New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒06‒17
six papers chosen by

  1. The Value of Rude Health: Employees Well Being, Absence and Workplace Performance By David Marsden; Simone Moriconi
  2. Should Central Banks Target Happiness? Evidence from Latin America By Pavel Luengas; Inder J. Ruprah
  3. Creative destruction and employee well-being By Böckerman, Petri; Ilmakunnas, Pekka; Johansson , Edvard
  4. The Quality of Medical Care, Behavioral Risk Factors, and Longevity Growth By Frank R. Lichtenberg
  5. Opting For Families: Recent Trends in the Fertility of Highly Educated Women By Qingyan Shang; Bruce A. Weinberg
  6. Dynamic Treatment Effect Analysis of TV Effects on Child Cognitive Development By Fali Huang; Myoung-jae Lee

  1. By: David Marsden; Simone Moriconi
    Abstract: This paper brings new evidence on the relationship between employees' well being, sickness absence and fourdimensions of workplace performance i.e. productivity, efficiency, quality of service and profitability. It uses anew panel dataset with monthly observations over two years for 48 local units of a large multi-site organisationin the logistics sector. It finds that good consultation and communication at the local level are associated withlower absenteeism. It also finds that lower absence is associated with higher efficiency, productivity, quality ofthe service and profitability of the firm. Finally, the authors suggest that the link between workers' absence andthis firm's profitability runs through the increased use of replacement labour which raises short-run costs andreduces quality of service.
    Keywords: Time Allocation, absenteeism, Safety, Accidents, Industrial Health
    JEL: J22 J28
    Date: 2009–04
  2. By: Pavel Luengas (Office of Evaluation and Oversight at the Interamerican Development Bank.); Inder J. Ruprah (Office of Evaluation and Oversight at the Interamerican Development Bank.)
    Abstract: It has become common wisdom amongst monetary policy professionals that central banks in Latin America should adopt inflation targeting. Pure inflation targeting implicitly assumes a social loss welfare function dependent on only inflation. In this paper using subjective well-being survey data for Latin America we present evidence that both inflation and unemployment reduce wellbeing; where the cost of inflation in terms of unemployment, hence the relative size of the weights in a social well-being function, is about one to eight, almost double of that found for OECD countries. The weighted misery index differs in level (is higher) and change (an increase rather than a fall) from the commonly used unitary weighted index and from that of the pure inflation targeters for the period 1997 to 2006. In addition, the trade-off—and therefore the misery index—differs across subgroups, for example the young (aged 18-24 years) and left-leaning citizens are more concerned with unemployment than inflation. Thus advocates and practioners of inflation only targeting are, and increasingly so, divorced from the wellbeing of LAC citizens who are increasingly left leaning and with the youth, who given the population pyramid, are also increasing as a proportion of the population. The evidence presented in this paper, combined with the low frequency of happiness data, may not be sufficiently convincing for central banks to adopt happiness-targeting rule. However, happiness data would be useful to inform policy makers regarding the optimal disinflation policy or at least allow consciousness of the potential discontent of different sub-groups of the population of different disinflation strategies.
    Keywords: Happiness, Life Satisfaction, Inflation, Unemployment, and Misery Index
    JEL: I31 D60 D31 O54 C30
    Date: 2009–01
  3. By: Böckerman, Petri; Ilmakunnas, Pekka; Johansson , Edvard
    Abstract: We examine the effects of establishment- and industry-level labor market turnover on employees’ job satisfaction and perceived job insecurity. Our linked employer-employee panel data contain both information on employees’ subjective well-being and register-based information on job and worker flows. The results show that job destruction and worker outflow measures reduce job satisfaction and, especially, perceived security. These effects are much weaker when the individual-specific fixed effects are taken into account. The evidence also reveals that the establishment-level job and worker flows do not translate into higher wages. These findings speak against the existence of compensating wage differentials for job uncertainty.
    Keywords: job flows; worker flows; job satisfaction; perceived security; job instability
    JEL: J63 J28
    Date: 2009–05–27
  4. By: Frank R. Lichtenberg
    Abstract: The rate of increase of longevity has varied considerably across U.S. states since 1991. This paper examines the effect of the quality of medical care, behavioral risk factors (obesity, smoking, and AIDS incidence), and other variables (education, income, and health insurance coverage) on life expectancy and medical expenditure using longitudinal state-level data. We examine the effects of three different measures of the quality of medical care. The first is the average quality of diagnostic imaging procedures, defined as the fraction of procedures that are advanced procedures. The second is the average quality of practicing physicians, defined as the fraction of physicians that were trained at top-ranked medical schools. The third is the mean vintage (FDA approval year) of outpatient and inpatient prescription drugs. Life expectancy increased more rapidly in states where (1) the fraction of Medicare diagnostic imaging procedures that were advanced procedures increased more rapidly; (2) the vintage of self- and provider-administered drugs increased more rapidly; and (3) the quality of medical schools previously attended by physicians increased more rapidly. States with larger increases in the quality of diagnostic procedures, drugs, and physicians did not have larger increases in per capita medical expenditure.
    JEL: I1 J1 O3
    Date: 2009–06
  5. By: Qingyan Shang; Bruce A. Weinberg
    Abstract: Observers have argued about whether highly-educated women are opting out of their careers and for families. If so, it is natural to expect fertility to increase and, insofar as children are associated with lower employment, further declines in employment. This paper provides a comprehensive study of recent trends in the fertility of college-graduate women. We study fertility at a range of ages; consider both the intensive and extensive margins, explore a range of data sets; and study the period from 1940 to 2006. In contrast to most existing work, we find that college graduate women are indeed opting for families. Fertility increases at almost all ages along both the intensive and extensive margins since the late 1990s or 2000 and this recent increase in fertility is consistent across datasets.
    JEL: J13 J16 J22
    Date: 2009–06
  6. By: Fali Huang (School of Economics, Singapore Management University); Myoung-jae Lee (Department of Economics, Korea University)
    Abstract: We investigate whether TV watching at ages 6-7 and 8-9 affects cognitive development measured by math and reading scores at ages 8-9 using a rich childhood longitudinal sample from SY79. Dynamic panel data models are estimated to handle the unobserved child-specific factor, endogeneity of TV watching, and dynamic nature of the causal relation. A special emphasis is put on the last aspect where TV watching affects cognitive development which in turn affects the future TV watching. When this feedback occurs, it is not straightforward to identify and estimate the TV effect. We adopt estimation methods available in the biostatistics literature which can deal with the feedback feature; we also apply the “standard” econometric panel data IV approaches. Overall, for math score at ages 8-9, we find that watching TV for more than two hours per day during ages 6-9 has a negative total effect mostly due to a large negative effect of TV watching at the younger ages 6-7. For reading score, there are evidences t at TV watching between 2-4 hours per day has a positive effect whereas the effect is negative outside this range. In both cases, however, the effect magnitudes are economically small.
    Keywords: TV watching, treatment effect, panel data, dynamic model, Granger causality
    JEL: C33 I20 J13 E60
    Date: 2007–09

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