nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2013‒01‒26
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. World human development : 1870-2007 By Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  2. Comprehensive wealth and sustainable development in India By Kumar, Surender
  3. Regional Disparities in Growth and Human Development in India By Roy, Satyaki
  4. Inside the Life Satisfaction Blackbox By Leonardo Becchetti; Luisa Corrado; Paola Samà

  1. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura
    Abstract: How has wellbeing evolved over time and across regions? How does the West compare to the Rest? What explains their differences? These questions are addressed using an historical index of human development. A sustained improvement in wellbeing has taken place since 1870. The absolute gap between OECD and the Rest widened over time, but an incomplete catching up –largely explained by education- has occurred since 1913 but fading away after 1970, when the Rest fell behind the OECD in terms of longevity. As the health transition was achieved in the Rest, the contribution of life expectancy to human development improvement declined. Meanwhile, in the OECD, as longevity increased, healthy years expanded. A large variance in human development is noticeable in the Rest since 1970, with East Asia, Latin America and North Africa catching up to the OECD, while Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa falling behind
    Keywords: Wellbeing, Human Development, HDI, Life Expectancy, Education
    JEL: O15 O50 I00 N30
    Date: 2013–01
  2. By: Kumar, Surender
    Abstract: Sustainable development requires that the per capita productive base or comprehensive wealth of an economy should, at least, not decline over the period of time. This study provides estimates of the growth rate of per capita comprehensive wealth for the Indian economy for the period 1991-2006. The growth rate of per capita comprehensive wealth is estimated to be 4.39 percent whereas the growth rate of per capita GDP is 4.42 percent. We find that though the growth rate of manufactured and human capital has been more than enough to offset the decline in natural assets, thereby leading to an improvement in the productive base of the economy, the growing resource and energy use intensity remains an issue of major concern.
    Keywords: Sustainability; development; human capital; comprehensive wealth
    JEL: D62 N50 E01 H23 D92
    Date: 2013–01–15
  3. By: Roy, Satyaki
    Abstract: This paper argues that per capita income in all states in India increased in the past four decades but in fact no sign of convergence could be visible as it was expected in the context of liberalizing markets. The paper shows that disparities in terms of income were higher within the rural areas across states compared to their urban counterparts. This might be a reflection of a converging trend in terms of opportunities available in the cities and towns across states. The paper identifies a declining gap in terms of various human development indices such as literacy rate, general enrollment ratio and life expectancy at birth across states and shows that gaps also declined between the rural and urban segments within states. The paper however argues that performance in terms of various dimensions of human development increases with income but at a declining rate which is indicative of the fact that per capita income at higher levels becomes less important in generating gains in terms of basic human development indices. Finally, the paper compares the performance of the states in terms of human development over the years including that computed from the latest available data and shows that the relative positions of the states did not undergo much change over the years.
    Keywords: growth; per capita income; human development
    JEL: I21 I10 I32
    Date: 2012–09
  4. By: Leonardo Becchetti (Department of Economics, Law and Institutions, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Luisa Corrado (Department of Economics, Law and Institutions, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Paola Samà (Department of Economics, Law and Institutions, University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: We propose a measure of life satisfaction, alternative to the standard synthetic cognitive wellbeing question, based on the specific contribution of eleven life satisfaction sub-components (including satisfaction about the past, life opportunities, hope for the future, vitality, control over one’s on life, meaning of life). The alternative measure is either estimated as a latent factor, obtained as a simple unweighted average from the above mentioned sub-components, or extracted with principal component analysis. We document that the new dependent variable fits much better standard socio-demographic controls and corrects the "Danish life satisfaction bias" in the direction suggested by the vignette approach. These findings do not reject our theoretical assumption that the alternative measures derived from the life satisfaction sub-components are less noisy and less culturally biased and therefore perform better than the standard self-reported life satisfaction. The straightforward policy advice of the paper is to introduce the above mentioned sub-components (similarly to what happens with sub-questions used to calculate the General Health Questionnaire score) in an additional question to measure more effectively subjective wellbeing.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, country bias, measurement error, multiple indicators
    JEL: I30 I31
    Date: 2013–01–09

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