nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒02‒20
two papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Genes, Economics, and Happiness By Bruno S. Frey
  2. The Distribution of Income and Well-Being in Rural China: A Survey of Panel Data Sets, Studies and New Directions By Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo

  1. By: Bruno S. Frey
    Abstract: Research on happiness has produced valuable insights into the sources of subjective well-being. A major finding from this literature is that people exhibit a "baseline" happiness that shows persistent strength over time, and twin studies have shown that genes play a signi cant role in explaining the variance of baseline happiness between individuals. However, these studies have not identi ed which genes might be involved. This article presents evidence of a speci c gene that predicts subjective well-being. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we show that individuals with a transcriptionally more ecient version of the serotonin transporter gene (5HTT) are signi cantly more likely to report higher levels of life satisfaction. Having one or two alleles of the more ecient type raises the average likelihood of being very satis ed with one's life by 8.5% and 17.3%, respectively. This result may help to explain the stable component of happiness and suggests that genetic association studies can help us to better understand individual heterogeneity in subjective well- being.
    Keywords: Happiness; Subjective Well-Being; Genetics
    JEL: A12 Z00
    Date: 2010–01
  2. By: Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: This paper reviews the recent literature on inequality and income distribution in rural China utilizing panel datasets. We begin by briefly summarizing and comparing available panel datasets for rural China that can be employed to explore issues on inequality and income distribution, and major data issues that might act as obstacles to research and policy enforcement are then analyzed. The paper then reviews the trend and spatial decompositions of rural income inequality, its major determinants, and its relationship with household welfare. Dimensions other than income inequality, such as income mobility and income polarization, are categorized and reviewed respectively. A recently developed branch of literature on inequality and health is summarized. On the basis of the review, this paper concludes by identifying new research areas with existing panel data sets and a new panel dataset that could shape future research.
    Keywords: Inequality;Income Distribution;Rural China;Panel Data
    JEL: D31 O53 O15
    Date: 2009–10–25

This nep-hap issue is ©2010 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.