New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2013‒07‒28
four papers chosen by

  1. Securing Basic Well-being for All By Gotoh, Reiko; Yoshihara, Naoki
  2. Are Happier People Less Judgmental of Other People's Selfish Behaviors? Laboratory Evidence from Trust and Gift Exchange Games By Drouvelis, Michalis; Powdthavee, Nattavudh
  3. Minimising Misery: A New Strategy for Public Policies Instead of Maximising Happiness? By Lelkes, Orsolya
  4. Scholars' physical appearance, research performance and feelings of happiness By Dilger, Alexander; Lütkenhöner, Laura; Müller, Harry

  1. By: Gotoh, Reiko; Yoshihara, Naoki
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the possibility of a social choice rule to implement a social policy for “securing basic well-being for all.” For this purpose, the paper introduces a new scheme of social choice, called a social relation function (SRF), which associates to each profile of individual well-being appraisals and each profile of group-evaluations a reflexive and transitive binary relation over the set of social policies. As a part of the domains of SRFs, the available class of group evaluations is constrained by the following three conditions: Basic Well-being Condition, Restricted Monotonicity, and Refrain Condition. Furthermore, two axioms, the non-negative response (NR) and the weak Pareto condition (WP), are introduced as the two basic condititions of SRFs. NR demands giving priority to the evaluations of disadvantage groups, while treating them as formally equal relative to each other. WP requires treating impartially the well-being appraisals of all individuals. In conclusion, this paper shows that, under some reasonable assumptions, there exists a SRF which satisfies NR and WP.
    Keywords: basic well-being, individual well-being appraisals, social relation functions
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2013–07
  2. By: Drouvelis, Michalis (University of Birmingham); Powdthavee, Nattavudh (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: What determines people's moral judgments of selfish behaviors? Here we study whether people's normative views in trust and gift exchange games, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance, are themselves functions of positive emotions. We used experimental survey methods to investigate people's moral judgments empirically, and explored whether we could influence subsequent judgments by deliberately making some individuals happier. We found that moral judgments of selfish behaviors in the economic context depend strongly on other people's behaviors, but their relationships are significantly moderated by an increase in happiness for the person making the judgment.
    Keywords: happiness, moral judgments, trust games, gift exchange games
    JEL: C91
    Date: 2013–07
  3. By: Lelkes, Orsolya
    Abstract: This paper raises the issue whether public policy should focus on minimizing unhappiness rather than maximizing happiness. Using a cross-sectional multi-country dataset with 57 thousand observations from 29 European countries, we show that unhappiness varies a great deal more across social groups than (high levels of) happiness does. Our findings are robust to several alternative specifications, using both self-reported life satisfaction and self-reported happiness, and different cut-off points for defining unhappiness (dissatisfaction) and high levels of happiness (satisfaction). While misery appears to strongly relate to broad social issues (such as unemployment, poverty, social isolation), bliss might be more of a private matter, with individual strategies and attitudes, hidden from the eye of a policy-maker. The social cost of unhappiness may be also reflected in the immense cost of mental health problems. Preventing avoidable unhappiness, however, needs to be complemented with other strategies for promoting happiness, perhaps on a more decentralized level, given the different causes of bliss and that of misery.
    Keywords: Happiness, Unhappiness, Life satisfaction, Public policy, Bipolar scales
    JEL: D02 I31 Z0
    Date: 2013–05
  4. By: Dilger, Alexander; Lütkenhöner, Laura; Müller, Harry
    Abstract: Our study aims to analyse whether former feelings of happiness and/or physical appearance have influence on the subsequent observable research performance of scholars. Therefore we photographed 49 persons attending the 72nd annual conference of the German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB), which took place in Bremen in 2010. We interviewed them about their feelings of happiness. Later we asked students to evaluate the photographed persons' attractiveness, competence, trustworthiness, likeability and their feelings of happiness. To determine the academics' research performance we compiled a list of their recent journal publications, considering different journal weights and dividing them by the number of authors. Regression analyses reveal that feelings of happiness in 2010 significantly increase research performance in 2011/2012. In addition, they suggest that scholars' physical appearance can affect their research performance. In particular we observe that a trustworthy appearance has a significantly positive effect. -- Wir untersuchen empirisch, ob vorheriges Glücksempfinden und/oder Aussehen die zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt beobachtbare Forschungsleistung von Wissenschaftlern beeinflussen. Im Jahr 2010 wurden 49 Teilnehmer der 72. Jahrestagung des Verbands der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft (VHB) fotografiert und danach gefragt, wie glücklich sie sind. Anschließend wurden Studenten gebeten, anhand der Portraits die Attraktivität sowie die ausgestrahlte Kompetenz, die Vertrauenswürdigkeit, die Sympathie und das Glücksempfinden der fotografierten Personen zu bewerten. Deren Forschungsleistung wurde anhand ihrer Veröffentlichungen in Fachzeitschriften in den letzten Jahren quantifiziert, wobei unterschiedliche Gewichtungen von Zeitschriften berücksichtigt wurden und eine Division durch die Anzahl der Autoren stattfand. Regressionsanalysen ergeben, dass Glücksempfinden in 2010 die Forschungsleistung in 2011/2012 signifikant erhöht. Außerdem deuten sie darauf hin, dass sich das Aussehen von Wissenschaftlern auf ihre Forschungsleistung auswirkt. Insbesondere ist zu beobachten, dass ein vertrauenswürdiges Aussehen einen signifikant positiven Einfluss hat.
    JEL: I23 J01 M00 M50
    Date: 2013

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