nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2012‒10‒27
three papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. The Economics of Child Well-Being By Conti, Gabriella; Heckman, James J.
  2. Understanding and Improving the Social Context of Well-Being By John F. Helliwell
  3. Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables? By David G. Blanchflower; Andrew J. Oswald; Sarah Stewart-Brown

  1. By: Conti, Gabriella (University of Chicago); Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This chapter presents an integrated economic approach that organizes and interprets the evidence on child development. It also discusses the indicators of child well-being that are used in international comparisons. Recent evidence on child development is summarized, and policies to promote child well-being are discussed. The chapter concludes with some open questions and suggestions for future research.
    Keywords: child development, human capital, early childhood education
    JEL: J13 I21 D03 D04
    Date: 2012–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6930&r=hap
  2. By: John F. Helliwell
    Abstract: The paper first attempts to demonstrate the fundamental importance of the social context. The related evidence is drawn from recent theoretical and empirical advances in the study of subjective well-being. Treating people’s self-assessments of the quality of their lives as valid measures of well-being exposes the importance of the social context and suggests new ways to design better policies. The paper starts with demonstrations of the unexpectedly great well-being consequences of social and pro-social behavior. In addition, evidence is advanced to show an evolutionary fitness for social and pro-social behaviors above and beyond those flowing through their direct consequences for subjective well-being. This is followed by discussion of specific measures of the social context, of the fundamental importance of trust as social glue, and of several experiments designed to improve subjective well-being.
    JEL: D6 I28 N30
    Date: 2012–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18486&r=hap
  3. By: David G. Blanchflower; Andrew J. Oswald; Sarah Stewart-Brown
    Abstract: Humans run on a fuel called food. Yet economists and other social scientists rarely study what people eat. We provide simple evidence consistent with the existence of a link between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and high well-being. In cross-sectional data, happiness and mental health rise in an approximately dose-response way with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables. The pattern is remarkably robust to adjustment for a large number of other demographic, social and economic variables. Well-being peaks at approximately 7 portions per day. We document this relationship in three data sets, covering approximately 80,000 randomly selected British individuals, and for seven measures of well-being (life satisfaction, WEMWBS mental well-being, GHQ mental disorders, self-reported health, happiness, nervousness, and feeling low). Reverse causality and problems of confounding remain possible. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our analysis, how government policy-makers might wish to react to it, and what kinds of further research -- especially randomized trials -- would be valuable.
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2012–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18469&r=hap

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