nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2012‒02‒01
two papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. New Developments in the Measurement of Welfare and Well-being By Bernard M.S. van Praag; Erik J.S. Plug
  2. Child Care Subsidies, Maternal Well-Being, and Child-Parent Interactions: Evidence from Three Nationally Representative Datasets By Chris M. Herbst; Erdal Tekin

  1. By: Bernard M.S. van Praag (University of Amsterdam); Erik J.S. Plug (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This paper is dating from 1995, when it has been presented at the Ragnar Frisch Centennial Memorial Conference in Oslo. It has never been published before. In this paper for the first time the Cantril ladder question data have been employed in the way which later has become known as happiness economics. After two introductory sections 1and 2, Section 3 explains the Leyden School methodology to estimate financial satisfaction or in traditional terms a (cardinal) welfare function of money. In Section 4 the Cantril ladder question is employed to estimate a function of satisfaction with life as a whole. It is found that well-being is quadratic in the number of children, leading to an optimum number of children, given income and given the fact of a one-breadwinner- or two- breadwinners-family. In Section 5 the effects of children on financial satisfaction and on satisfaction with life as a whole are compared. With respect to financial satisfaction it is found that the more children there are the smaller financial satisfaction. Comparison of the two effects makes it possible to distinguish between the monetary cost associated with having children and the non-monetary benefits caused by having children. Part of this paper is based on Plug and Van Praag (1995).
    Keywords: happiness economics; Leyden School; Cantril Ladder; family equivalence scales; costs and benefits of children
    JEL: B50 D19 J1 D6
    Date: 2012–01–16
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20120005&r=hap
  2. By: Chris M. Herbst; Erdal Tekin
    Abstract: A complete account of the U.S. child care subsidy system requires an understanding of its implications for both parental and child well-being. Although the effects of child care subsidies on maternal employment and child development have been recently studied, many other dimensions of family well-being have received little attention. This paper attempts to fill this gap by examining the impact of child care subsidy receipt on maternal health and the quality of child-parent interactions. The empirical analyses use data from three nationally representative surveys, providing access to numerous measures of family well-being. In addition, we attempt to handle the possibility of non-random selection into subsidy receipt by using several identification strategies both within and across the surveys. Our results consistently indicate that child care subsidies are associated with worse maternal health and poorer interactions between parents and their children. In particular, subsidized mothers report lower levels of overall health and are more likely to show symptoms consistent with anxiety, depression, and parenting stress. Such mothers also reveal more psychological and physical aggression toward their children and are more likely to utilize spanking as a disciplinary tool. Together, these findings suggest that work-based public policies aimed at economically disadvantaged mothers may ultimately undermine family well-being.
    JEL: I18 J13
    Date: 2012–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17774&r=hap

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