nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2011‒09‒22
three papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Happiness, Habits and High Rank: Comparisons in Economic and Social Life By Clark, Andrew E.
  2. Religiosity as a determinant of happiness By Erich Gundlach; Matthias Opfinger
  3. Costa Rica, superstar? some reflections on the global drivers and bottlenecks of the happy planet index By Tausch, Arno

  1. By: Clark, Andrew E. (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: The role of money in producing sustained subjective well-being seems to be seriously compromised by social comparisons and habituation. But does that necessarily mean that we would be better off doing something else instead? This paper suggests that the phenomena of comparison and habituation are actually found in a considerable variety of economic and social activities, rendering conclusions regarding well-being policy less straightforward.
    Keywords: comparison, habituation, income, unemployment, marriage, divorce, health, religion, policy
    JEL: D01 D31 H00 I31 J12 J28
    Date: 2011–09
  2. By: Erich Gundlach; Matthias Opfinger
    Abstract: We find a U-shaped relation between happiness and religiosity in cross-country panel data after controlling for income levels. At a given level of income, the same level of happiness can be reached with high and low levels of religiosity, but not with intermediate levels. A rise in income causes an increase in happiness along with a decline of religiosity. Our interpretation of the empirical results is that the indifference curves for religiosity and other commodities of the utility function are hump-shaped.
    Keywords: Happiness, religiosity, utility function, long-run development
    Date: 2011–04
  3. By: Tausch, Arno
    Abstract: For some years now, the Happy Planet Organization presents the so-called ‘Happy Planet Index’ (HPI), which is an index of measuring the trade-off between ecological footprint data and life quality (Happy Life Years, HLYE). Costa Rica emerges from these comparisons as the world’s ‘best practice nation’, using a minimum amount of natural resources to achieve a maximum of human happiness. So is Costa Rica the pathway for humanity? There are shortcomings in the formula, with which the index is calculated (Happy Life Years divided by Ecological Footprint per capita, and some constants added). Using a re-formulation, the global ranking with Costa Rica on top is indeed confirmed. We present some evidence on the cross-national drivers and bottlenecks of our re-formulated Happy Planet Index (HPI) performance on a global scale: a wide variety of standard globalization variables have little influence on HPI performance. Big countries with large population resources perform somewhat better, and low military expenditures per GDP are a constraint on HPI performance. Beneficial effects are also wielded by received worker remittances. Efficiency tends to increase and then to decrease with rising development levels.
    Keywords: Ecological and environmental phenomena; ecological footprint; globalization; Happy Planet Index; inequality; migration; military expenditures
    JEL: C43 F5 Q5 H51 Q56 Q51
    Date: 2011–09–07

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