New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2012‒09‒22
three papers chosen by

  1. Panel Conditioning and Self-reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-sections By Bert Van Landeghem
  2. The Role of Job Satisfaction in Transitions into Self-Employment By Giuliano Guerra; Roberto Patuelli
  3. Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference By Daniel J. Benjamin; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball; Nichole Szembrot

  1. By: Bert Van Landeghem
    Abstract: Using data from three European countries, this paper investigates whether self-reported satisfaction data are subject to panel conditioning or a panel effect, that is, whether answers depend on whether one has previously participated in the panel. The analysis proposes a way to account for panel attrition in cases where the attrition rate is substantial, and finds international evidence for a negative panel effect. This result can be of importance e.g. in the current debate on trends in life satisfaction over time), and might stimulate further research into panel conditioning for other economic data gathered via household surveys.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, GHQ, Panel conditioning, Panel attrition, time trends
    JEL: C83 I30 J10
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Giuliano Guerra (Ufficio per lo sviluppo economico, Repubblica e Cantone Ticino, Switzerland); Roberto Patuelli (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis (RCEA), Italy)
    Abstract: As observed in many advanced economies experiencing an increase of self-employment rates since the late 1970s, a flourishing small- and medium-size enterprise sector is traditionally associated with positive economic development and growth. In the regional context, areas benefiting from an established entrepreneurial culture are in general more successful and innovative, as well as better equipped to sustain structural changes and to lessen unemployment. It is therefore important to investigate the reasons why individuals choose self-employment, and why they do it despite lower protection, higher risks, and possibly more effort than what is required in a comparable wage employment position. Existing research identifies better prospects of entrepreneurial earnings as compared to wages as a major stimulus towards self-employment. However, besides pecuniary motivations, other factors may be considered when it comes to the occupational choice. These include displacement, uncertainty, (the threat of) unemployment, and (dis)-satisfaction. Building on a job quits model, we propose a representation of transition behaviour from wage to self-employment which includes subjective evaluations of pecuniary and nonpecuniary satisfaction on the previous job. Individual microdata are drawn from the Swiss Household Panel (SHP), and cover the time period 1999–2008. Additionally, we focus on the dynamics of job satisfaction in order to highlight the role played by shocks in subjective evaluations, and introduce their interaction with levels to control for threshold effects.
    Keywords: self-employment, job satisfaction, job transition, Switzerland
    JEL: C25 J62 M13
    Date: 2012–09
  3. By: Daniel J. Benjamin; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball; Nichole Szembrot
    Abstract: This paper helps provide foundations for survey-based tracking of well-being. First, we propose a theory in which utility depends on “fundamental aspects” of well-being, measurable with surveys. Second, drawing from psychologists, philosophers, and economists, we compile a comprehensive list of such aspects. Third, to estimate the aspects’ marginal utilities—a necessary input for constructing an individual-level well-being index—we conduct a survey in which ~4,600 U.S. respondents state their preference between pairs of aspect bundles. We estimate high relative marginal utilities not only for traditional happiness and life satisfaction measures, but even more for aspects related to family, health, security, values, and freedoms.
    JEL: A13 D69 E01 I31
    Date: 2012–09

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