nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2010‒11‒27
seven papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. The New Battle of the Sexes: Understanding the Reversal of the Happiness Gender Gap By Catherine Pakaluk; Joseph Burke
  2. The effect of reciprocal motives, personality traits and wage differnences on public employee's job satisfaction By Tepe, Markus
  3. Financial Development, Entrepreneurship, and Job Satisfaction. By Bianchi, Milo
  4. The Impact of Climate on Life Satisfaction By David Maddison; Katrin Rehdanz
  5. Corruption and Sustainable Development By Aidt, T.S.
  6. An exploratory analysis of the relationship between social interactions, income and health in Italy By Fiorillo, Damiano; Sabatini, Fabio
  7. Measuring inequality of poverty: theory and an application to India By Singh, Ashish

  1. By: Catherine Pakaluk (Department of Economics, Ave Maria University); Joseph Burke (Department of Economics, Ave Maria University)
    Abstract: In the Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, Stevenson and Wolfers (2007) document a new “gender gap” between the sexes, in which women today generally report lower subjective well-being relative to men. Motivated by recent work on gender-specific preferences, this paper considers whether changes in contraceptive technology, and the Pill especially, may have played some role in the declining relative (self-reported) happiness of women. We examine a simple model in which men and women have different preferences over sex and children. We find that plausible differences in male-female preference structures can yield the observed reversal in relative happiness following the introduction of a single technology which may prevent conception but yields no disutility to men. We attempt to characterize the fundamental tradeoffs in a static game of complete information, and make some extensions to repeated games. We find that preference structures substantially change the way in which the Pill may affect bargaining power and outcomes. The model suggests that men may have benefited more than women from the Pill in particular, and raises the question of whether other forms of family planning might better equalize the relative positions of men and women in partnerships. These results have particular relevance for feminist critiques of the sexual revolution.
    Keywords: simultaneous game, contraception, fertility, gender, female happiness
    JEL: C72 J12 J13 J16 Z13
    Date: 2010–11
  2. By: Tepe, Markus
    Abstract: This study explores the determinants of public employees' job satisfaction. We are focusing on three concepts - reciprocal motives, personality traits and wage differences - to explain job satisfaction and production sector affiliation. Estimation results obtained from multivariate analyses on individual level data from the German Socio-economic Panel Study (GSOEP) can be summarized in three points: First, in contrast to reciprocal motives, personality traits have a unique and direct effect on public and private sector employees' job satisfaction. Second, even though we cannot proof that public employees at the high-end of the earnings distribution trade a loss in pecuniary benefits against an increase in non-pecuniary benefits, the empirical analysis strongly supports the notion that public employees' job satisfaction function varies across the earnings distribution. Finally, public employees' personal characteristics can be associated with lower levels of negative reciprocity, conscientiousness and neuroticism, pointing out to a potential self-selection and recruitment bias in the public sector. -- Diese Studie untersucht die Determinanten der Arbeitszufriedenheit von Beschäftigten im öffentlichen Dienst. Wir konzentrieren uns auf drei Konzepte - reziprokes Verhalten, Persönlichkeitsmerkmale und Lohndifferenzen - um Arbeitszufriedenheit und Produktionssektorzugehörigkeit zu erklären. Die vorläufigen Ergebnisse der multivariaten Analyse auf Basis der Daten des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels (SOEP) 2005 können in drei Punkten zusammengefasst werden: Erstens, im Gegensatz zur Reziprozität, haben die Persönlichkeitsmerkmale einen distinkten und direkten Einfluss auf die Arbeitszufriedenheit im öffentlichen und privaten Sektor. Zweitens, wir finden systematische Variation in den Determinanten der Arbeitszufriedenheit öffentlich und privat Beschäftigter in Abhängigkeit von deren Position in der Lohneinkommensverteilung. Drittens, die empirische Analyse liefert Anhaltspunkte, dass Personen mit geringerer negativer Reziprozität, Gewissenhaftigkeit, Neurotizismus tendenziell eher im öffentlichen Sektor beschäftigt sind.
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Bianchi, Milo
    Abstract: This paper shows that utility differences between the self-employed and employees increase with financial development. This effect is not explained by increased profits but by an increased value of non- monetary benefits, in particular job independence. We interpret these findings by building a simple occupational choice model in which financial constraints may impede the creation of firms and depress labor demand, thereby pushing some individuals into self-employment for lack of salaried jobs. In this setting, financial development favors a better matching between individual motivation and occupation, thereby increasing entrepreneurial utility despite increasing competition and so reducing profits.
    Keywords: Financial development; entrepreneurship; job satisfaction;
    JEL: L26 J20 O16
    Date: 2010
  4. By: David Maddison; Katrin Rehdanz
    Abstract: We analyse the influence of climate on average life satisfaction in 87 countries using data from the World Values Survey. Climate is described in terms of ‘degree-months’ calculated using an optimally-selected base temperature of 65°F (18.3°C). Our results suggest that countries with climates characterised by a large number of degree-months enjoy significantly lower levels of life satisfaction. This finding is robust to a wide variety of model specifications. Using our results to analyse a particular climate change scenario associated with the IPCC A2 emissions scenario points to major losses for African countries, but modest gains for Northern Europe
    Keywords: climate; climate change; happiness; life satisfaction; survey data
    JEL: D60 H41 I31 Q51 Q54
    Date: 2010–11
  5. By: Aidt, T.S.
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between corruption and sustainable development in a sample of 110 countries between 1996 and 2007. Sustainability is measured by growth in genuine wealth per capita. The empirical analysis consistently finds that cross-national measures of perceived and experienced corruption reduce growth in genuine wealth per capita. In contrast to the evidence on the relationship between corruption and growth in GDP per capita, the negative correlation between a wide range of different corruption indices and growth in genuine wealth per capita is very robust and is of economic as well as of statistical significance. We relate the finding to the literature on the resource curse and demonstrate that rampant corruption can put an economy on an unsustainable path along which its capital base is being eroded.
    Keywords: Corruption, sustainable development, resource curse, cross-country analysis
    JEL: D72 D78
    Date: 2010–11–16
  6. By: Fiorillo, Damiano; Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: This paper carries out a preliminary and exploratory investigation into the effect of various types of social interaction on health in Italy. After controlling for household income, education, work status and a number of socio-demographic variables, we find that the frequency of meetings with friends is significantly and positively associated with self-perceived health. The frequency of visits with relatives has a significant, but weaker effect. Membership in voluntary organizations is a significant and weakly negative predictor of good health. Other relevant explanatory variables are education and work status.
    Keywords: Statistical matching; income; wealth; well-being; social interactions; social capital; health; Italy.
    JEL: I12 Z13
    Date: 2010–11–15
  7. By: Singh, Ashish
    Abstract: The commonly used poverty indices measure the overall level of poverty in a society but fail to capture the differential intensity across different socioeconomic groups. This paper proposes a new measure, Inequality of Poverty Index (similar to dissimilarity index in the literature on inequality of opportunity) which captures inequality in distribution of poverty across different subgroups. It can be used to determine the major socioeconomic factors/characteristics/circumstances causing between-group disparity in poverty and effect of a specific factor on poverty relative to other factors and time. The paper also provides an application of the index and potential policy implications.
    Keywords: Poverty; Inequality; Inequality of Poverty Index
    JEL: D63 I32
    Date: 2010–05–15

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