nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒05‒22
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being in and out of Management Positions By Eileen Trzcinski; Elke Holst
  2. Income Comparisons among Neighbours and Life Satisfaction in East and West Germany By Gundi Knies
  3. Key Outcomes for Children: New Evidence from 'Growing up in Ireland' By Williams, James; Greene, Sheila
  4. Can subjective well-being predict unemployment length ? By Mavridis, Dimitris
  5. Neighborhood Context, Poverty, and Urban Children’s Outdoor Play By Rachel Tolbert Kimbro; Jeanne Brooks-Gunn; Sara McLanahan

  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.
    Keywords: Gender, Management Positions, Subjective Well-Being, Career/Family Orientation
    JEL: J15 J16 J71 M12 M14
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Gundi Knies
    Abstract: A series of studies have suggested that changes in others’ income may be perceived differently in post-transition and capitalist societies. This paper draws on the German Socio-economic Panel Study (SOEP) matched with micro-marketing indicators of population characteristics in very tightly drawn neighbourhoods to investigate whether reactions to changes in their neighbours’ income divide the German nation. We find that the neighbourhood income effect for West Germany is negative (which is in line with the ‘relative income’ hypothesis) and slightly more marked in neighbourhoods that may be assumed to be places where social interactions between neighbours take place. In contrast, the coefficients on neighbourhood income in East Germany are positive (which is consistent with the 'signalling' hypothesis), but statistically not 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.
    Keywords: Comparison income, Reference group, Life Satisfaction, Neighbourhood effects
    JEL: I31 C23 Z1
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Williams, James; Greene, Sheila
    Keywords: children/Ireland
    Date: 2010–04
  4. By: Mavridis, Dimitris
    Abstract: This paper uses 16 waves of panel data from the British Household Panel Survey to evaluate the role of subjective well-being in determining labor market transitions. It confirms a previous finding in the literature: individuals report a fall in their happiness when they lose a job, but they report a smaller fall when they are surrounded by unemployed peers, an effect called the"social norm". The main results of interest are that job search effort and unemployment duration are affected by the utility differential between having a job and being unemployed. Since this differential is also affected by the social norm, it implies that when unemployment increases, the unemployed are happier and they reduce their search effort. These results indicate that unemployment hysteresis has labor supply causes.
    Keywords: Labor Markets,Labor Policies,Population Policies,Youth and Governance,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2010–05–01
  5. By: Rachel Tolbert Kimbro (Rice University); Jeanne Brooks-Gunn (Columbia University); Sara McLanahan (Princeton University)
    Abstract: Although research consistently demonstrates a link between neighborhood conditions and physical activity for adults and adolescents, less is known about residential context and young children’s physical activity. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=2,210), we explore whether outdoor play and television watching are associated with children’s body mass indexes (BMIs) at age five; and whether subjective and objective neighborhood measures are associated with children’s outdoor play and television watching. Hours of outdoor play and television viewing are associated with BMI. Higher maternal perceptions of neighborhood collective efficacy are associated with more hours of outdoor play, fewer hours of television viewing, and more trips to a park or playground. In addition, we find that neighborhood physical disorder is associated with more outdoor play and more television watching. Finally, we find that children living in public housing have one-third more outdoor play time than other children.
    Keywords: residential context, physical activity, young children, body mass indexes, Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, television viewing
    JEL: D19 D63 I00 J13
    Date: 2010–04

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