nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒07‒24
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Macro Determinants of Individual Income Poverty in 93 Regions of Europe By REINSTADLER Anne; RAY Jean-Claude
  2. Predicting the Trend of Well-Being in Germany: How Much Do Comparisons, Adaptation and Sociability Matter? By BARTOLINI Stefano; BILANCINI Ennio; SARRACINO Francesco
  3. GDP and the Value of Family Caretaking: How Much Does Europe Care? By Giannelli, Gianna Claudia; Mangiavacchi, Lucia; Piccoli, Luca
  4. Social Capital and Political Accountability By Tommaso Nannicini; Andrea Stella; Guido Tabellini; Ugo Troiano
  5. Improving human development: a long-run view By Leandro Prados de la Escosura

  1. By: REINSTADLER Anne; RAY Jean-Claude
    Abstract: The analysis of the at-risk-of-poverty determinants can be improved by taking into account factors at macro (regional) level. This hypothesis has already been made in previous research, at country-level, on cross-sectional data. We use longitudinal data in this analysis in order to get more precise estimated parameters, and we test if the regional unemployment rate and the regional GDP affect the individual at-risk-of-poverty status. The countries taken into account are those present in the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) dataset.
    Keywords: income poverty; EU-SILC; multilevel models; longitudinal data
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2010–04
  2. By: BARTOLINI Stefano; BILANCINI Ennio; SARRACINO Francesco
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data on households living in Germany, we quantify what part of the change in subjective well-being observed over the last two decades is predicted by changes in variables which typically show strong cross-sectional correlation with subjective well-being. We especially focus on absolute income, income comparisons, income adaptation, and sociability, ?nding that all have some predictive power. The increase in sociability indicators predicts the largest positive change in subjective well-being. Absolute income, income comparisons and income adaptation also predict substantial changes in subjective well-being, if taken separately. However, if considered together their net prediction is quite small: the positive change predicted by income growth is compensated for about three fourths by the joint negative predictions due to income comparison and income adaptation. Finally, we ?nd that aging of the population predicts the largest negative change in subjective well-being. This result appears to hinge on the large loss of satisfaction experienced by individuals in old age.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being; Life satisfaction; Social capital; Sociability; Relational goods; Relative income; Social comparisons; Income adaptation
    JEL: I30 O10
    Date: 2010–05
  3. By: Giannelli, Gianna Claudia (University of Florence); Mangiavacchi, Lucia (Universita de les Illes Balears); Piccoli, Luca (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This study estimates the size and value of unpaid family caretaking activities at a European level. While at a country level several studies are available, a comprehensive evaluation for Europe as a whole was missing so far, mainly due to data limitations. This paper fills this gap using a method that merges the information of an EU household survey (EU-SILC) with a time use survey (HETUS). Monetary values of unpaid family domestic work and unpaid family childcare work are obtained applying both the opportunity cost and the market replacement approaches. For Europe as a whole, the total value of these activities ranges between 20.1 per cent and 36.8 per cent of the EU GDP, depending on the applied methodology. The national values of these activities are discussed and an interpretation of the country differentials in the family caretaking gender gaps is given in terms of differences in culture, economic development and welfare state.
    Keywords: unpaid domestic work, family care work, gender inequality, opportunity cost, market replacement approach
    JEL: D19 J16 R20
    Date: 2010–07
  4. By: Tommaso Nannicini (Bocconi University, IGIER & IZA); Andrea Stella (Harvard University); Guido Tabellini (Bocconi University, IGIER, CEPR & CIFAR); Ugo Troiano (Harvard University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we empirically investigate a channel through which social capital may improve economic wellbeing and the functioning of institutions: political accountability. The main idea is that voters who share norms of generalized morality demand higher standards of behavior on their elected representavtives, are more willing to bear the cost of acquiring information, and are more likely to base their vote on criteria of social welfare rather than (narrow) personal interest. We take this conjecture to the data using information on the Italian members of Parliament in the postwar period (1948–2001). The empirical evidence shows that the electoral punishment of political misbehavior is considerably larger in electoral districts with high social capital, where social capital is measured by blood donation, and political misbehavior refers to receiving a request of criminal prosecution or shirking in parliamentary activity. Accordingly, episodes of political misbehavior are less frequent in electoral districts with high social capital.
    Keywords: Social Capital, Culture, Political Agency
    JEL: D72 D73 Z10
    Date: 2010–05
  5. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura
    Abstract: The pessimistic flavour of the Human Development Reports appears to be in contradiction with their own numbers as developing countries fare comparatively better in human development than in per capita GDP terms. This paper attempts to bridge this gap by providing a new, ‘improved’ human development index [IHDI], informed by welfare economics. The IHDI is presented here alongside the UNDP’s HDI for the world and its main regions since the late nineteenth century. Social dimensions in the IHDI are derived, following Kakwani (1993), with a convex achievement function, while a geometric average is employed to combine its dimensions (longevity, knowledge, and income). Thus, the IHDI does not conceal the gap between rich and poor countries and casts a much less optimistic view than the conventional UNDP index, while fits with the UNDP concern for international differences. The paper’s findings highlight main weaknesses in human development dimensions of present-day developing countries.
    Keywords: Human development, Life expectancy, Education, Per capita GDP
    JEL: O15 I00 N30 O50
    Date: 2010–06

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