New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2011‒12‒19
four papers chosen by

  1. Well-being and Economic Conditions in Ireland By Brendan Walsh
  2. Comparing Inequality in the Well-being of Children in Economically Advanced Countries: A methodology By Candace Currie; Leonardo Menchini; Dominic Richardson; Dorothy Currie; Chris Roberts; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  3. New Developments in the Measurement of Welfare and Well-Being By Bernard M.S. van Praag; Erik J.S. Plug
  4. A New Way of Monitoring the Quality of Urban Life By Eduardo Lora; Andrew Powell

  1. By: Brendan Walsh (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: By European standards Ireland ranks high on many non-economic indicators of well-being. This paper explores how macroeconomic conditions have affected a range of these indicators. Time series data are used to explore the association between unemployment, inflation, and the level and growth rate of real income on the one hand and measures of subjective well-being and markers of mental health on the other. Over the longer term, 1975-2011, there was no upward trend in self-reported life satisfaction despite the secular improvement in living standards. While higher unemployment reduced life satisfaction over the first half of this period, its effect was weaker in later years. The rate of inflation has not had a significant effect on life satisfaction. There is no evidence that admission rates to psychiatric hospitals are affected by changes in economic conditions. However, higher unemployment is linked to higher suicide rates among younger males, although its effect appears to have weakened during the current recession. Finally, the recent rise in unemployment has had a much smaller impact on the birth rate than that due to the recession of the early 1980s. Overall, the impact of the current recession on the well-being indicators studied here has been surprisingly small.
    Keywords: Well-being indicators, Mental health, Suicide, Birth rate, Unemployment, Inflation
    Date: 2011–12–09
  2. By: Candace Currie; Leonardo Menchini; Dominic Richardson; Dorothy Currie; Chris Roberts; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: Socio-economic research on child well-being and the debate around child indicators has evolved quite rapidly in recent decades. An important contribution to this trend is represented by international comparative research based on multi-dimensional child well-being frameworks: most of this research is based on the comparison of average levels of well-being across countries. This paper tries to respond to the complex challenge of going beyond an approach based on averages and proposes a complementary approach to compare inequality in child well-being in economically advanced countries. In particular, it focuses on the disparities at the bottom-end of the child well-being distribution, by comparing the situation of the ‘median’ child and the situation of the children at the bottom of the well-being scale for nine indicators of material conditions, education and health.
    Keywords: child well-being; education; health; housing; industrialized countries; social conditions;
    JEL: A10 H2
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Bernard M.S. van Praag (University of Amsterdam); Erik J.S. Plug (University of Amsterdam)
    Date: 2011–12–05
  4. By: Eduardo Lora; Andrew Powell
    Abstract: This paper proposes a methodology to resolve the problems that result from using a combination of objective and subjective information in evaluating urban quality of life. The paper further suggests techniques to identify and rank issues of potential importance for urban dwellers. In order to combine objective and subjective information in a coherent manner and focus on the most relevant dimensions of the quality of life in a city or neighborhood, the paper attempts to exploit the complementary nature of two approaches: the “hedonic” approach, which employs market prices for housing, and the “life satisfaction” approach, which addresses subjective well-being. Results using both approaches in selected Latin American cities are discussed and compared. The paper concludes with a discussion of potential uses of the two-pronged methodology for policy analysis.
    JEL: D19 H41 H42 I31
    Date: 2011–11

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