nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2011‒06‒18
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Are Self-Employed Really Happier than Employees?: An Approach Modelling Adaptation and Anticipation Effects to Self-Employment and General Job Changes By Dominik Hanglberger; Joachim Merz
  2. The merger of populations, the incidence of marriages, and aggregate unhappiness By Stark, Oded; Rendl, Franz; Jakubek, Marcin
  3. Quality of Life in Europe: Empirical evidence By Ambra Poggi; Giulia Bizzotto; Francesco Devicienti; Patrik Vesan; Claudia Villosio
  4. Happiness, Meaning of Life and Income By Lois Duff
  5. Do Geographical Variations in Climate Influence Life Satisfaction? By Thomas Murray; David Maddison; Katrin Rehdanz

  1. By: Dominik Hanglberger; Joachim Merz
    Abstract: Empirical analyses using cross-sectional and panel data found significantly higher levels of job satisfaction for self-employed than for employees. We argue that those estimates in previous studies might be biased by neglecting anticipation and adaptation effects. For testing we specify several models accounting for anticipation and adaptation to self-employment and job changes. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP) we find that becoming self-employed is associated with large negative anticipation effects. In contrast to recent literature we find no specific long term effect of self-employment on job satisfaction. Accounting for anticipation and adaptation to job changes in general, which includes changes between employee jobs, reduces the effect of self-employment on job satisfaction by 70%. When controlling for anticipation and adaptation to job changes, we find no further anticipation effect of self-employment and a weak positive but not significant effect of self-employment on job satisfaction for three years. Thus adaptation wipes out higher satisfaction within the first three years being self-employed. According to our results previous studies at least overestimated possible positive effects of self-employment on job satisfaction.
    Keywords: job satisfaction, self-employment, hedonic treadmill model, adaptation, anticipation, fixed-effects panel estimations, German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)
    JEL: J23 J28 J8
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Stark, Oded; Rendl, Franz; Jakubek, Marcin
    Abstract: Let a society's unhappiness be measured by the aggregate of the levels of relative deprivation of its members. When two societies of equal size, F and M, merge, unhappiness in the merged society is shown to be higher than the sum of the levels of unhappiness in the constituent societies when apart; merger alone increases unhappiness. But when societies F and M merge and marriages are formed such that the number of households in the merged society is equal to the number of individuals in one of the constituent societies, unhappiness in the merged society is shown to be lower than the aggregate unhappiness in the two constituent societies when apart. This result obtains regardless of which individuals from one society form households with which individuals from the other, and even when the marriages have not (or not yet) led to income gains to the married couples from increased efficiency, scale economies, and the like. While there are various psychological reasons for people to become happier when they get married as opposed to staying single, the very formation of households reduces social distress even before any other happiness-generating factors kick in. --
    Keywords: Merger of populations,Integration of societies,Unhappiness,Marriages,Relative Deprivation
    JEL: D0 D10 D31 D63
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Ambra Poggi; Giulia Bizzotto; Francesco Devicienti; Patrik Vesan; Claudia Villosio
    Abstract: This report is one of the outputs resulting from Workpackage 4, "Social and professional integration" of the WALQING project, SSH-CT-2009-244597 (
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Lois Duff (University of the West of England; University of the West of England)
    Abstract: The paper explores the non-material determinants of happiness. We go beyond the well-established result that individual ‘religiousness’ is positively correlated with happiness and look at a broader spiritual activity - time spent thinking about the meaning and purpose of life (MPL). We study the determinants of this activity and its potential role in explaining happiness. Using World Values Survey 1994-2007 data for 85 countries in an ordered logit model, we find that the educated, the religious, females and the middle aged are more likely to spend time thinking about the MPL. The correlation between happiness and thinking about the MPL depends on a country’s income: it is negative in high income countries and positive in low income countries.
    Keywords: Happiness, life satisfaction, meaning of life, religion.
    Date: 2011–05
  5. By: Thomas Murray; David Maddison; Katrin Rehdanz
    Abstract: Accounting for socioeconomic and demographic variables as well as country specific effects, households’ willingness to pay for changes in climate is revealed using European data on reported life satisfaction. Individuals located in areas with lower average levels of sunshine and higher average levels of relative humidity are less satisfied as are individuals in locations subject to significant seasonal variation in monthly mean temperatures and rain days. Ranking regions according to the preferred climates households appear strongly to favour the Mediterranean climate over the climate of Northern Europe
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Europe, Willingness to Pay, Climate, Climate Change
    JEL: C21 I31 Q51 Q54
    Date: 2011–04

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