New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2012‒05‒22
three papers chosen by

  1. Does Lone Motherhood Decrease Women’s Subjective Well-Being? Evidence from Qualitative and Quantitative Research By Anna Baranowska-Rataj; Anna Matysiak; Monika Mynarska
  2. Declining Fertility and Economic Well-Being: Do Education and Health Ride to the Rescue? By Prettner, Klaus; Bloom, David E.; Strulik, Holger
  3. Economic Freedom and Life Satisfaction: A Cross Country Analysis By Graafland, J.J.; Compen, B.

  1. By: Anna Baranowska-Rataj; Anna Matysiak; Monika Mynarska (Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics; Cardinal Stefan Wyszyñski University in Warsaw, Institute of Psychology)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the discussion on the effects of single motherhood on happiness. We use a mixed-method approach. First, based on in-depth interviews with mothers who gave birth while single, we explore mechanisms through which children may influence mothers’ subjective well-being. In a second step, we analyze panel survey data to quantify this influence. Our results leave no doubt that, while raising a child outside of marriage poses many challenges, parenthood has some positive influence on a lone mother’s life. Our qualitative evidence shows that children are a central point in an unmarried woman’s life, and that many life decisions are taken with consideration of the child’s welfare, including escaping from pathological relationships. Our quantitative evidence shows that, although the general level of happiness among unmarried women is lower than among their married counterparts, raising a child does not have a negative impact on their subjective well-being.
    Keywords: nonmarital childbearing, single motherhood, happiness, well-being, methodological triangulation, mixed methods
    JEL: J12 J13 J17
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Prettner, Klaus (Harvard University); Bloom, David E. (Harvard University); Strulik, Holger (University of Hannover)
    Abstract: It is widely argued that declining fertility slows the pace of economic growth in industrialized countries through its negative effect on labor supply. There are, however, theoretical arguments suggesting that the effect of falling fertility on effective labor supply can be offset by associated behavioral changes. We formalize these arguments by setting forth a dynamic consumer optimization model that incorporates endogenous fertility as well as endogenous education and health investments. The model shows that a fertility decline induces higher education and health investments that are able to compensate for declining fertility under certain circumstances. We assess the theoretical implications by investigating panel data for 118 countries over the period 1980 to 2005 and show that behavioral changes partly mitigate the negative impact of declining fertility on effective labor supply.
    Keywords: demographic change, effective labor supply, human capital, population health, economic growth
    JEL: I15 I25 J24 O47
    Date: 2012–04
  3. By: Graafland, J.J.; Compen, B. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Abstract: This paper estimates the relationship between various sub-indicators of economic freedom and life satisfaction for 122 countries. The estimation results show that life satisfaction is positively related to the quality of the legal system and protection of property rights. For poor countries, freedom of trade fosters life satisfaction as well. Life satisfaction is independent from the size of the government and sound money and tends to be negatively related to low regulation. If the relationship between life satisfaction and economic freedom is controlled for income per capita, life satisfaction is independent from economic freedom. This indicates that the relationship between life satisfaction and economic freedom is mediated by income per capita.
    Keywords: economic freedom;free trade;government size;income per capita;life satisfaction;regulation;respect of private property;sound money.
    JEL: A13 D60 E02 O57 P14 P16 P51
    Date: 2012

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