New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒05‒02
eleven papers chosen by

  1. Migration and Educational Outcomes of Children By Kristina A. Schapiro
  2. The Impact of Irregular Status on Human Development Outcomes for Migrants By Rachel Sabates-Wheeler
  3. The Living Conditions and Well-being of Refugees By Bart de Bruijn
  4. Immigration, Ethics and the Capabilities Approach By Mathias Risse
  5. The Time-crunch Paradox By Jose Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal; Almudena Sevilla-Sanz
  6. A Modern Framework for Measuring Poverty and Basic Economic Security By Shawn Fremstad
  7. Does Fiscal Discipline towards Sub-national Governments Affect Citizens’ Well-being? Evidence on Health By Massimiliano Piacenza; Gilberto Turati
  8. Shifting the Focus from Paradigms to Goals: A New Approach Towards Defining and Assessing Wellbeing By Salvatore Monni; Alessandro Spaventa
  9. Income Comparisons among Neighbours and Life Satisfaction in East and West Germany By Knies G
  10. Upward Social Mobility, Well-being and;Political Preferences: Evidence from the;BHPS By Andrew CLARK; Emanuela D'ANGELO
  11. Job satisfaction in the Republic of Macedonia: The role of gender and education By Zeqiri , Izet; Aziri , Brikend

  1. By: Kristina A. Schapiro (Monitor Group, London)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of migration on educational outcomes of children. It looks at the outcomes of internationally as well as internally migrating children and identifies the specific barriers they face in access to quality schooling. It discusses the various channels through which migration affects the education and wellbeing of non-migrant children in migrant households. It subsequently examines the variations in educational attainment of second-generation migrant children. To conclude, the paper recognizes the policy challenges surrounding the migration-education linkage and considers some of the strategies that have been implemented to improve the schooling outcomes of children affected by migration.
    Keywords: Migration, children, education, human capital, human development, policy
    JEL: O1 O15 F22 F2
    Date: 2009–10
  2. By: Rachel Sabates-Wheeler (Centre for Social Protection at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore how irregular status impacts a range of human development outcomes for labour migrants. The analysis indicates that for poorer labour migrants, irregular (or undocumented) migration provides a positive, private return to income and livelihood improvements for themselves and their families as compared to 1) no movement at all, and at times, 2) regular (or documented) migration. However, irregular status is associated with a range of forms of disadvantage and vulnerabilities that often compromise migrants’ rights, entitlements and the rate of return they achieve from the migration process. Migrants are as rational as other members of the population and, being aware of these vulnerabilities, many still choose to migrate. The larger hypothesis of this paper is that, as long as poverty drives migration, legal status will not be a priority for migrants. Migrants will be willing to endure short to medium term hardship and the undermining of a range of capabilities and rights (such as education, social assets, rights and personal welfare) to provide economic safety nets for their families and future improvements to their (and their families) livelihoods and wellbeing. As long as migrants on average achieve a positive increase in income and assets through the migration experience (which they do) they will sacrifice a whole range of freedoms and rights. It is therefore imperative that policy makers make active steps to protect migrants with regard to basic human rights and facilitate positive outcomes from their migration experiences. In particular, we urge southern governments to advocate for all their migrants abroad, regardless of legal status. If southern country governments accept the mainstream opinion that migration is good for development, and furthermore recognise that a substantial number, if not the majority, of their migrants are irregular, and continue sending remittances and investment, then governments should seek to protect their citizens aboard, facilitate safe remittances, and begin to stand firm in the face of pressure to control national borders.
    Keywords: Irregular status, migration, vulnerability, poverty, protection
    JEL: O1 O15 Z1 F22
    Date: 2009–07
  3. By: Bart de Bruijn
    Abstract: In the study of international mobility, refugees make up a very specific population. In contrast to most migrants, forcibly displaced persons have little opportunity for expanding livelihoods, and are usually faced with realities that deny them a dignified life and fulfilment of their capabilities. In many situations, people who left their homes to escape from persecution, armed conflict or violence face restrictive policies of the countries in which they found refuge and become critically dependent on humanitarian assistance. This paper describes living conditions and wellbeing of refugees – and more particularly camp-based refugees – in six countries with protracted refugee conditions: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya in Africa, and Nepal, Bangladesh and Thailand in Asia. It primarily draws on UNHCR’s ‘Standards and Indicators’ data. Thematic areas covered in the paper include legal protection, gender-related issues, food security and nutritional status, health, education, and refugee livelihoods and coping strategies. The assessment of refugees’ living conditions proceeds along two different perspectives. The first is a gap analysis based on UNHCR standards, which are largely in line with SPHERE standards. The second is a comparison of refugees’ living conditions with those of host populations in the country of asylum and with those of populations on the country of origin. The available data lead to the conclusion that the living conditions of refugees vary across thematic areas and are strongly contextualised, depending on a complex of social, economic, political and attitudinal factors. There is also evidence that despite often grim conditions, at times the targeted efforts of humanitarian assistance and own coping strategies produce situations for refugees that are relatively better than that of the local hosting communities or the population in the region of origin.
    Keywords: human development, human mobility, migration, poverty
    JEL: O1 I3 O15 F22
    Date: 2009–07
  4. By: Mathias Risse (Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government)
    Abstract: Often, immigration debates are conducted under the presumption that immigration policies must be justifiable only to those who already live in the respective country. Alas, reflection on the justifiability of immigration policies to those excluded becomes ever more important in a politically and economically increasingly interconnected world. This study explores two approaches to the normative reflection on immigration at some depth, namely, the idea that restrictive immigration policies are problematic because they are hampering the development of human capabilities, as well as the idea that such policies are problematic because they are at odds with the fact that our planet belongs to humanity collectively. On both of these proposals, less restrictive immigration policies are not merely demanded as one possible way of aiding the poor, but would be required as such. Both of these approaches can be treated within the same framework, the grounds-of-justice framework, which allows us to focus on the idea that states must also be justified to those who do not belong to them. Central to the proposal about immigration that can be made within this approach are ideas of over- and under-use of commonly owned resources and spaces.
    Keywords: Immigration, justice, capabilities, common ownership of the earth, resources
    JEL: O1 O15 F22
    Date: 2009–08
  5. By: Jose Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal; Almudena Sevilla-Sanz
    Abstract: Previous research has shown little difference in the average leisure time of men and women. This finding is a challenge to the second shift argument, which suggests that increases in female labor market hours have not been compensated by equal decreases in household labor. This paper presents time-use and leisure satisfaction data for a variety of western European countries, and shows that accounting for individual heterogeneity is vital for understanding gender differences. In particular, working mothers have leisure levels that are much lower than those of working fathers and singles. Working mothers are also most likely to report the least satisfaction with free time. Finding that time stress and leisure time are positively correlated within socio-demographic groups suggests that the second shift argument is still valid, and that feelings of time stress are indeed associated with the lack of leisure time.
    Keywords: Second shift, Work-life balance, Time use, Leisure satisfaction
    JEL: C33 D13 D14 D31 J12 J16
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Shawn Fremstad
    Abstract: This report details how the dominant framework for understanding and measuring poverty in the United States has become a conservative one. The current U.S. approach to measuring poverty views poverty only in terms of having an extremely low level of annual income, and utilizes poverty thresholds that are adjusted only for inflation rather than for changes in overall living standards. As a result, the official poverty measure has effectively defined deprivation down over the last four decades, moving it further and further away from mainstream living standards over time, as well as from majority public opinion of the minimum amount needed to “get along” at a basic level. A new Supplemental Income Poverty Measure (SIPM) proposed by the Obama administration makes some important improvements to the current poverty measure. However, the SIPM remains a conservative approach that appears likely to lock in the poverty line at an extremely low level. This report proposes a new framework for measuring poverty and basic economic security in the United States. Instead of being limited to the “extremely-low-income-only” approach the current poverty line and administration’s proposed Supplemental Income Poverty Measure (SIPM) represent, this framework should utilize measures of low income and other forms of economic hardship related to low income.
    Keywords: poverty, disability, poverty level, poverty measure
    JEL: I I3 I32 I38 J J1 J14 J18
    Date: 2010–04
  7. By: Massimiliano Piacenza (Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino); Gilberto Turati (Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino)
    Abstract: This paper aims at assessing the impact of fiscal discipline towards sub-national governments on citizens’ well-being. We model fiscal discipline by considering the expectations of deficit bailouts by Central Government, and focus on a particular dimension of well-being, namely health outcomes at the regional level. We study then how bailout expectations affect the expenditure for health care policies carried out by Regional Governments: in the presence of opportunistic behaviours by local governments – induced by soft budget constraints – bailout expectations should affect only spending inefficiency, and should not have any real effects on citizens’ health. To investigate this issue, we model the efficient use of public resources for health care delivery as an input requirement frontier, and assess the effects of bailout expectations on both the structural component of health spending and its deviations from the best practice. The evidence from a sample of 15 Italian Regions observed from 1993 to 2006 highlights that bailout expectations do not significantly influence the position of the frontier, thus do not affect citizens’ health. However, they appear to exert a remarkable impact on excess spending.
    Keywords: Intergovernmental relationships, Soft budget constraint, Bailout expectations, Health care policy, Spending efficiency
    JEL: H51 H77 I12 I18
    Date: 2010–04
  8. By: Salvatore Monni; Alessandro Spaventa
    Abstract: GDP as an indicator is relatively recent. It was introduced seventy years ago and like many other institutions it is an issue of the historical period in which it was created in the years between the Great Depression and World War II. The adoption of the GDP as an indicator is not a neutral choice, but rather the logical consequence of a well-defined theoretical paradigm in which GDP appears the essential tool apt to promote well-being and development. Since then, however, times have changed, new problems have emerged and new theories and approaches have been developed to address them. Starting from these considerations the paper examines the problems connected with adopting an indicator as an absolute measure of progress. Indicators, in fact, are not neutral: they are the result of a specific economic approach; hence they are biased in nature and contribute to define policies that are implemented. After reviewing the main theories and indicators introduced by literature in the last sixty years, we propose to adopt a different approach according to which progress is measured against stated goals and not in absolute terms. Subsequently, we present an example of this approach by introducing a new indicator (ICSES – Index of Competitiveness and Social and Environmental Sustainability) to measure the performance of EU countries vis-à-vis the goals explicitly stated by the European Union.
    Keywords: ISES, GDP , Sustainability, Human Development, Wellbeing
    JEL: I3 J16 J21 O15 R1
    Date: 2010–04
  9. By: Knies G (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper draws on the German Socio-economic Panel Study (SOEP) to investigate whether changes in othersÂ’ income are perceived differently in post-transition and capitalist societies. We find that the neighbourhood income effect for West Germany is negative and slightly more marked in neighbourhoods where the neighbours interact socially. In contrast, the coefficients on neighbourhood income in East Germany are positive, but not statistically significant. This suggests not only that there is a divide between East and West Germany, but also that neighbours may not be a relevant comparison group in societies that have comparatively low levels of neighbouring.
    Date: 2010–04–19
  10. By: Andrew CLARK (Paris School of Economic, Paris, IZA, Bonn); Emanuela D'ANGELO (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)
    Abstract: The paper uses 15 waves of BHPS data to provide an integrated analysis of the roles of both individual social status and upward mobility relative to own parents on job and life satisfaction, preferences for redistribution, pro-public sector attitudes and voting. Both greater individual social status and greater mobility with respect to parents are associated with higher levels of satisfaction. However, this symmetric effect disappears for political preferences. While greater social status is associated with less favourable attitudes to redistribution and the public sector, greater upward mobility is associated with more Left-wing attitudes. These attitudes translate into actual reported voting behaviour. Upwards social mobility produces satisfied Left-wingers.
    Keywords: Inequality, Redistribution, Satisfaction, Social Mobility, Voting
    JEL: A14 C25 D31 D63 J28 J62
    Date: 2010–04
  11. By: Zeqiri , Izet; Aziri , Brikend
    Abstract: Recently there has been an increase on interest in the analysis of job satisfaction variables. Job satisfaction is correlated with certain types of employee behavior such as productivity, quits and absenteeism. In this paper four different measures of job satisfaction are related to two personal characteristics. The data used are from a survey conducted with 3.000 employees from different types of companies from the Republic of Macedonia. Four measures of job satisfaction that have been used are considered: satisfaction with amount of pay, satisfaction with possibilities for advancement, satisfaction with relations with supervisors and satisfaction with relations with coworkers. Also the connection of gender and level of education with job satisfaction are considered.
    Keywords: Job satisfaction; motivation; education; gender
    JEL: J01 J24 J16 J2 J08 J28 J21 J00 J0 J23
    Date: 2010–04–09

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