New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒05‒02
eight papers chosen by

  1. HIV and Income Inequality: If There Is a Link, What Does It Tell Us? By Göran Holmqvist
  2. Frame-of-reference bias in subjective welfare regressions By Beegle, Kathleen; Himelein, Kristen; Ravallion, Martin
  3. Male Income, Female Income, and Household Income Inequality in Israel: A Decomposition Analysis By Kimhi, Ayal
  4. The ethics of a globalized world: a universal ethic? By Horácio Faustino, Ana Kaizeler and Rafael Marques
  5. Health Human Capital, Height and Wages in China By Wenshu Gao; Russell Smyth
  6. Exploring the impact of public services on quality of life indicators By Adriana Castelli; Rowena Jacobs; Maria Goddard; Peter C Smith
  7. Breaks in the Breaks: A Time-Series Analysis of Divorce Rates By González-Val, Rafael; Marcén, Miriam
  8. National symbols, globalization, and the well-being of nations By Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich

  1. By: Göran Holmqvist (Institute for Futures Studies and Nordic Africa Institute)
    Abstract: The global HIV prevalence map reveals striking contrasts between high- and low-prevalence countries. Africa is the most affected continent, but within Africa there is a distinct geographical pattern. A handful of Southern African countries have prevalence indicators in the range of 15?35 per cent, while rates in West African countries are in the range of 1?5 per cent and those in East African countries are somewhere in between. What explains this variation in HIV prevalence rates? The answer could offer some clues about the HIV epidemic and how to counteract it. More generally, it may also teach us something about why certain societies are more vulnerable than others to an infectious disease such as HIV. (...)
    Keywords: HIV and Income Inequality: If There Is a Link, What Does It Tell Us?
    Date: 2009–04
  2. By: Beegle, Kathleen; Himelein, Kristen; Ravallion, Martin
    Abstract: Past research has found that subjective questions about an individuals'economic status do not correspond closely to measures of economic welfare based on household income or consumption. Survey respondents undoubtedly hold diverse ideas about what it means to be"poor"or"rich."Further, this heterogeneity may be correlated with other characteristics, including welfare, leading to frame-of-reference bias. To test for this bias, vignettes were added to a nationally representative survey of Tajikistan, in which survey respondents rank the economic status of the theoretical vignette households, as well as their own. The vignette rankings are used to reveal the respondent's own scale. The findings indicate that respondents hold diverse scales in assessing their welfare, but that there is little bias in either the economic gradient of subjective welfare or most other coefficients on covariates of interest. These results provide a firmer foundation for standard survey methods and regression specifications for subjective welfare data.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,Rural Poverty Reduction,,Housing&Human Habitats,Poverty Lines
    Date: 2009–04–01
  3. By: Kimhi, Ayal
    Abstract: Differentiating between the sensitivity of income inequality to male income and female income, and decomposing inequality by income determinants, we find that total income inequality is less sensitive to female income variability or the level of female income than to male income variability or the level of male income. Uniform increases in education reduce income inequality, with female education having a larger effect than male education. The fraction of minority populations has a positive effect on inequality, but this operates mostly through female income. All this suggests that female income is the most adequate target for inequality-reducing policy, and that within-household gender equality is good for reducing income inequality among households.
    Date: 2008–12
  4. By: Horácio Faustino, Ana Kaizeler and Rafael Marques
    Abstract: In a global economy, global and universal ethics are a necessity. How can ethics be connected to the economy in an interdependent world? From all the different theories on ethics, which should we choose? Do utilitarianism and the maximization of utility promote the happiness of all or do they promote selfishness? What are the roles of international institutions in the definition of and respect for universal duties and rights? What is the relationship between the two waves of globalization and income distribution inequality around the world? These are questions that this paper raises and attempts to answer, putting forward some contributions towards the definition of a global ethic based on duties, virtues and fraternity; a universal ethic reconciling partiality in feelings with the impartiality of duties; an ethic which combining justice with solidarity and in which the means justify the ends. Key Words: Ethics, Moral, Globalization, Utility, Justice, Solidarity.
    JEL: A13 F01 F02 F13 I38
    Date: 2009–03
  5. By: Wenshu Gao; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: We estimate the returns to height using data from 12 Chinese cities. We present both ordinary least squares (OLS) and two-stage least squares (TSLS) estimates. In the latter height is instrumented using proxies for health human capital accumulated in childhood and adolescence, which influence adult height. The OLS estimates suggest that an additional centimetre of adult height is associated with wages being 1.1 per cent higher for males and 0.9 per cent higher for females. The TSLS estimates suggest each additional centimetre of adult height is associated with wages being 4.8 per cent higher for males and 10.8 per cent for females. The difference reflects the fact that the OLS estimates are predominantly determined by the random genetic factors influencing height, while the TSLS estimates also take into account returns from investment in health human capital during childhood and adolescence. These results imply considerable returns to investment in health human capital.
    Keywords: China, health, height, wages
    JEL: I10 J15 J31 J71
    Date: 2009–04
  6. By: Adriana Castelli (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK); Rowena Jacobs (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK); Maria Goddard (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK); Peter C Smith (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK)
    Abstract: The fundamental aim of public services is to improve the quality of life of citizens. The main objective of this study was to investigate the influence of public service organisations (PSOs) on aspects of quality of life (broadly measured) of citizens at a local level. We assembled a rich database using 20 of the 45 quality of life measures developed by the Audit Commission. Those we selected covered broad areas of quality of life such as safety, housing, health, education, and transport and were available at ‘small area’ level. We used a range of advanced statistical methods to analyse the relationships between PSOs and quality of life measures at different hierarchical levels. The techniques were selected to be robust when making comparisons between levels and when looking at associations between quality of life measures. Our descriptive analyses (bivariate correlations, factor analysis and ANOVA) suggested overall some significant correlations between some of the quality of life variables. The SUR model results also indicated that the quality of life indicators are correlated, and therefore that we should look at these measures in a joint modelling approach such as MVML, as envisaged in the study objectives.
    Date: 2009–04
  7. By: González-Val, Rafael; Marcén, Miriam
    Abstract: The economic literature examining changes in divorce rates is not conclusive since legal reforms have been found to have permanent, transitory or no effect on divorce rates. This paper studies differences in divorce rates among 16 European countries from 1930 to 2006, by exploiting time-series analysis. We find that 37.5% of the divorce rate’s series are stationary, so that any shock had a transitory effect. However, we also detect structural breaks in the average divorce rate for each country that are endogenously located very close to the year of the divorce law legislation (the same year or some years later).
    Keywords: Divorce rate; unit root; structural break
    JEL: C12 C22 J12 K36 J18
    Date: 2009–01–31
  8. By: Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich
    Abstract: I estimate the effects of national symbols and globalization on the well-being of 88 countries. I find that conventional determinants of production affect national well-being, measured as human development index (HDI). The effects on HDI of national symbols like national flag colors are unstable, while those of globalization are strong, with social globalization having the strongest effect. The results suggest that national symbols are important to national well-being, but nations gain more from global interactions with other nations than from national pride. Even as there is a need for further research to improve upon the results associated with the effects of national symbols, the policy implications of the findings clearly recommend increased investment in material conditions of nations and globalization.
    Keywords: National identity; national colors; globalization; well-being of nations; human development index (HDI); national flag colors
    JEL: O11 D31 O43 Z00 O57 F43
    Date: 2009–03–11

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