nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒11‒14
ten papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Will growth and technology destroy social interaction? The inverted U-shape hypothesis By Antoci Angelo; Sabatini Fabio; Sodini Mauro
  2. Measuring Inequality of Well-Being with a Correlation-Sensitive Multidimensional Gini Index By Koen Decancq; Maria Ana Lugo
  3. Welfare state context, female earnings and childbearing By Gunnar Andersson; Michaela Kreyenfeld; Tatjana Mika
  4. Does Self-Employment Increase the Economic Well-Being of Low-Skilled Workers? By Lofstrom, Magnus
  5. Happiness in Europe: Cross-Country Differences in the Determinants of Subjective Well-Being By Pedersen, Peder J.; Schmidt, Torben Dall
  6. Gender Variations of Physiolocical and Psychological Stress Among Police Officers By Martin Gächter; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
  7. Reconciling Work and Family Life: Workplaces, Occupation and the Experience of Work-Life Conflict By Calvert, Emma; Russell, Helen; O'Connell, Philip J.; McGinnity, Frances
  8. The relationship between Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in a high-inequality country: The case of Chile By Javier Núñez Errázuriz; Andrea Tartakowsky
  9. A sensitivity analysis of poverty definitions By Nicholas T. Longford; Catia Nicodemo
  10. Life Satisfaction By Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur Van Soest

  1. By: Antoci Angelo; Sabatini Fabio; Sodini Mauro
    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.
    Keywords: Relational goods, social capital, economic growth, technical change
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2009–10
  2. By: Koen Decancq; Maria Ana Lugo
    Abstract: We propose to measure inequality of well-being with a multidimensional generalization of the Gini coefficient. We derive two inequality indices from their underlying social evaluation functions. These functions are conceived as a double aggregation functions: one across the dimensions of well-being, and another across the individuals. They differ only with respect to the sequencing of aggregations. We argue that the sequencing that does not exclude the Gini index to be sensitive to the correlation between the dimensions is more attractive. We illustrate both Gini indices using Russian household data on three dimensions of well-being: expenditure, health and education.
    Keywords: Multidimensional inequality, Single parameter Gini Index, Correlation increasing majorization, Russia
    JEL: D63 I31 O52
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Gunnar Andersson (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Michaela Kreyenfeld (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Tatjana Mika
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of female earnings in childbearing decisions in two very different European contexts. By applying event history techniques to German and Danish register data during 1981-2001, we demonstrate how female earnings relate to first, second and third birth rates. Our study shows that female earnings are rather positively associated with fertility in Denmark, while the relationship is the opposite in West Germany. We interpret our findings based on our observation that Danish social policies tend to encourage Danish women to become established in the labor market before having children, while German policies during the 1980s and 1990s were not designed to encourage maternal employment.
    Keywords: Denmark, fertility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2009–10
  4. By: Lofstrom, Magnus (Public Policy Institute of California)
    Abstract: Low-skilled workers do not fare well in today's skill intensive economy and their opportunities continue to diminish. Given that individuals in this challenging skill segment of the workforce are more likely to have poor experiences in the labor market, and hence incur greater public expenses, it is particularly important to seek and evaluate their labor market options. Utilizing data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the economic returns to business ownership among low-skilled workers and addresses the essential question of whether self-employment is a good option for low-skilled individuals that policymakers might consider encouraging. The analysis reveal substantial differences in the role of self-employment among low-skilled workers across gender and nativity – women and immigrants are shown to be of particular importance both from the perspectives of trends and policy relevance. We find that although the returns to low-skilled self-employment among men are relatively high we find that wage/salary employment is a substantially more financially rewarding option for most women. These findings raise the question of why low-skilled women enter self-employment. Our business start-up results are consistent, but not conclusive, with lack of affordable child care options and limited labor market opportunities in the wage/salary sector as motivating native born women to enter self-employment. We do not find empirical evidence of similar constraints among immigrant women.
    Keywords: self-employment, entrepreneurship, low-skill, women, immigrants
    JEL: J15 J16 J31 L26
    Date: 2009–10
  5. By: Pedersen, Peder J. (University of Aarhus); Schmidt, Torben Dall (University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: The purpose in the present paper is to use individual panel data in the European Community Household Panel to analyse the impact on self-reported satisfaction from a number of economic and demographic variables. The paper contributes to the ongoing discussion of the relationship between life satisfaction and income. The panel property of the data makes it possible to study also the impact on satisfaction from income changes as well as the impact from acceleration in income and changes in labour market status on changes in satisfaction. A number of demographic variables and individual attitude indicators are also entered into the analysis of both the level of satisfaction and the change in satisfaction from one wave of the survey to the next. We find a strong impact from the level of income in all countries, an impact from change and acceleration in income for a smaller number of countries, a strong impact from most changes in labour market status and finally important effects from a number of demographic variables.
    Keywords: satisfaction, income, labour market status, health
    JEL: C23 D31 I31 J28
    Date: 2009–10
  6. By: Martin Gächter; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: This paper analyses the effect of gender on reported and perceived levels of stress through examination of both the physical and psychological indicators. It may be interesting to work with police data due to high stress levels among police officers and the fact that the work environment is male dominant (females are a minority). In our study we not only explore gender differences, but also whether job and private environmental factors such as effective cooperation between units, a higher trust in the work partner, a higher level of work-life-balance and home stability, and a higher level of interactional fairness, affect female and male officers differently. Using multivariate regression analysis of police officers we find that female officers are significantly more likely to report suffering from physical stress indicators than their male counterparts while no gender differences are observable in regards to psychological stress. Moreover, a higher level of trust and cooperation, and a higher level of interactional fairness at work are not able to absorb physical stress among female, while these factors have a strong impact on male officers. On the other hand, for both, female and male officers, work-life balance and stability at home have the tendency of reducing physical stress.
    Keywords: Gender, Stress, Police Officers, Burnout, Work-life Balance, Justice
    JEL: I10 I12 I31 J24 J81 Z13
    Date: 2009–10
  7. By: Calvert, Emma; Russell, Helen; O'Connell, Philip J.; McGinnity, Frances
    Keywords: qec
    Date: 2009–09
  8. By: Javier Núñez Errázuriz; Andrea Tartakowsky
    Abstract: Based on the methodology developed by Bourguignon, Melendez and Ferreira (2005) we explore the extent to which income inequality in Chile is associated with inequality of observed exogenous circumstances of origin, which shape individuals “opportunities” to pursue their chosen life plans. We find that equalizing a diverse set of observed circumstances of origin across individuals such as parents’ schooling and employment, household size and composition, ethnic background and features of the municipality of origin reduces the Gini coefficient in about 7-8 percentage points. About half of this effect is transmitted directly on earnings, while the remaining part through its indirect effect on the accumulation of schooling. Further results suggest that the influence of unobserved circumstances on income distribution may be limited, and hence aspects such as preferences, effort, luck, income shocks and income measurement errors may also be important factors behind income inequality, issue that awaits further research.
    JEL: D31 D63
    Date: 2009–01
  9. By: Nicholas T. Longford (SNTL and Departament d’Economia i Empresa, Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Catia Nicodemo (Departament d'Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: We conduct a sensitivity analysis of several estimators related to household income, to explore how some details of the definitions of the variables concerned influence the values of the common estimates, such as the mean, median and (poverty) rates. The purpose of this study is to highlight that some of the operational definitions entail an element of arbitrariness which leaves an undesirable stamp on the inferences made. The analyses use both a cross-sectional and a longitudinal (panel) component of the EU-SILC database.
    Keywords: EU-SILC database, poverty rate, sampling weights
    Date: 2009–11
  10. By: Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur Van Soest
    Abstract: The authors analyze the determinants of global life satisfaction in two countries (The Netherlands and the U.S.), by using both self-reports and responses to a battery of vignette questions. They find global life satisfaction of happiness is well-described by four domains: job or daily activities, social contacts and family, health, and income. Among the four domains, social contacts and family have the highest impact on global life satisfaction, followed by job and daily activities and health. Income has the lowest impact. As in other work, they find that American response styles differ from the Dutch in that Americans are more likely to use the extremes of the scale (either very satisfied or very dissatisfied) than the Dutch, who are more inclined to stay in the middle of the scale. Although for both Americans and the Dutch, income is the least important determinant of global life satisfaction, it is more important in the U.S. than in The Netherlands. Indeed life satisfaction varies substantially more with income in the U.S. than in The Netherlands.
    Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, vignettes, reporting bias
    JEL: I31 J28 D31
    Date: 2009–10

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