New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2009‒11‒27
nine papers chosen by

  1. Sundays Are Blue: Aren’t They? The Day-of-the-Week Effect on Subjective Well-Being and Socio-Economic Status By Akay, Alpaslan; Martinsson, Peter
  2. Life Expectancy and the Environment By Mariani, Fabio; Pérez-Barahona, Agustín; Raffin, Natacha
  3. Happiness and Age Cycles - Return to Start...?: On the Functional Relationship between Subjective Well-being and Age By Justina A.V. Fischer
  4. Satisfacción moral como variable explicativa de diferencias salariales en Chile By Isabel Asenjo; David Coble; Joseph Ramos; Valentina Rosselli
  5. Early Childhood Residential Instability and School Readiness: Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study By Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest; Claire McKenna
  6. Why do Employees Leave Their Jobs for Self-Employment? – The Impact of Entrepreneurial Working Conditions in Small Firms By Werner, Arndt; Moog, Petra
  7. The Public Health Costs of Job Loss By Kuhn, Andreas; Lalive, Rafael; Zweimüller, Josef
  8. Life Expectancy and Economic Growth: The Role of the Demographic Transition By Cervellati, Matteo; Sunde, Uwe
  9. The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development By Flavio Cunha; James J. Heckman

  1. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper analyses whether individuals are influenced by the day of the week when reporting subjective well-being. By using a large panel data set and controlling for observed and unobserved individual characteristics, we find a large day-of the-week effect. Overall, we find a 'blue' Sunday effect with the lowest level of subjective well-being. The day-of-the-week effect differs with certain socio-economic and demographic factors such as employment, marital status and age. The paper concludes with recommendations for future analyses of subjective well-being data and design of data collections.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, day-of-the-week effect
    JEL: C23 D60 I31
    Date: 2009–11
  2. By: Mariani, Fabio (Université Catholique de Louvain); Pérez-Barahona, Agustín (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris); Raffin, Natacha (University of Paris 1)
    Abstract: We present an OLG model in which life expectancy and environmental quality dynamics are jointly determined. Agents may invest in environmental care, depending on how much they expect to live. In turn, environmental conditions affect life expectancy. As a result, our model produces a positive correlation between longevity and environmental quality, both in the long-run and along the transition path. Eventually, multiple equilibria may also arise: some countries might be caught in a low-life-expectancy / low-environmental-quality trap. This outcome is consistent with stylized facts relating life expectancy and environmental performance measures. We also discuss the welfare and policy implications of the intergenerational externalities generated by individual choices. Finally, we show that our results are robust to the introduction of growth dynamics based on physical or human capital accumulation.
    Keywords: environmental quality, life expectancy, poverty traps, human capital
    JEL: J24 O11 O40 Q56
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Justina A.V. Fischer
    Abstract: Previous happiness research has explicitly assumed that subjective well-being is U-shaped in age. This paper sheds new light on this issue testing several functional forms. Using micro data from the World Values Survey on 44 000 persons in 30 economically advanced OECD countries with long life expectancies, we reveal a hyperbolic functional form. We find that life satisfaction reaches another local maximum around the age of 83, with a level identical to that of a 26-year old. This hyperbolic well-beingage relation is robust to the inclusion of cohort effects. We test this relationship for each OECD country separately, and corroborate the functional form using a sample of non-OECD countries.<BR>Jusqu’à présent, la recherche sur le bonheur est partie du principe que le bien-être subjectif suit une distribution de l’âge en forme de U. Ce document apporte de nouvelles informations sur cette question en testant plusieurs formes de fonctions. En utilisant les données individuelles du World Values Survey sur 44 000 personnes dans 30 pays de l’OCDE avec des espérances de vie longues, nous proposons une fonction hyperbolique. Nous trouvons que la satisfaction de vie atteint un autre niveau maximum à 83 ans, un niveau identique à celui de l’âge de 26 ans. Cette relation hyperbolique avec l’âge est robuste en incluant les effets de cohortes. Nous testons cette relation pour chaque pays de l’OCDE séparément, et l’utilisons en utilisant une sélection de pays non membres de l’OCDE.
    JEL: A14 D61 I3 I31 J14
    Date: 2009–11–18
  4. By: Isabel Asenjo; David Coble; Joseph Ramos; Valentina Rosselli
    Abstract: Es sabido que los salarios suben con educación y experiencia y en especial conla educación universitaria. No obstante aún así quedan muchos factores, sabidos osospechados como importantes cuyo impacto normalmente no podemos medir por nodisponer de la información. Es el caso, por ejemplo, de rasgos personales – comointeligencia y empeño, o de rasgos de capital social, como educación de los padres.Asimismo, hay evidencia internacional que en la medida que una persona derive unamayor satisfacción de su trabajo, por considerar que hace un mayor aporte a susociedad, estará dispuesto a aceptar un trabajo que pague menos por tener esacompensación moral. Este trabajo intenta medir la influencia de estos factores, sobre labase de información sobre el mercado laboral, derivado de las personas buscandotrabajo por medio de, que se combina con la información del DEMREde la Universidad de Chile sobre su desempeño académico en la enseñanza media y sobre la educación de sus padres.
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2009–11
  5. By: Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest (Institute for Children and Poverty and Statistics Norway); Claire McKenna (Institute for Children and Poverty)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the consequences of residential instability during the first five years of a child’s life for a host of school readiness outcomes. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we examine the relationship between multiple moves and children’s cognitive and behavioral readiness at age five. We further test this relationship for differences among poor, near poor, and not poor children. We find that moving three or more times in a child’s first five years is significantly associated with increases in several measures of internalizing and externalizing behavior. These effects are strongest for children who live in poverty.
    Keywords: housing instability; Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study; behavior problems; test scores; poverty
    JEL: D19 D63 I21 J15 I30
    Date: 2009–11
  6. By: Werner, Arndt; Moog, Petra
    Abstract: Based on the finding that entrepreneurs who found new firms tend to work as employees of small rather than large firms prior to start-up, we test how different working conditions, which enhance entrepreneurial learning, affect their decision to become entrepreneurs when moderated by firm size. Based on data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), we find a significant relationship between entrepreneurial learning (extracted in an orthogonal factor analysis based on twelve working conditions as proxy for entrepreneurial human capital and work experience) and firm size when predicting the probability of leaving paid employment for self-employment. We think, that this is a special kind of knowledge spillover. We also control for other aspects such as gender, age, wage, etc. – factors that may potentially influence the decision to become self-employed. Thus, our analysis sheds new light onto the black box of SMEs as a hotbed of new start-ups.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Occupational Choice; Working Conditions; Human Capital
    JEL: J28 M54 J24 M13 C33
    Date: 2009–11–01
  7. By: Kuhn, Andreas; Lalive, Rafael; Zweimüller, Josef
    Abstract: We study the short-run effect of involuntary job loss on comprehensive measures of public health costs. We focus on job loss induced by plant closure, thereby addressing the reverse causality problem of deteriorating health leading to job loss as job displacements due to plant closure are unlikely caused by workers' health status, but potentially have important effects on individual workers' health and associated public health costs. Our empirical analysis is based on a rich data set from Austria providing comprehensive information on various types of health care costs and day-by-day work history at the individual level. Our central findings are: (i) overall expenditures on medical treatments (hospitalizations, drug prescriptions, doctor visits) are not strongly affected by job displacement; (ii) job loss increases expenditures for antidepressants and related drugs, as well as for hospitalizations due to mental health problems for men (but not for women); and (iii) sickness benefits strongly increase due to job loss.
    Keywords: Health; Job loss; Plant closure; Social cost of unemployment
    JEL: I12 I19 J28 J65
    Date: 2009–08
  8. By: Cervellati, Matteo; Sunde, Uwe
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the causal effect of life expectancy on economic growth by explicitly accounting for the role of the demographic transition. In addition to focusing on issues of empirical identification, this paper emphasizes the role of the econometric specification. We present a simple theory of the economic and demographic transition where individuals' education and fertility decisions depend on their life expectancy. The theory predicts that before the demographic transition improvements in life expectancy primarily increase population. Improvements in life expectancy do, however, reduce population growth and foster human capital accumulation after the onset of the demographic transition. This implies that the effect of life expectancy on population, human capital and income per capita is not the same before and after the demographic transition. Moreover, a sufficiently high life expectancy is ultimately the trigger of the transition to sustained income growth. We provide evidence supporting these predictions using data on exogenous mortality reductions in the context of the epidemiological revolution.
    Keywords: Demographic Transition; Epidemiological Revolution; Heterogeneous Treatment Effects; Life Expectancy
    JEL: E10 J10 J13 N30 O10 O40
    Date: 2009–07
  9. By: Flavio Cunha (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); James J. Heckman (Department of Economics, University of Chicago; University College Dublin; American Bar Foundation; Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Recent research on the economics of human development deepens understanding of the origins of inequality and excellence. It draws on and contributes to personality psychology and the psychology of human development. Inequalities in family environments and investments in children are substantial. They causally affect the development of capabilities. Both cognitive and noncognitive capabilities determine success in life but to varying degrees for different outcomes. An empirically determined technology of capability formation reveals that capabilities are self-productive and cross-fertilizing and can be enhanced by investment. Investments in capabilities are relatively more productive at some stages of a child's life cycle than others. Optimal child investment strategies differ depending on target outcomes of interest and on the nature of adversity in a child's early years. For some configurations of early disadvantage and for some desired outcomes, it is efficient to invest relatively more in the later years of childhood than in the early years.
    Keywords: inequality, capabilities, noncognitive traits, human development, technology of capability formation, policy targeting
    JEL: A12
    Date: 2009–11–13

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