New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2012‒01‒18
four papers chosen by

  1. Eudaimonía y la economía de la felicidad By Santiago Melo
  2. Pursuing Happiness By Christian Schubert
  3. Subjective Wealth, Policy Change, and Political Opinions: Evidence from the Cotton Reform in Burkina Faso By Kaminski, Jonathan
  4. "A Comparison of Inequality and Living Standards in Canada and the United States Using an Expanded Measure of Economic Well-Being" By Edward N. Wolff; Ajit Zacharias; Thomas Masterson; Selcuk Eren; Andrew Sharpe; Elspeth Hazell

  1. By: Santiago Melo
    Abstract: En este documento se discuten las principales aproximaciones a la felicidad en la economía de la felicidad: el hedonismo y los enfoques de satisfacción con la vida. Es posible identificar una tensión entre dos principios importantes en esta literatura: 1) los individuos son los mejores jueces de su propia felicidad, y 2) el propósito de la economía debe ser la promoción directa de la felicidad. El artículo sostiene que el hedonismo choca con el primer principio. En el caso de las teorías de satisfacción con la vida, el enfoque restringido choca con ambos principios, mientras que el no restringido sólo con el segundo. El artículo también sostiene que esta rama tiene dificultades para presentar la felicidad como un concepto normativo consistente. Para mostrar esto se estudian las teorías de Aristóteles y Séneca porque: 1) tanto los economistas de la felicidad como los antiguos consideran que la felicidad es el fin último de la vida humana; 2) aunque estos economistas reconocen la importancia de las teorías eudaimonistas de la felicidad, su interpretación y uso no han sido satisfactorios; y 3) el debate entre Aristóteles y Séneca tiene implicaciones importantes sobre el carácter cuantitativo de la felicidad y la capacidad de las políticas públicas para promoverla. La lección principal de los antiguos es metodológica: la riqueza de sus discusiones radica en que las distintas escuelas eran conscientes de que la felicidad es principalmente un concepto ético, cuyo contenido ha de ajustarse a sus exigencias normativas. Éste es un punto que la literatura contemporánea parece haber pasado por alto.
    Date: 2011–08–03
  2. By: Christian Schubert
    Abstract: While research on subjective well-being abounds, comparatively little thought has been given to its practical policy implications. Two approaches to derive policy advice have emerged in the literature: One is organized in terms of the idea to maximize a hedonic social welfare function, the other focuses on the design of constitutional rules to facilitate the individuals' self-determined 'pursuit' of happiness. We suggest to substantiate what it means to 'pursue' happiness, in particular by drawing upon a psychologically informed account of preference learning. If extended in this direction, a notion of the pursuit of happiness has interesting practical policy implications.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, happiness, welfare economics, preference learning
    JEL: D03 D11 D60
    Date: 2012–01–06
  3. By: Kaminski, Jonathan
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on the pattern of individual subjective welfare after a natural experiment in policy-led rural development, and aims to identify the causal relationships between subjective welfare and political opinions on the effects of the policy change. I adopt a structural approach by introducing a reference-based utility function that contains a signal of individual participation in the policy change, which is conveyed by political opinions. Using data collected in cotton areas of Burkina Faso, several simultaneous estimations are performed to analyze seemingly covariant political opinions on the recent cotton reform and changes in subjective wealth, while addressing measurement issues related to subjective indicators as well as heterogeneity in latent psychological factors. In addition to absolute and relative indicators of wealth, the large increase in subjective wealth is found to be driven by enthusiastic opinions about the reformâs effects on welfare and poverty alleviation, as well as by technical and institutional changes. The endogenous impact of political opinions on subjective wealth underlies the partial appropriation of the reformâs welfare effects by farmers.
    Keywords: Subjective Wealth, Burkina Faso, Policy Change, Rural Development, Political Opinions., Environmental Economics and Policy, Political Economy, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy, I32, 013, Q16, Q18,
    Date: 2011–11
  4. By: Edward N. Wolff; Ajit Zacharias; Thomas Masterson; Selcuk Eren; Andrew Sharpe; Elspeth Hazell
    Abstract: We use the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-being (LIMEW), the most comprehensive income measure available to date, to compare economic well-being in Canada and the United States in the first decade of the 21st century. This study represents the first international comparison based on LIMEW, which differs from the standard measure of gross money income (MI) in that it includes noncash government transfers, public consumption, income from wealth, and household production, and nets out all personal taxes. We find that, relative to the United States, median equivalent LIMEW was 11 percent lower in Canada in 2000. By 2005, this gap had narrowed to 7 percent, while the difference in median equivalent MI was only 3 percent. Inequality was notably lower in Canada, with a Gini coefficient of 0.285 for equivalent LIMEW in 2005, compared to a US coefficient of 0.376-a gap that primarily reflects the greater importance of income from wealth in the States. However, the difference in Gini coefficients declined between 2000 and 2005. We also find that the elderly were better off relative to the nonelderly in the United States, but that high school graduates did better relative to college graduates in Canada.
    Keywords: Well-Being; Living Standards; Inequality; Income; International Comparisons
    JEL: D31 D63 P17
    Date: 2012–01

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