nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒04‒17
fifteen papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. It’s driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological well-being By Jennifer Roberts; Robert Hodgson; Paul Dolan
  2. The relationship between Stress, Strain and Social Capital By Martin Gächter; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
  3. Comparing Multidimensional Poverty with Qualitative Indicators of Well-Being By Yélé Maweki Batana; Jean-Yves Duclos
  4. Identity, Inequality, and Happiness: Evidence from Urban China By Shiqing Jiang; Ming Lu; Hiroshi Sato
  5. Measuring job quality and job satisfaction By E. SCHOKKAERT; E. VERHOFSTADT; L. VAN OOTEGEM;
  6. Higher Education Effects in Job and Marital Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence* By Alessandro Tampieri
  7. Economic well-being in Italy: The role of income insecurity and intergenerational inequality By Gabriella Berloffa; Francesca Modena
  8. Transition to Parent-Child Coresidence: Parental Needs and the Strategic Bequest Motive By Meliyanni Johar; Shiko Maruyama; Sayaka Nakamura
  9. Surveying transitional experience and subjective well-being : Income, work, family By Ekaterina Selezneva
  10. The toll of fertility on mothers’ wellb<eing By Julio Cáceres-Delpiano; Marianne Simonsen
  11. Amartya Sen revisited: trade, inequality and growth in central Spain, 1700-1800 By Carlos Santiago Caballero
  12. Copula-based measurement of dependence between dimensions of well-being By Koen DECANCQ
  13. Buffering Shocks to Well-Being Late in Life By Matthew D. Shapiro
  14. Job security and employee well-being: Evidence from matched survey and register data By Bockerman, Petri; Ilmakunnas, Pekka; Johansson, Edvard
  15. Measuring and Understanding Subjective Well-Being By John F. Helliwell; Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh

  1. By: Jennifer Roberts (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield Author-Person=pro228); Robert Hodgson; Paul Dolan
    Abstract: In this paper, we seek to explore the effects of commuting time on the psychological well-being of men and women in the UK. We use annual data from the British Household Panel Survey in a fixed effects panel framework that includes variables known to determine well-being, as well as factors which may provide compensation for commuting such as income, job satisfaction and housing quality. Our results show that, even after all these variables are considered, commuting still has an important detrimental effect on the well-being of women, but not men, and this result is robust to numerous different specifications. We explore possible explanations for this gender difference and can find no evidence that it is due to women´s shorter working hours or weaker occupational position. Rather women´s greater sensitivity to commuting time seems to be a result of their larger responsibility for day-to-day household tasks, including childcare.
    Keywords: Commuting, Happiness, Well-being
    JEL: D1 I1 R4
    Date: 2009–05
  2. By: Martin Gächter; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effectiveness of social capital in reducing the negative externalities associated with stress, as well as the physical and psychological strain indicators among police officers. Despite the fact that there is a large multidisciplinary literature on stress or on social capital, the link between both factors is still underexplored. In this empirical paper we therefore aim at reducing such a shortcoming. We focus on a strategically important work environment, namely law enforcement agents, that is not only characterized as physically and emotionally demanding, but also as an essential part for a well-functioning society due to the fact that inefficiencies in the police force can induce large negative externalities. Using a multivariate regression analysis focusing on eight different proxies for stress and strain, and two proxies for social capital and conducting several robustness checks, we find strong evidence that an increased level of social capital is correlated with a lower level of strain. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest that stress reduction programs should actively engage employees to build stronger social networks.
    Keywords: Social Capital; Trust; Stress and Strain; Gender; Police Officers; Burnout
    JEL: I1 I31 J24 J81 Z13
    Date: 2009–09
  3. By: Yélé Maweki Batana; Jean-Yves Duclos
    Abstract: This paper examines multidimensional stochastic dominance when one of the indicators of well-being, such as household size or place of residence, is qualitative. It also uses a test for strict dominance based on the empirical likelihood ratio. Empirical applications are based on the DHS (Demography and Health Surveys) for several countries in Western Africa. The results show the existence of multidimensional dominance relationships between most of these countries.
    Keywords: Stochastic dominance, multidimensional poverty, empirical likelihood tests, bootstrap tests, West Africa
    JEL: C10 C11 C12 C30 C39 I32
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Shiqing Jiang; Ming Lu; Hiroshi Sato
    Abstract: This paper presents the impact of income inequality on the subjective wellbeing of three different social groups in urban China. We classify urban social groups according to their hukou status: rural migrants, gbornh urban residents, and gacquiredh urban residents who had changed their hukou identity from rural to urban. We focus on how the income disparity between migrants and urban residents affects individual happiness. The main results are as follows. People feel unhappy if inequality is related to their hukou identity, irrespective of whether they are urban residents with or without hukou. However, when identity-related inequality and other individual- and city-level characteristics are controlled, inequality measured by city-level Gini increases happiness. We also find that among urban residents who own hukou, mostly the gacquiredh urban residents are unhappy with hukou-related inequality. This implies that identity is formed by both policy and personal experience. gBornh urban residents have lower happiness scores when they are old. Communist Party members strongly dislike the identity-related inequality.
    Keywords: Inequality, Hukou identity, Happiness, Migration, Social integration
    JEL: I31 O15 R23
    Date: 2010–03
    Abstract: Job quality is a multi-dimensional concept that has become prominent on the agenda of policy-makers. There is no consensus about how to measure and how to monitor it. In this paper we compare often used objective and subjective indicators of job quality. We argue that objective indicators are .too objective, as they neglect interindividual differences in preferences, while subjective job satisfaction is .too subjective, as it also reflects differences in aspirations. We propose an alternative measure of job quality in terms of equivalent incomes that does respect individual preferences but rules out aspirations. We illustrate our approach with Flemish data on school-leavers (SONAR) using the information on the .rst job of the 1978 birth cohort. We compare the results for the equivalent income indicator with the results of objective and subjective indicators.
    Keywords: job quality, job satisfaction
    JEL: J28 J80
    Date: 2009–12
  6. By: Alessandro Tampieri
    Abstract: This paper examines how educational decisions a¤ect job and marital satisfaction. We build up a model with educational assortative matching where individuals decide whether to attend university both for obtaining job satisfaction and for increasing the probability to be matched with an educated partner. The educational choices between future partners are simultaneously determined as a Nash equilibrium. The theoretical results suggest that, as assortative matching increases, the proportion of educated individuals increases. For educated individuals, job satisfaction falls and marital satisfaction increases. We test our model using the British Household Panel Survey. We carry out longitudinal analysis for years 2003-2006. Our empirical .ndings support the theoretical results.
    Keywords: Education; Marriage; Job Satisfaction; Educational Assortative Matching
    JEL: C78 I21 J12
    Date: 2010–02
  7. By: Gabriella Berloffa (University of Trento); Francesca Modena (University of Trento)
    Abstract: This paper provides a measure of economic well-being for the Italian context. In the last two decades Italy experienced a sharp increase in labour market flexibility and a relative loss of command over resources of young generations with respect to older ones. We include new measures of temporary work and intergenerational inequality in the IEWB, and analyse its evolution in Italy and in Lombardy (the leading Italian region) over the 1995-2007 period. We find that well-being advanced at a slower rate than GDP, mainly because of the negative effect of a reduction in employment security and a rise in income inequality, which was more pronounced in Lombardy.
    Keywords: well-being, inequality, income insecurity.
    JEL: I31 I32 D31
    Date: 2010
  8. By: Meliyanni Johar (University of Technology Sydney); Shiko Maruyama (School of Economics, The University of New South Wales); Sayaka Nakamura (Yokohama City University)
    Abstract: The strategic bequest motive implies that children may want to live with their parents and provide care for them with the expectation of inheriting a larger portion of their bequest. This paper examines this hypothesis by focusing on the transition to coresidence by elderly Japanese parents and their children using underutilized Japanese panel data. Unlike previous studies, evidence for the bequest motive is generally tenuous. In addition, our use of a two-component mixture logit model identifies the minority group of families that follows the bequest motive and the majority group that does not.
    Keywords: informal care; intergenerational transfer; bequest motive; living arrangements; coresidence; finite mixture logit; health shock
    JEL: C23 C25 I1 J12 J14
    Date: 2010–02
  9. By: Ekaterina Selezneva (Osteuropa-Institut, Regensburg (Institut for East European Studies))
    Abstract: Subjective well-being patterns found for developed economies do not always valid for the economies in transition. This paper overviews happiness and satisfaction studies on income, work and family life domains with a particular attention to those on transitional countries. While there is a range of similarities in conclusions for two types of economies, the main differences seems to be a result of uncertainty and fast changing conditions in transitional settings. The terms ‘happiness’ and ‘life satisfaction’ should be distinguished, when evaluating the successfulness of transformational period and socio-economic policies. A short summary for 76 studies involving subjective indicators on data from the economies in transition is included.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, happiness, transition economies
    JEL: P29 J12 J28
    Date: 2010–02
  10. By: Julio Cáceres-Delpiano; Marianne Simonsen
    Abstract: In this paper we study the impact of fertility on the overall wellbeing of mothers First, using US Census data for the year 1980, we study the impact of number of children on family arrangements, welfare participation and poverty status. Second, using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the period 1982-2003, we study the impact on a series of health risk factors. The findings reveal, first, that a raise in family size increases the likelihood of marital breakdown measured by the likelihood of divorce or the likelihood of the mother not living with the children’s father. Second, we find evidence that mothers facing an increase in family size are not only more likely to live with other family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, they are also more likely to receive help from welfare programs. Third, consistent with an increase in welfare participation, families (mothers) are more likely to fall below the poverty line, and they face a reduction in total family income. The results using NHIS confirm a negative impact of fertility on marriage stability and an increase in welfare participation measured by an increase in the likelihood of using Medicaid and for some samples a reduction in the take-up of private health insurance. Finally, we find evidence that a shock in fertility increases the likelihood for mothers to suffer from high blood pressure during the last 12 months and also increases the propensity to smoke and risk of being obese
    Keywords: Fertility, Family arrangements, Poverty, Welfare participation, Health insurance, Obesity
    JEL: J12 J13 I3
    Date: 2010–01
  11. By: Carlos Santiago Caballero
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of trade and inequality in central Spain during the eighteenth century, taking as case study the province of Guadalajara and the surrounding regions. The first part of the paper presents a specific factors model as theoretical framework that will later be applied to the empirical data. The second part introduces an analysis of income inequality in the province during the eighteenth century and concludes that inequality decreased, especially during the last third of the century. Finally the paper addresses this unexpected result and concludes that it was consequence of the success of the land reform carried out by the central government in the late 1760s. The reform was a success in Guadalajara thanks to the characteristics of its population and the lack of bargaining power of pressure groups. Following Sen’s ideas, the reduction in inequality meant that markets could work properly and that a majority and not only a few could take full advantage of the benefits of trade.
    Keywords: Trade, Inequality, Pressure groups, Institutions
    JEL: D63 F1 N33 N53 O1 O18
    Date: 2010–03
  12. By: Koen DECANCQ
    Abstract: Well-being consists of many dimensions such as income, health and education. A society exhibits greater dependence between its dimensions of well-being when the positions of the individuals in the different dimensions are more aligned or correlated. Differences in dependence may lead to very different societies, even when the dimension-wise distributions are identical. I propose to use a copula-based framework to order societies with respect to their dependence. A class of measures of dependence is derived to which the multidimensional rank correlation coefficient belongs. I illustrate the usefulness of the approach by showing that Russian dependence between three dimensions of well-being has increased significantly between 1995 and 2003. Unfortunately, the aspect of dependence is missed by all composite well-being measures based on dimension-specific summary statistics such as the popular Human Development Index (HDI).
    Keywords: copula, complex inequality, concordance, HDI, multidimensional inequality, Russia, well-being.
    JEL: D31 D63 I31 O50
    Date: 2009–12
  13. By: Matthew D. Shapiro (University of Michigan and NBER)
    Abstract: Consumption provides a comprehensive measurement of economic well-being. This research shows that consumption is well-insured with respect to health status and widowing. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and its CAMS supplement, it shows that consumption responds little to changes in health status even though adverse health generates substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses. Similarly, the effect of widowing on consumption, though substantial, is not strongly driven by changes in economic resources. Men experience little loss of monetary resources when being widowed. Women have the same overall loss in consumption as men when being widowed despite greater declines in economic resources. Hence, despite the adverse consequences for income and wealth for female widows, women experience no greater drop in consumption from losing a spouse than do men.
    Date: 2009–10
  14. By: Bockerman, Petri; Ilmakunnas, Pekka; Johansson, Edvard
    Abstract: We examine the effects of establishment- and industry-level labor market turnover on employees’ well-being. The linked employer-employee panel data contain both survey information on employees’ subjective well-being and comprehensive register-based information on job and worker flows. Labor market turbulence decreases well-being as experienced job satisfaction and satisfaction with job security are negatively related to the previous year’s flows. We test for the existence of compensating wage differentials by explaining wages and job satisfaction with average uncertainties, measured by an indicator for a high moving average of past excessive turnover (churning) rate. The results are consistent with compensating wage differentials, since high uncertainty increases real wages, but has no effect on job satisfaction.
    Keywords: job flows; worker flows; job satisfaction; perceived security; job instability
    JEL: J31 J63 J28
    Date: 2010–04–08
  15. By: John F. Helliwell; Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh
    Abstract: Increasing attention is being paid in academic, policy, and public arenas to subjective measures of well-being. This promising trend represents a shift towards measuring positive outcomes in psychology and greater realism in the study of economic behaviour. After a general review of past and potential uses for subjective well-being data, and a discussion of why some economists have previously been sceptical of SWB data, we present global and Canadian examples from our own research to illustrate what can be learned. Differences in subjective well-being will be shown to be large and sustained across individuals, communities, provinces and nations. Although the patterns of subjective well-being are very different across Canada than across the world, we show that in both cases the differences can be fairly well accounted for by the same set of life circumstances. Our examples of policy-relevant research findings include new accountings of the differences in individual-level SWB assessments around the world and across Canada. These highlight the importance of social factors whose role has otherwise been hard to quantify in income-equivalent terms.
    JEL: A13 I3 J1 P51 P52
    Date: 2010–04

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