New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒05‒15
eight papers chosen by

  1. Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being in and out of Management Positions By Eileen Trzcinski; Elke Holst
  2. Public Education for the Children Left Behind By Carmen CAMACHO; I-Ling SHEN
  3. Causal Effects of Parents’ Education on Children’s Education By John Ermisch; Chiara Pronzato
  4. Urbanization and the South Asian Enigma: A Case Study of India By Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb; James, K. S.
  5. Measures of wealth and well-being. A comparison between GDP and ISEW By V.Carta; M.Porcu
  6. Social Preferences and Perceived Intentions. An experiment with Normally Developing and Autistic Spectrum Disorders Subjects By V.Pelligra; A.Isoni; R.Fadda; I.Doneddu
  7. Reconsidering the well-being: the Happy Planet Index and the issue of missing data By A.Campus; M.Porcu
  8. Reconciling Pro-Social vs. Selfish Behavior - Evidence for the Role of Self-Control By Martinsson, Peter; Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.; Wollbrant, Conny

  1. By: Eileen Trzcinski; Elke Holst
    Abstract: This study used data from the German Socio-economic Panel to examine gender differences in the extent to which self-reported subjective well-being was associated with occupying a high-level managerial position in the labour market, compared with employment in nonleadership, non-high-level managerial positions, unemployment, and non-labour market participation. Our results indicated that a clear hierarchy exists for men in term of how status within the labour market was associated with subjective life satisfaction. Unemployed men were the least satisfied, followed by men who were not in the labour market, while men in leadership positions reported the highest level of subjective life satisfaction. For women, no statistically significant differences were observed among women in high-level managerial positions, women who worked in non-high-level positions, and women who specialized in household production, with no market work. Only women who were unemployed reported lower levels of life satisfaction, compared with women in other labour-market statuses. Our results lend evidence to the contention that men can "have it all", but women must still choose between career and family in Germany. We argue that interventions need to address how the non-pecuniary rewards associated with high-level managerial and leadership positions can be increased for women. Such policies would also likely serve to mitigate the "pipeline" problem concerning the number of women who are available to move into high positions in the private sector.
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Carmen CAMACHO (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); I-Ling SHEN (UniversitŽ de Genve, Department of Econometrics, Institute for the Sudy of Labor (IZA) and Institut de Recherches Žconomiques et sociales de lÕUCL)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of public education in the context of parental migration, and it studies the effects of an expansive income tax policy that is adopted to increase public education expenditure per pupil. It is shown that such a policy may exacerbate income inequality in the long run if for the less skilled dynasties, the benefits of more public spending on education does not make up for the negative effects of increased parental absences. However, if the migration-induced tax base erosion is not severe, an expansive income tax policy indeed enhances future human capital for all dynasties, and moreover, it may help the less skilled households escape from the poverty trap, thus reducing long-run inequality.
    Keywords: Human Capital; Income Inequality; Parental Migration; Public Education Expenditure; Tax Base Erosion
    JEL: H20 H52 O15 O40
    Date: 2010–03–16
  3. By: John Ermisch; Chiara Pronzato
    Abstract: The paper shows that parents’ education is an important, but hardly exclusive part of the common family background that generates positive correlation between the educational attainments of siblings from the same family. But the correlation between the educational attainments of parents and those of their children overstates considerably the causal effect of parents’ education on the education of their children. Our estimates based on Norwegian twin-mothers indicate that an additional year of either mother’s or father’s education increases their children’s education by as little as one-tenth of a year. There is some evidence that the mother’s effect is larger among poorer educated parents, while the father’s effect is larger among better educated parents. We also find that the effect of mother’s education is larger for daughters than sons. There is evidence that father’s education has a larger effect than that of mothers in both the USA and Norway, but the difference in the estimated parental effects is much larger in the USA and is statistically significantly there. One explanation for a smaller maternal effect is that better educated mothers work more in paid employment and spend less time interacting with their children. We test this hypothesis using a ‘matching estimator’ for Norway and find no evidence to support it; indeed children of otherwise identical mothers (on a number of criteria, including both parents education) who worked more in paid employment completed more years of education.
    Keywords: Parents Education, Children Education
    JEL: D0
    Date: 2010–02
  4. By: Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb; James, K. S.
    Abstract: South Asia has the highest rate of child malnutrition in the world, despite rapid economic growth compared to other regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. Known as the ‘South Asian enigma’ this feature is partly attributed to the low status of women in South Asian societies. This paper examines this tenet in the context of India, with particular emphasis on possible differences between rural and urban scenarios. The empirical evidence reveals some important differences, which are relevant for policies relating to women’s empowerment against a backdrop of rapid urbanization.
    Keywords: urbanization, women, malnutrition, slums, India
    Date: 2010
  5. By: V.Carta; M.Porcu
    Abstract: It is well known that, as a measure of well-being, the Gross Domestic Product does not reflect the real wealth of a country but just its monetary counterpart. Thus, it is not fit to differentiate between the costs that enhance welfare and those which, instead, undermine it. For this reason some corrective measures of well-being have been advanced in the literature, one of the most important is the so called Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare. The aim of this work is to explore some of the features of this measure and to calculate it for Italy up to year 2006 comparing it with the time series of Gross Domestic Product. In particular our purpose is to analyze whether the ISEW for Italy registered a decreasing trend as well as the ISEW of other countries. This negative trend was not visible in the previous studies because of the lack of recent data which could not allow to register the threshold point of the index.
    Keywords: well-being; corrective measures; ISEW; GDP
    JEL: C43 I31
    Date: 2010
  6. By: V.Pelligra; A.Isoni; R.Fadda; I.Doneddu
    Abstract: Models of social preferences explain departures from pure self-interest as a consequence of either outcome-based or intention-based other-regarding motives. Various experimental studies lend support to the conclusion that subjects behave as if they conditioned their behaviour on the perceived intentions of others. We present a new experiment that explores this as if clause by making the ability to detect intentions a treatment variable. We compare normally developing children with autistic children – typically unable to perceive intentions – and find differences consistent with the hypothesis that behaviour responds to intentions, especially if unkind.
    Keywords: Social Preferences; Theory of Mind; Intentionality; Autism
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2010
  7. By: A.Campus; M.Porcu
    Abstract: The main aim of this paper is to build up and to analyze a composite indicator, the Happy Planet Index (HPI), as an alternative measure to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in evaluating nations’ well-being. HPI was firstly developed by the New Economic Foundation in July 2006 and it is the first well-being composite indicator that considers in its calculation a subjective measure of well-being: life satisfaction. This work updates the HPI for 178 countries using the most recent available datasets. Due to the lack of country data for some of the variables used to build up the HPI, it has been necessary to run some missing data estimation procedures. The results obtained show that no country manage to score high in terms of HPI because of countries’ incapacity to maintain high living standards (expressed in terms of happy life years) and at the same time assure sustainability. Comparing HPI with GDP, no association between the resulting countries’ classification was found, living proof that this indicator does not reflect the same reality that GDP illustrates.
    Keywords: indicators; beyond GDP; HPI; happiness; life satisfaction
    JEL: C43 E01
    Date: 2010
  8. By: Martinsson, Peter (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. (ESMT European School of Management and Technology); Wollbrant, Conny (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: We test the proposition that individuals may experience a self-control conflict between short-term temptation to be selfish and better judgment to act pro-socially. Using a dictator game and a public goods game, we manipulated the likelihood that individuals identified self-control conflict, and we measured their trait ability to implement self-control strategies. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that trait self-control exhibits a positive and significant correlation with pro-social behavior in the treatment that raises likelihood of conflict identification, but not in the treatment that reduces likelihood of conflict identification.<p>
    Keywords: self-control; pro-social behavior; altruism; experiment.
    JEL: D01 D64 D70
    Date: 2010–05–10

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