nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2013‒10‒25
six papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Happy Peasants and Frustrated Achievers? Agency, Capabilities, and Subjective Well-Being By Carol Graham; Milena Nikolova
  2. The Emotional Timeline of Unemployment: Anticipation, Reaction, and Adaptation By von Scheve, Christian; Esche, Frederike; Schupp, Jürgen
  3. Fuzzy logic and the capability approach By Tindara Addabbo; Gisella Facchinetti
  4. Disability, life satisfaction and social interaction in Italy By Tindara Addabbo; Elena Sarti; Dario Sciulli
  5. Does economic prosperity bring about a happier society? Empirical remarks on the Easterlin Paradox debate sans Happiness Adaptation By Beja Jr., Edsel
  6. An Assessment of Life Satisfaction Responses on Recent Statistics Canada Surveys By Bonikowska, Aneta Helliwell, John F.

  1. By: Carol Graham (The Brookings Institution); Milena Nikolova (University of Maryland, College Park)
    Abstract: We explore the relationship between agency and hedonic and evaluative dimensions of well-being, using data from the Gallup World Poll. We posit that individuals emphasize one well-being dimension over the other, depending on their agency. We test four hypotheses including whether: (i) positive levels of well-being in one dimension coexist with negative ones in another; and (ii) individuals place a different value on agency depending on their positions in the well-being and income distributions. We find that: (i) agency is more important to the evaluative well-being of respondents with more means; (ii) negative levels of hedonic well-being coexist with positive levels of evaluative well-being as people acquire agency; and (iii) both income and agency are less important to well-being at highest levels of the well-being distribution. We hope to contribute insight into one of the most complex and important components of well-being, namely, people's capacity to pursue fulfilling lives.
    Keywords: agency, capabilities, subjective well-being
    JEL: I14 G18 O5
    Date: 2013–09
  2. By: von Scheve, Christian (Freie Universität Berlin); Esche, Frederike (Humboldt University Berlin); Schupp, Jürgen (DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: Unemployment continues to be one of the major challenges in industrialized societies. Aside from its economic dimensions and societal repercussions, questions concerning the individual experience of unemployment have recently attracted increasing attention. Although many studies have documented the detrimental effects of unemployment for subjective well-being, they overwhelmingly focus on life satisfaction as the cognitive dimension of well-being. Little is known about the emotional antecedents and consequences of unemployment. We thus investigate the impact of unemployment on emotional well-being by analyzing the frequency with which specific emotions are experienced in anticipation of and reaction to job loss. Using longitudinal data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and fixed effects regressions, we find that becoming unemployed leads to more frequent experiences of unpleasant emotions only in the short run and that adaptation occurs more rapidly as compared to life satisfaction. Contrary to existing studies, we find decreases in emotional well-being but not in life satisfaction in anticipation of unemployment.
    Keywords: unemployment, emotions, well-being, life satisfaction, SOEP
    JEL: A14 D63 J17
    Date: 2013–09
  3. By: Tindara Addabbo; Gisella Facchinetti
    Abstract: The definition of well being in Sen's capability approach (Sen, 1985, 1993) implies the evaluation of unobservables in a context of complexity and interaction amongst the different capabilities. The issue of measurement of well being in the capability approach is interested by problems related to the difficulties in observing directly the capabilities (a set of opportunities that the individual can convert into observables functionings) behind the achieved functionings and in the very definition of the different dimensions of well being not closed by Sen in a given list. Different techniques have been proposed in the literature to measure well being in the capability approach (see Kuklys, 2005, Robeyns, 2006, Chiappero-Martinetti, 2008, Comim, 2008). Here we aim at showing how, in the field of fuzzy logic, fuzzy expert system can be used to measure well being in the capability approach by focusing on the methods and by referring to its implementation in different areas of the evaluation of well being. The use of fuzzy expert system to measure well being has been proposed in Addabbo, Di Tommaso and Facchinetti (2004) and applied for the evaluation of children well being (Addabbo, Facchinetti and Mastroleo, 2007), of the capability of living an healthy life (Addabbo, Chiarolanza, Fuscaldo, and Pirotti, 2010) while the measurement of the quality of work by using fuzzy expert system has been pursued in Addabbo, Facchinetti, Mastroleo and Solinas (2006). In Section 1 we discuss the mathematical framework of fuzzy logic and the transition from classical logic to fuzzy logic. In Section 2 we present the phases of implementation of fuzzy expert system and in Section 3 we discuss cases of its implementation in the measurement of different areas of well being. Section 4 concludes.
    Keywords: fuzzy logic, capabilities, well being
    JEL: C6 I31
    Date: 2013–10
  4. By: Tindara Addabbo; Elena Sarti; Dario Sciulli
    Abstract: This paper will focus on the living conditions of disabled people with different degree of limitations as regards to daily activities. In a first step of analysis we focus on the predictors of four specific domains of life satisfaction. In a second step, we attempt to define the different well-being dimensions of disabled people by using the indicators available in the 2011 ISTAT Survey on social inclusion of people with disabilities and by comparing the well-being attainments with respect to the different levels of functional limitations. Given the relevance of social interaction in the life satisfaction of individuals, we focus on this dimension of well-being by analysing the effect of functional limitations on its development, measured by using the observable indicators on the satisfaction of interaction with friends and relatives, the extent of this interaction, and frequency and satisfaction on internet use.
    Keywords: disability, well-being, life satisfaction, social interaction
    Date: 2013–10
  5. 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
  6. By: Bonikowska, Aneta Helliwell, John F.
    Abstract: Measures of subjective well-being are increasingly prominent in international policy discussions about how best to measure "societal progress" and the well-being of national populations. This has implications for national statistical offices, as calls have been made for them to include measures of subjective well-being in their household surveys (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 2013). Statistics Canada has included measures of subjective well-being - particularly life satisfaction - in its surveys for twenty-five years, although the wording of these questions and the response categories have evolved over time. Statistics Canada's General Social Survey (GSS) and Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) offer a valuable opportunity to examine the stability of life satisfaction responses and their correlates from year to year using a consistent analytical framework.
    Keywords: Statistical methods, Health, Quality assurance, Mental health and well-being
    Date: 2013–10–11

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