nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2012‒10‒06
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Empowering Women for Sustainable Development By Lisa Warth; Malinka Koparanova
  2. Miserable Migrants? Natural Experiment Evidence on International Migration and Objective and Subjective Well-Being By Stillman, Steven; Gibson, John; McKenzie, David; Rohorua, Halahingano
  3. Partnership, Gender Roles and the Well-Being Cost of Unemployment By Andreas Knabe; Ronnie Schöb; Joachim Weimann
  4. The Production of Human Capital: Endowments, Investments and Fertility By Anna Aizer; Flávio Cunha

  1. By: Lisa Warth (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe); Malinka Koparanova (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)
    Abstract: Sustainable development cannot be achieved without a more equitable distribution of resources today and tomorrow. This paper highlights that prevailing inequalities are deeply gendered. Understanding this and making policy decisions towards reducing these inequalities is a key condition in meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The paper focuses on women’s empowerment as a key process to reach gender equality and, through that, sustainable development. It looks first at the concept of women’s empowerment and sustainable development and reveals how both are inter-linked through the lens of intra and inter-generational justice. Second, evidence-based analysis is done to show what needs to be done and is being done for women’s empowerment, both through building an enabling environment and through enhancing women’s capacity as active agents of change for sustainable development in the ECE region.
    Keywords: gender equality, economic development
    JEL: I38 J21 J24 J48 J78 O15
    Date: 2012–01
  2. By: Stillman, Steven (University of Otago); Gibson, John (University of Waikato); McKenzie, David (World Bank); Rohorua, Halahingano (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Over 200 million people worldwide live outside their country of birth and typically experience large gains in material well-being by moving to where incomes are higher. But effects of migration on subjective well-being are less clear, with some studies suggesting that migrants are miserable in their new locations. Observational studies are potentially biased by the self-selection of migrants so a natural experiment is used to compare successful and unsuccessful applicants to a migration lottery in order to experimentally estimate the impact of migration on objective and subjective well-being. The results show that international migration brings large improvements in objective well-being, in terms of incomes and expenditures. Impacts on subjective well-being are complex, with mental health improving but happiness declining, self-rated welfare rising if viewed retrospectively but static if viewed experimentally, self-rated social respect rising retrospectively but falling experimentally and subjective income adequacy rising. We further show that these changes would not be predicted from cross-sectional regressions on the correlates of subjective well-being in either Tonga or New Zealand. More broadly, our results highlight the difficulties of measuring changes in subjective well-being when reference frames change, as likely occurs with migration.
    Keywords: immigration, lottery, natural experiment, subjective well-being, Tonga, Pacific Islands
    JEL: I31 J61
    Date: 2012–09
  3. By: Andreas Knabe (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Ronnie Schöb (School of Business and Economics, Freie Universität Berlin); Joachim Weimann (Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Cologne)
    Abstract: We use the differences between life satisfaction and emotional well-being of employed and unemployed persons to analyze how a person's employment status affects cognitive well-being. Our results show that unemployment has a negative impact on cognitive, but not on affective well-being, which we interpret as a loss in identity utility. Living in a partnership strengthens the loss in identity utility of men, but weakens that of women. Unemployment of a person's partner reduces the identity loss of unemployed men, but raises it for women. These results suggest that the unemployed's feeling of identity is affected by traditional gender roles, while this does not seem to be the case for the affective part of their subjective well-being.
    Keywords: unemployment, happiness, life satisfaction, Day Reconstruction Method, identity, partnership, gender roles
    JEL: I31 J60 J22
    Date: 2012–09
  4. By: Anna Aizer; Flávio Cunha
    Abstract: We study how endowments, investments and fertility interact to produce human capital in childhood. We begin by providing empirical support for two key features of existing models of human capital: that investments and existing human capital are complements in the production of later human capital (dynamic complementarity) and that parents invest more in children with higher endowments due to the complementarity between endowments and investments (static complementarity). For the former, we exploit an exogenous source of investment, the launch of Head Start in 1966, and estimate greater gains from preschool in the IQ of those with the highest stocks of early human capital, consistent with dynamic complementarity. For the latter, we are able to overcome the potential endogeneity and measurement error associated with traditional measures of endowment based on health at birth. When we do, we find that parents invest more in highly endowed children. Moreover, we find that the degree of reinforcement increases with family size. Thus, an increase in quantity leads not only to a decline in average quality (the quantity-quality tradeoff) but to an increase in the variation in quality, due to both greater variation in endowments (from more children) and greater reinforcing investments. These findings can be explained by extending the quantity-quality trade-off model to include heterogeneous child endowments and parental preferences that feature complementarity between quality and quantity and moderate aversion to inequality in child human capital within the household.
    JEL: I24 J13 J24
    Date: 2012–09

This nep-hap issue is ©2012 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.