nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒06‒11
seven papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Effects of Universal Child Care Participation on Pre-teen Skills and Risky Behaviors By Nabanita Datta Gupta; Marianne Simonsen
  2. A global perspective on happiness and fertility By Rachel Margolis; Mikko Myrskylä
  3. Making Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach Operational: A Random Scale Framework for Empirical Modeling By Dagsvik John. K.
  4. The role of parental investments for cognitive and noncognitive skill formation: Evidence for the first 11 years of life By Coneus, Katja; Laucht, Manfred; Reuß, Karsten
  5. Priming and the Reliability of Subjective Well-being Measures By Sgroi, Daniel; Proto, Eugenio; Oswald, Andrew J.; Dobson, Alexander
  6. Recent Trends in the Distribution of Income: Labor, Wealth and More Complete Measures of Well Being By Jeff Thompson; Timothy M. Smeeding
  7. Is there any relationship between Economic Growth and Human Development? Evidence from Indian States By Mukherjee, Sacchidananda; Chakraborty, Debashis

  1. By: Nabanita Datta Gupta (ASB, Aarhus University, Denmark); Marianne Simonsen (School of Economics and Management, Aarhus University, Denmark)
    Abstract: This paper uses a Danish panel data child survey merged with administrative records along with a pseudo-experiment that generates variation in the take-up of preschool across municipalities to investigate pre-teenage effects of child care participation at age three (either parental care, preschool, or more informal family day care) in a regime with large scale publicly provided universal care. As outcomes, we consider measures of overall and risky behavior in addition to objective and self-evaluated abilities. We find that eleven-year-old children who have been in non-parental care at age three perform just as well as children who have been in parental care. Furthermore, there is no evidence that one type of non-parental care outperforms the other.
    Keywords: universal child care, skills, risky behaviors, evaluation
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2010–06–07
  2. By: Rachel Margolis; Mikko Myrskylä (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: The literature on fertility and happiness has neglected comparative analysis. We investigate the fertility-happiness association using data for 86 countries. We find that globally, happiness decreases with the number of children. This association, however, is strongly modified by individual and contextual factors. Most importantly, we find that the association between happiness and fertility evolves from negative to neutral to positive above age 40, and is strongest among those who are likely to benefit most from upward intergenerational transfers. In addition, analyses by welfare regime show that the negative fertility-happiness association for younger adults is weakest in countries with high public support for families, and the positive association above age 40 is strongest in countries where old-age support depends mostly on the family. Overall these results suggest that children are a long-term investment in well-being, and highlight the importance of the life-cycle stage and contextual factors in explaining the happiness-fertility association.
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2010–06
  3. By: Dagsvik John. K.
    Date: 2010–06
  4. By: Coneus, Katja; Laucht, Manfred; Reuß, Karsten
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of parental investments on the development of cognitive, mental and emotional skills during childhood using data from a longitudinal study, the Mannheim Study of Children at Risk, starting at birth. Our work offers three important innovations. First, we use reliable measures of the child's cognitive, mental and emotional skills as well as accurate measures of parental investment. Second, we estimate latent factor models to account for unobserved characteristics of children. Third, we examine the skill development for girls and boys separately, as well as for children who were born with either organic or psychosocial risk. We find a decreasing impact of parental investments on cognitive and mental skills, while emotional skills seem to be unaffected by parental investment throughout childhood. Thus, initial inequality persists during childhood. Since families are the main sources of education during the first years of life, our results have important implications for the quality of the parent-child relationship. --
    Keywords: cognitive skills,noncognitive skills,critical and sensitive periods,self-productivity,inequality,organic risk,psychosocial risk
    JEL: I12 I21 J13
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Sgroi, Daniel (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Proto, Eugenio (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Oswald, Andrew J. (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Dobson, Alexander (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Economists and behavioural scientists are beginning to make extensive use of measures of subjective well-being, and such data are potentially of value to policy-makers. A particularly famous difficulty is that of “priming”: if the order or nature of survey questions changes people’s likely replies then we have grounds to be concerned about the reliability of well-being data and inferences from them. This study tests for priming effects from important life events. It presents evidence from a laboratory experiment which indicates that subjective well-being measures are in general robust to such concerns.
    Keywords: happiness ; life satisfaction ; subjective well-being ; priming, surveys JEL Codes: D03 ; C83 ; C91
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Jeff Thompson; Timothy M. Smeeding
    Abstract: >The impact of the great recession on inequality is unclear. Because the crises in the housing and stock markets and mass job loss affect incomes from across the entire distribution, the overall impact on inequality is difficult to determine. Early speculation using a variety of narrow measures of earnings, income and consumption yield contradictory results. In this paper, we develop new estimates of income inequality based on ‘more complete income’ (MCI), which augments standard income measures with those that are accrued from the ownership of wealth. We use the 1989-2007 Surveys of Consumer Finances, and also construct MCI measures for 2009 based on projections of assets, income, and earnings. <p></p> We investigate the level and trend in MCI inequality and compare it to other estimates of overall and ‘high incomes’ in the literature. Compared to standard measures of income, MCI suggests higher levels of inequality and slightly larger increases in inequality over time. Several MCI-based inequality measures peaked in 2007 at their highest levels in twenty years. The combined impact of the “great recession” on the housing, stock, and labor markets after 2007 has reduced some measures of income inequality at the top of the MCI distribution. Despite declining from the 2007 peak, however, inequality remains as high as levels experienced earlier in the decade, and much higher than most points over the last twenty years. In the middle of the income distribution, the declines in income from wealth after 2007 were the result of diminished value of residential real estate; at the top of the distribution declines in the value of business assets had the greatest impact. <p></p> We also assess the level and trend in the functional distribution of income between capital and labor, and find a rising share of income accruing to real capital or wealth from 1989 to 2007. The recent economic crisis has diminished the capital share back to levels from 2004. Contrary to the findings of other researchers, we find that the labor share of income among high-income groups declined between 1992 and 2007.
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Mukherjee, Sacchidananda; Chakraborty, Debashis
    Abstract: The paper attempts to analyse the relationship between economic growth and human development for 28 major Indian States during four time periods ranging over last two decades: 1983, 1993, 1999-00 and 2004-05. To construct Human Development Index for Indian States, we consider the National Human Development Report 2001 Methodology. The objective of this exercise to understand at what degree and extent the per capita income (as an indicator of economic growth) has influenced the human development across Indian States. To understand the rural – urban disparity in the achievement of human development, the Human Development Index is constructed for rural and urban areas separately for each of the States. The result shows that that per capita income is not translating into human well being. This perhaps in another way might signify the rising influence of other variables in determination of the HD achievements of a state. The result shows the need for further investigation to determine the underlying factors (other than per capita income) which influence HD achievements of a State.
    Keywords: Economic Growth; Human Development; Human Development Index Methodology; Economic Liberalisation; Indian States
    JEL: O47 H75 O15 E21 C01
    Date: 2010–05–31

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