nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒06‒03
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Life Satisfaction among Rural Low-income Mothers: The Influence of Health, Human, Personal, and Social Capital By Sheila Mammen; Jean W. Bauer; Daniel Lass
  2. The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness By Stevenson, Betsey; Wolfers, Justin
  3. Does the value of quality of life depend on duration? By Nancy Devlin; Aki Tsuchiya; Ken Buckingham; Carl Tilling
  4. Health inequality in Nordic welfare states - more inequality or the wrong measures? By Brekke, Kjell Arne; Kverndokk, Snorre

  1. By: Sheila Mammen (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst); Jean W. Bauer (Family Social Sciences Department, University of Minnesota); Daniel Lass (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
    Abstract: The satisfaction with life (SWL) among rural low-income mothers was assessed using a sample of 163 mothers who participated in a multi-state, three-year longitudinal study. Dependent variables included those that represented various forms of capital (health, human, personal and social) as well as the mothers’ levels of life satisfaction from prior years. Nearly two-thirds of the rural mothers were satisfied with their life in all three years. Their level of satisfaction appeared to be constant, however, such persistence had a time frame of only one year. In all three years, their depression score and the adequacy of their income had a significant effect on SWL. Their confidence as a parent and home ownership affected their life satisfaction during two years. Finally, their satisfaction with social relationships, age of the youngest child, and total number of children had an impact on their life satisfaction for one year.
    Keywords: Satisfaction with life, rural low-income mothers, health capital, human capital, personal capital, social capital, homeostatis
    JEL: I30 I31 I32 I39
    Date: 2009–02
  2. By: Stevenson, Betsey (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania); Wolfers, Justin (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging − one with higher subjective well-being for men.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, life satisfaction, happiness, gender, job satisfaction, women's movement
    JEL: D6 I32 J1 J7 K1
    Date: 2009–05
  3. By: Nancy Devlin (Office of Health Economics, London); Aki Tsuchiya (Economics Department, University of Sheffield); Ken Buckingham (Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Otago); Carl Tilling (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield)
    Abstract: The aims of this study are to investigate the feasibility of eliciting Time Trade Off (TTO) valuations using short durations; to determine the effect of contrasting durations on individuals’ responses to the TTO; to examine variations within and between respondents’ values with respect to duration; and to consider the insights provided by participants’ comments and explanations regarding their reaction to duration in the valuation task. 27 participants provided TTO values using short and long durations for three EQ-5D states. Feedback was sought using a series of open ended questions. Of the 81 opportunities to observe it, strict constant proportionality was satisfied twice. 11 participants had no systematic relationship between duration and value; 11 provided consistently lower valuations in long durations, while 5 had higher valuations in long durations. Comments provided by participants were consistent with the values they provided. Mean TTO values did not differ markedly between alternative durations. We conclude that it is feasible to elicit TTO values for short durations. There is considerable heterogeneity in individuals’ responses to the time frames used to elicit values. Further research is required to ensure that the values used in cost effectiveness analysis adequately represent preferences about quality and length of life.Keywords: EQ-5D; PROMs, health outcomes; performance indicators
    Date: 2009–05
  4. By: Brekke, Kjell Arne (Department of Economics, University of Oslo,); Kverndokk, Snorre (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Several empirical papers have indicated that the health inequalities in the Nordic welfare states seem to be at least as high as health inequalities in other European countries even if the Nordic states have a more egalitarian income structure. This is in contrast to standard economic theory that predicts that income equality should lead to health equality everything else equal. We argue that there may be a straightforward explanation why Nordic countries appear to have a steeper health gradient than other countries. Health and income are related, and the correlation between income and health will be weaker the more noise there is in terms of other determinants of income. If the Nordic countries have succeeded in reducing the impacts of other determinants of income, like social class, then the correlation between income and health will be stronger in the Nordic countries. This story also holds for other measures of health inequality. However, if the causality is running from income to health, there may be a reason why health inequality is higher in more egalitarian states based on cognitive stress theory. We argue however, that even in this case the difference between Nordic states and the rest of Europe may be a result of poor measures.
    Keywords: Health inequality; socio-economic status; Nordic welfare states; egalitarian countries
    JEL: D31 I12
    Date: 2009–05–19

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