nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2013‒09‒06
six papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Electricity Supply Preferences in Europe: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data By Heinz Welsch; Philipp Biermann
  2. Education, income, and the distribution of happiness By Owen, Ann; Phillips, Anne
  3. Does economic prosperity bring about a happier society? Empirical remarks on the Easterlin Paradox debate By Beja Jr., Edsel
  4. Family Functioning and Life Satisfaction and Happiness in South African Household By Ferdi Botha and Frikkie Booysen
  5. The bidding paradox: why rational politicians still want to bid for mega sports events By Michiel de Nooij; Marcel van den Berg
  6. Measuring capabilities with random scale models. Women’s freedom of movement By Andreassen, Leif; Dagsvik, John; Di Tommaso, Maria Laura

  1. By: Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics); Philipp Biermann (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We use survey data for 139,517 individuals in 26 European Countries, 2002-2011, to estimate the relationship between subjective well-being (SWB) and production shares of various types of electricity generation. The estimated relationships are taken to represent preference relationships over attributes of electricity supply systems (costs, safety, environmental friendliness etc.). Controlling for a variety of individual and macro-level factors, we find that individuals’ SWB varies systematically and significantly with differences in the electricity mix across countries and across time. Among other results, we find that a greater share of solar and wind power relative to nuclear power is associated with greater SWB and that the implied preference for solar and wind power over nuclear power has risen drastically after the Fukushima nuclear accident. In general, our results suggest that environmental and safety concerns are of major importance in European citizens’ preference function over electricity supply structures.
    Keywords: : energy mix; preference; subjective well-being; energy transition; Fukushima
    JEL: Q42 Q48 I31
    Date: 2013–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:old:dpaper:359&r=hap
  2. By: Owen, Ann; Phillips, Anne
    Abstract: We study happiness inequality in the United States using data from the 2005 to 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). We aggregate individual level data to the state level and study how the average life satisfaction of various income, education, and life satisfaction groups changes with the average life satisfaction of the state. We find that the life satisfaction of the least happy does not increase in equal proportion with the average happiness of society, suggesting that increasing happiness levels are likely to lead to greater happiness inequality. However, the life satisfaction of the poorest and least educated does increase in equal proportions with average life satisfaction. Taken together, these results indicate that directed policies aimed at increasing the income of the poor or education levels of the least educated could result in less inequality in the distribution of welfare.
    Keywords: happiness inequality; happiness of poor; happiness of educated
    JEL: D3 I0 I24
    Date: 2013–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:49387&r=hap
  3. By: Beja Jr., Edsel
    Abstract: Empirical analysis confirms the Easterlin Paradox: there is indeed a statistically significant and positive, albeit very small, relationship between economic growth and happiness. Notwithstanding a conclusion based on statistical significance, economic analysis of the results, on the other hand, still affirms the Easterlin Paradox: there is little economic significance in a very small estimate of the relationship between economic growth and happiness. An argument can also be forwarded that the increase in happiness is not an automatic outcome of economic growth because happiness is more than about income.
    Keywords: Easterlin Paradox; economic growth; happiness; time
    JEL: A2 C4 I3 O4
    Date: 2013–09–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:49446&r=hap
  4. By: Ferdi Botha and Frikkie Booysen
    Abstract: Families form an integral part of society and in fostering individual well-being. Despite the acknowledged importance of family, the association between family functioning and individual well-being outcomes have remained unexplored in the current body of knowledge. This paper explores the association between family functioning and reported levels of life satisfaction and happiness in South Africa. The paper employs the Family Attachment and Changeability Index (FACI8) to measure family functioning, using data from the 2011 South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS 2011). Four measures of family functioning are utilised, namely the aggregate FACI8 scale, the attachment and changeability subscales, and family type. Improvements in the level of family functioning as well as in the levels of attachment and changeability are positively associated with life satisfaction and happiness. In addition, individuals living in midrange or balanced family types aremore satisfied with life and happier compared to persons living in extremely or moderately dysfunctional families. The findings highlight the importance of supportive intra-family dynamics in fostering greater individual well-being. This in turn places emphasis on the investigation of likely correlates of family functioning and impact evaluations of family-focused social work interventions’ impact on family functioning as areas for future research.
    Keywords: Family functioning, family, subjective well-being, South Africa
    JEL: D10 Z13
    Date: 2013
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:rza:wpaper:363&r=hap
  5. By: Michiel de Nooij; Marcel van den Berg
    Abstract: This paper discusses reasons why politicians still favor hosting mega events despite the discouraging evidence regarding their financial benefits: (1) early political enthusiasm, (2) tying side-projects to the bid to raise political support, (3) biased reading of history, (4) the winners curse, (5) redistribution and lobbying, (6) a media bias in favor of hosting and (7) boosting happiness and pride of residents. Bringing happiness to the people might be a valid reason for hosting a mega event, however, economists are yet insufficiently capable of capturing this effect. Moreover, alternative explanations for political support cannot be deemed invalid ex ante.
    Keywords: Bidding; Bidding; mega sport events; Olympic games; lobbying; happiness
    JEL: D61 D72 H54 L83
    Date: 2013–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:use:tkiwps:1308&r=hap
  6. By: Andreassen, Leif; Dagsvik, John; Di Tommaso, Maria Laura (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Sen’s capability approach distinguishes between what people are free to do and to be (their ‘capabilities’) and what they do and who they are (their ‘functionings’). In the capability approach,individuals’ well-being is evaluated not only in terms of achieved functionings, but also in terms of the freedom to choose between different functionings. I t implies that individuals with the same observed functionings may have different well-being because their choice sets (i.e. capabilities) are different. The measurement of capabilities is difficult because they are not observed. In this paper, we measure the capability of Italian women to move freely even if we only observe the realized choices. In order to distinguish between the latent capabilities of movement and the observed functionings, we adopt a new methodology based on the theory of random scale models. The data set is selected from a domestic violence survey of 25,000 Italian women for year 20 06. We demonstrate that such models can offer a suitable framework for measuring well-being freedom and therefore capabilities. In particular, we find out that the percentage of women who are predicted to be restricted in their freedom of movement is about 25% . Moreover, if all women were unconstrained, 16.4 percent of them would choose to do more activities, i.e to have more freedom of movement.
    Date: 2013–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:uto:dipeco:201334&r=hap

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