New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒08‒21
three papers chosen by

  1. Comparing the Welfare of Growing Economies By B. Asheim, Geir
  2. Is the Just Man a Happy Man? An Empirical Study of the Relationship Between Ethics and Subjective Well-being By Harvey, James S. Jr.
  3. Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: the effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality By Avner Offer; Rachel Pechey; Stanley Ulijaszek

  1. By: B. Asheim, Geir (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Economies that currently have the same productive capacity may implement different growth rates. This entails that it is insufficient to base international comparisons of welfare solely on current well-being, or introducing the potential for future growth in an arbitrary manner. NNP-based measures trade off current well-being and the potential for future growth in a consistent manner. This paper shows that it matters for NNP-based measures whether different growth rates in different economies are due to different technological opportunities or different social preferences for development.
    Keywords: National accounting; Growth; Dynamic welfare
    JEL: D60 D90 O47
    Date: 2010–02–10
  2. By: Harvey, James S. Jr.
    Abstract: In this paper I consider the question of whether ethical decision-making affects a personâs happiness. Using cross-country data from the World Values Survey, I find that people who agree that it is never justifiable to engage in ethically-questionable behaviors report that they are more satisfied with their life than people who are more tolerant of unethical conduct, even after controlling for other factors known to affect self-reported happiness. The size of the ethics effect is roughly similar to that of a modest increase in income, being married and attending church, while the effect is smaller than that of having poor health or being dissatisfied with oneâs personal finances. These results are robust across the four countries studied (the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil), although there is variation in the ethics and happiness relationship across countries. One implication of this study is that a consideration of a societyâs ethical norms will improve our understanding of the subjective well-being of people.
    Keywords: Happiness, subjective well-being, ethics, World Values Survey, Labor and Human Capital, D63, D99, Z13,
    Date: 2009–12–02
  3. By: Avner Offer (All Souls College, University of Oxford, OX1 4AL, UK); Rachel Pechey (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, OX2 6PE, UK); Stanley Ulijaszek (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, OX2 6PE, UK)
    Abstract: Among affluent countries, those with market-liberal welfare regimes (which are also English-speaking) tend to have the highest prevalence of obesity. The impact of cheap, accessible high-energy food is often invoked in explanation. An alternative approach is that overeating is a response to stress, and that competition, uncertainty and inequality make market-liberal societies more stressful. This ecological regression meta-study pools 96 body-weight surveys from 11 countries c. 1994-2004. The fast-food ‘shock’ impact is found to work most strongly in market liberal countries. Economic insecurity, measured in several different ways, was almost twice as powerful, while the impact of inequality was weak, and went in the opposite direction.
    Date: 2010–07–15

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