New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2011‒03‒05
nine papers chosen by

  1. Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis of the Human Development Index By Milorad Kovacevic; Clara García Aguña
  2. Beyond the Joneses: inter-country income comparisons and happiness By Leonardo Becchetti; Stefano Castriota; Elena Giachin Ricca
  3. Retirement and Subjective Well-Being By Bonsang, Eric; Klein, Tobias J.
  4. State Density and Capabilities Approach: Conceptual, Methodological and Empirical Issues By Efraín Gonzales de Olarte; Javier M. Iguiñiz Echeverría
  5. Inequality of Happiness in US: 1972-2008 By Indranil Dutta; James Foster
  6. Capturing impacts of Leader and of measures to improve Quality of Life in rural areas By Grieve, John; Lukesch, Robert; Weinspach, Ulrike; Fernandes, Pedro Alfonso; Brakalova, Marina; Cristiano, Simona; Geissendorfer, Manfred; Nemes, Gustav; O´Gready, S.; Sepulveda, Rodrigo Ortiz; Pfefferkorn, Wolfgang; Pollerman, Kim; Pylkkanen, Paivi; Ricci, Carlo; Slee, William
  7. Evaluating the Improvement of Quality of Life in Rural Areas By Cagliero, Roberto; Cristiano, Simona; Pierangeli, Fabio; Tarangioli, Serena
  8. The influence of the natural environment and climate on life satisfaction in Australia By Ambrey, Christopher; Fleming, Christopher
  9. How Gender Inequalities Hinder Development : Cross-Country Evidence. By Gaëlle Ferrant

  1. By: Milorad Kovacevic (Human Development Report Office, UNDP); Clara García Aguña (Human Development Report Office, UNDP)
    Abstract: This paper discusses the methodological judgments made during the development of the Human Development Index (HDI), and analyzes the quantitative and qualitative impact of different methodological choices on the HDI scores, as well as on the associated changes in ranking. This analysis is particularly pertinent this year, in light of the methodological refinements that have been implemented with the occasion of the HDI 20th anniversary.
    Keywords: Index Numbers and Aggregation; Methodological Issues; Statistical Simulation Methods; Human Development
    JEL: C43 C15 O15
    Date: 2011–02
  2. By: Leonardo Becchetti; Stefano Castriota; Elena Giachin Ricca
    Abstract: Our paper provides some novel evidence on the burgeoning literature on life satisfaction and relative comparisons by showing that in the last 30 years comparisons with the wellbeing of top income countries have generated progressively more negative feelings on a large sample of individuals in the Eurobarometer survey. The paper contributes in two main directions: (i) it shows that countries, and not just neighbors, can be reference groups; (ii) it documents a globalization effect by which distant countries become progressively closer and comparisons among them more intense and relevant. Our findings may be interpreted in support of the well known hypothesis that migratory decisions are affected by the gap in economic wellbeing between origin and destination country since they document that such gap affects individual life satisfaction.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, relative income, standard of living, comparisons.
    JEL: D31 E01 I31 J61
    Date: 2010–12–15
  3. By: Bonsang, Eric (ROA, Maastricht University); Klein, Tobias J. (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: We provide an explanation for the common finding that the effect of retirement on life satisfaction is negligible. For this we use subjective well-being measures for life and domains of life satisfaction that are available in the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) and show that the effect of voluntary retirement on satisfaction with current household income is negative, while the effect on satisfaction with leisure is positive. At the same time, the effect on health satisfaction is positive but small. Following the life domain approach we then argue that these effects offset each other for an average individual and that therefore the overall effect is negligible. Furthermore, we show that it is important to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary retirement. The effect of involuntary retirement is negative because the adverse effect on satisfaction with household income is bigger, the favorable effect on satisfaction with leisure is smaller, and the effect on satisfaction with health is not significantly different from zero. These results turn out to be robust to using different identification strategies such as fixed effects and first differences estimation, as well as instrumental variables estimation using eligibility ages and plant closures as instruments for voluntary and involuntary retirement.
    Keywords: retirement, subjective well-being, satisfaction measurement
    JEL: J26 J14
    Date: 2011–02
  4. By: Efraín Gonzales de Olarte (Departamento de Economía- Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú); Javier M. Iguiñiz Echeverría (Departamento de Economía- Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)
    Abstract: The core of the paper analyses the State functionings in the process of providing basic social services (education, health, identity documents, etc.) in the provinces of Peru. The concept “Density of the State” is designed to elaborate an index (SDI) to quantify State´s territorial presence. Since such activity is not a one-sided affair, the paper analyses the elements involved in the complex interaction between State and society. A summary of the main statistical results at the provincial level is provided and also a contrast between the SDI and the HDI. The paper is a summary and conceptual extension of the UNDP-Peru Human Development Report 2010 where the authors participated as part of the consulting team that elaborated it.
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Indranil Dutta; James Foster
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Grieve, John; Lukesch, Robert; Weinspach, Ulrike; Fernandes, Pedro Alfonso; Brakalova, Marina; Cristiano, Simona; Geissendorfer, Manfred; Nemes, Gustav; O´Gready, S.; Sepulveda, Rodrigo Ortiz; Pfefferkorn, Wolfgang; Pollerman, Kim; Pylkkanen, Paivi; Ricci, Carlo; Slee, William
    Abstract: The Helpdesk of European Evaluation Network for Rural Development supported by a group of external experts has prepared a Working Paper on âCapturing the impacts of Leader and measures to improve the Quality of life (QoL) in rural areasâ. The working paper provides methodological support for evaluators, managing authorities and other interested parties. The main evaluation challenges include: assessing the âdouble scopeâ of Leader (it is both a process and generates impacts); the need to adequately define what is QoL in the context of Rural Development Programmes (RDPs); tackling the qualitative nature of the effects; identifying contributions from small-scale interventions; and the fact that the EUâs Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (CMEF) requires assessment of impacts ultimately at programme level. The working paper is targeted primarily at practitioners involved in the evaluation of the current RDPs (2007-2013). It proposes a framework of reference which provides a conceptual model in order to assess Quality of Life around four dimensions â environment, socio-culture, economy and governance.
    Keywords: Rural development, impact evaluation, leader, quality of life, Agricultural and Food Policy, Q18,
    Date: 2011–02–10
  7. By: Cagliero, Roberto; Cristiano, Simona; Pierangeli, Fabio; Tarangioli, Serena
    Abstract: The research starts from the necessity to create specific tools for evaluating the impacts of rural development policies on fragile areas. The study is motivated by the need for developing an appropriate evaluation method that leads to gather meaningful information for a broader understanding of the quality of life in rural areas, including the subjective well-beingâs dimensions and its determinants and feeds the policy designs on this specific domain. The multidimensional nature of quality of life is a main challenge in terms of evaluation. Indeed, within the Rural Development Programmes 2007-2013, the enhancement of the quality of life in rural areas is one of the major strategic objectives to be addressed by a menu of measures. Selections of some current literature on the multidimensional nature of quality of life have been used as conceptual basis for analysing the extent to which the European evaluation framework for rural development programmes (EC 1999, 2006, 2010) - based on the intervention logic model, the use of economic indicators and evaluative questions - is able to capture the relevant dimensions of well-being rural peopleâs lives. A part of the research is based on the analysis of ex-post evaluations carried out in Italy. The evaluations are expected to assess the improvement of quality of life in rural areas as effect of programmesâ implementation. The paper provides two different experiences of quantification of quality of life in rural area: a synthetic measure of marginality as a proxy of quality of life indicators (in Piedmont) and a synthetic index of quality of life (in Emilia Romagna). The paper proposes a wider integrated evaluation approach to be used in the context of the evaluation of impacts of rural development programmes, that through the combined utilization of quantitative and qualitative indicators and additional evaluative questions, allows a more comprehensive assessment of quality of life in rural areas.
    Keywords: evaluation, quality of life, marginality, qualitative indicators, Agricultural and Food Policy, O180,
    Date: 2011–02–10
  8. By: Ambrey, Christopher; Fleming, Christopher
    Abstract: The narrative of the twentieth century is dominated by three key trends: population growth, economic growth and urbanisation. Moreover, these trends are expected to continue well into the twenty-first century. Australia has not been immune to these trends. Australiaâs population is projected to increase by 65% to over 35 million by 2049, and be accompanied by an average growth in per-capita Gross Domestic Product of 1.5% per annum. Much of this population and economic growth will be concentrated in an already highly urbanised environment. As a consequence, the natural environment in which the majority of Australians live is likely to undergo rapid change. It is useful therefore, to better understand our relationship with this environment. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, the Census of Population and Housing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this paper examines the link between the natural environment and life satisfaction in Australia. The results indicate that certain natural environmental assets, such as national parks and the coastline are amenities, whereas creeks are disamenities. In regards to the influence of climate on life satisfaction, some unexpected results are found. Keywords: Natural Environment; Climate; Geographic Information Systems (GIS); Life Satisfaction; Happiness; Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA).
    Keywords: Resource /Energy Economics and Policy, C21, I31, R10,
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Gaëlle Ferrant (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: This paper assumes that gender inequality hinders economic and human development : a one standard deviation change in the Gender Inequality Index (GII) will increase long term income per capita by 9,1% and Human Development Index (HDI) by 4%. Gender inequality may be a explanation of economic development differences : 16% of the long term income difference between South Asia and East Asia & Pacific can be accounted for by the difference in gender inequality. Moreover, this paper provides evidence of a vicious circle between gender inequality and long term income. The multi-dimensional concept of gender inequality is measured by a composite index with endogenous weightings : the Gender Inequality Index (GII). To correct endogeneity and simultaneity problems, the two-stage and three-stage least square methods are used separately. In this way, the steady state per capita income and the human development levels are estimated for 109 developing countries.
    Keywords: Growth, Gender Inequality, development economics.
    JEL: J16 O11 C43
    Date: 2011–02

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