserved heterogeneity, and are shown to depend on a number of job-quality characteristics that have not been controlled for in previous studies.
    Keywords: performance-related-pay; job satisfaction; job security; intrinsic satisfaction; sorting;
    JEL: J33 J28
    Date: 2009–03–03
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:14244&r=hap
  6. By: Andrew E. Clark
    Abstract: This paper uses repeated cross-section data ISSP data from 1989, 1997 and 2005 to consider movements in job quality. It is first underlined that not having a job when you want one is a major source of low well-being. Second, job values have remained fairly stable over time, although workers seem to give increasing importance to the more “social” aspects of jobs: useful and helpful jobs. The central finding of the paper is that, following a substantial fall between 1989 and 1997, subjective measures of job quality have mostly bounced back between 1997 and 2005. Overall job satisfaction is higher in 2005 than it was in 1989. Last, the rate of self-employment has been falling gently in ISSP data; even so three to four times as many people say they would prefer to be self-employed than are actually self-employed. As the self-employed are more satisfied than are employees, one consistent interpretation of the above is that the barriers to self-employment have grown in recent years.<BR>Ce document exploite des données transversales de l’International Social Science Programme (ISSP) portant sur différentes périodes (1989, 1997 et 2005) pour examiner l’évolution de la qualité des emplois. Dans un premier temps, il est souligné que le fait de ne pas avoir d’emploi quand on le voudrait amoindrit considérablement le sentiment de bien-être. Vient ensuite un constat selon lequel la valeur des emplois est demeurée relativement stable au fil du temps. Pour autant, les travailleurs semblent accorder une importance croissante à la dimension « sociale » de leur emploi, privilégiant des notions d’utilité et de services rendus. La principale conclusion du document est que, après une dégradation significative entre 1989 et 1997, les indicateurs subjectifs de la qualité des emplois se sont pour la plupart redressés entre 1997 et 2005. Le degré de satisfaction global à l’égard du travail est plus élevé en 2005 qu’il ne l’était en 1989. Enfin, dans les données de l’ISSP, le taux d’emploi indépendant a diminué tout doucement. Malgré tout, les individus qui disent préférer cette forme d’activité sont trois à quatre fois plus nombreux que ceux qui exercent réellement à titre indépendant. Comme les travailleurs indépendants sont plus satisfaits de leur emploi que les salariés, on peut logiquement en déduire que les obstacles au travail indépendant ont augmenté ces dernières années.
    JEL: J21 J28 J3 J6 J81 L26
    Date: 2009–03–23
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:oec:elsaab:83-en&r=hap

This nep-hap issue is ©2009 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at http://nep.repec.org. For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <director@nep.repec.org>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.