New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒07‒03
five papers chosen by

  1. Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being By Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer
  2. Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from Educational Expansion in Western Germany By Steffen Reinhold
  3. Association of smoking and drinking with socioeconomic factors: A comparative study based on bivariate probit model analysis By Oshio, Takashi; Kobayashi, Miki
  4. Assessing Well-being Using Hierarchical Needs By Matthew Clarke
  5. An experimental analysis of the impact of survey design on measures and models of subjective wellbeing By Pudney S

  1. By: Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer (University of Basel)
    Abstract: Over the last decades, empirical research on subjective well-being in the social<br />sciences has provided a major new stimulus to the discourse on individual happiness.<br />Recently this research has also been linked to economics where reported subjective wellbeing<br />is often taken as a proxy measure for individual welfare. In our review, we intend to<br />provide an evaluation of where the economic research on happiness stands and of three<br />directions it might develop. First, it offers new ways for testing the basic assumptions of the<br />economic approach and for going about a new understanding of utility. Second, it provides a<br />new possibility for the complementary testing of theories across fields in economics. Third,<br />we inquire how the insights gained from the study of individual happiness in economics affect<br />public policy.<br />Keywords: Economics, happiness, life satisfaction, survey data, income, public goods,<br />unemployment<br />JEL Classifications: A10, D60, H41, I31
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Steffen Reinhold (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA))
    Abstract: During the postwar period German states pursued policies to increase the share of young Germans obtaining a university entrance diploma (Abitur) by building more academic track schools, but the timing of educational expansion differed between states. This creates exogenous variation in the availability of higher education, which allows estimating the causal effect of education on health behaviors. Using the number of academic track schools in a state as an instrumental variable for years of schooling, we investigate the causal effect of schooling on health behavior such as smoking and related outcomes such as obesity. We find large negative effects of education on smoking. These effects can mostly be attributed to reductions in starting rates rather than increases in quitting rates. We find no causal effect of education on reduced overweight and obesity.
    JEL: I12 I20
    Date: 2009–08–21
  3. By: Oshio, Takashi; Kobayashi, Miki
    Abstract: In this study, we examined the differences between smoking and drinking in regard to their associations with socioeconomic factors among about 7,000 Japanese workers. Using microdata from nationwide surveys in Japan, we estimated bivariate probit models to jointly explore how smoking and drinking are related to a wide variety of socioeconomic factors. We found that only educational attainment is consistently and negatively associated with both smoking and drinking for both genders. The associations with other socioeconomic factors are not uniform between smoking and drinking and between men and women. A notable finding is that smoking is more sensitive than drinking to daily or continuous stress related to one's jobs and perceptions of one's income class, especially among men.
    Keywords: Smoking, Drinking, Bivariate probit model
    Date: 2010–06
  4. By: Matthew Clarke
    Abstract: Determining whether well-being has improved is an important multidisciplinary task. It is important therefore to develop a multidimensional measure of well-being that reflects a wide spectrum of human needs. A new approach is presented in this paper based on multidimensional hierarchical human needs and motivation. Improving well-being within this multidimensional approach requires progressive satiation of hierarchical needs. Eight indicators have been chosen to reflect these four hierarchical categories. This paper empirically applies this new measure of well-being to eight Southeast Asian countries for the period 1985-2000: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Results for Australia are also provided as a comparative benchmark.[Research Paper No. 2005/22]
    Keywords: well-being, Maslow, Southeast Asia
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Pudney S (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: We analyse the results of experiments on aspects of the design of questionnaire and interview mode in the 2009 wave of the new UK Understanding Society panel survey. The randomised experiments relate to job- and life-satisfaction questions and vary the labeling of response scales, the mode of interviewing and the location of questions within the interview. We find a highly significant impact of these design features on the distributions of reported satisfaction in various life domains and some important impacts on the findings from conventional cross-section models of satisfaction.
    Date: 2010–06–24

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