New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2011‒01‒30
two papers chosen by

  1. Employed but Still Unhappy?: On the Relevance of the Social Work Norm By Adrian Chadi
  2. Mother's Autonomy and Child Welfare: A New Measure and Some New Evidence By Chakraborty, Tanika; De, Prabal K.

  1. By: Adrian Chadi
    Abstract: In the modern welfare state, people who cannot make a living usually receive financial assistance from public funds. Accordingly, the so-called social work norm against living off other people is violated, which may be the reason why the unemployed are so unhappy. If so, however, labour market concepts based on the notion of promoting low-paid jobs that are subsidised if necessary with additional payments would appear far less favourable. It could be that people are employed, but still unhappy. Using German panel data, this paper examines the relevance of the social work norm and finds a significant disutility effect of living off public funds. Although this is true for employed people as well, the results show that the individual is generally better off having a job that requires additional assistance, than having no job at all. On the other hand, such policies as the recent German labour market reforms can trigger undesired side-effects, if policy-makers ignore the issue of the social work norm.
    Keywords: Unemployment, Social benefits, Low-wages, Labour market policies, Social norms, Well-being
    JEL: I31 J38 J60
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Chakraborty, Tanika (DIW Berlin); De, Prabal K. (City College of New York)
    Abstract: We construct a new, direct measure of female autonomy in household decision-making by creating an index from the principal components of a variety of household variables on which mother of a child takes decision. We then examine its impacts on her child’s secondary education in Mexico and find that the children of Mexican mothers with greater autonomy in domestic decision making have higher enrolment in and lower probability of dropping out of secondary school. We use the relative proximity of spousal parents as instruments for relative autonomy to ameliorate the potential endogeneity between autonomy and welfare outcomes. We argue that omitted variables that may drive education and autonomy are likely to be uncorrelated with the ones driving location choice of families given the migration patterns in Mexico. However, the positive autonomy effect is weaker and non-existent for older children and for girls suggesting that gender-directed conditional cash transfer policies may not necessarily hasten educational and gender transition in the process of development.
    Keywords: female empowerment, principal component, education, instrumental variable
    JEL: D1 I2 J1
    Date: 2011–01

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