nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2013‒11‒29
nine papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Does Writing Three Good Things Make Japanese People Happier? (Japanese) By SEKIZAWA Yoichi; YOSHITAKE Naomi
  2. Examination of the Relationship between Psychological Traits and the Consumer Confidence Index (Japanese) By SEKIZAWA Yoichi; YOSHITAKE Naomi; GOTO Yasuo
  3. Welfare economics By Antoinette Baujard
  4. Successful aging: a cross-national study of subjective well-being later in life By Julia Zelikova
  5. Cross-sectional and longitudinal equivalence scales for West Germany based on subjective data on life satisfaction By Jurgen Faik
  6. The decomposition of well-being categories: An application to Germany By Jurgen Faik; Uwe Fachinger
  7. Dimensions of Well-Being: Earnings, Happiness and Domestic Violence. By CARMO DOS SANTOS, CA
  8. The Influence of Psychological Well-being, Ill Health and Health Shocks on Single Parents' Labour Supply By Alan Duncan; Mark Harris; Anthony Harris; Eugenio Zucchelli
  9. The impact of migration on children left behind in Moldova By Gassmann, Franziska; Siegel, Melissa; Vanore, Michaella; Waidler, Jennifer

  1. By: SEKIZAWA Yoichi; YOSHITAKE Naomi
    Abstract: According to Seligman et al. (2005), writing three good things per day before going to bed over one week results in the reduction of depressive symptoms and increased happiness. In order to examine whether a similar exercise is effective on Japanese people, we carried out an internet-based randomized controlled study. A total of 1,000 adults were randomly allocated to the Three Good Things (TGT) group or the control group. Participants in the TGT group were assigned to write three good things at least twice per week for four weeks, while participants in the control group were assigned to write three memories of the past at least twice per week for four weeks. Results of the exercises showed that positive emotions were enhanced only in the TGT group at post-test, but this enhancement was not maintained at the one-month follow-up. For other measures (depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, optimism, and negative emotions), there were no significant changes both at post-test and the one-month follow up. However, the scores of the general trust scale were enhanced in both groups at post-test, and continued to be enhanced at the one-month follow-up.
    Date: 2013–11
  2. By: SEKIZAWA Yoichi; YOSHITAKE Naomi; GOTO Yasuo
    Abstract: Research in psychology and neuroscience has shown that negative emotions such as depression and anxiety lead to pessimistic risk estimates, while positive emotions such as happiness lead to optimistic risk estimates. We examined whether such trend is observed in the relationship between emotions and the consumer confidence index (CCI). We also examined the relationship between other psychological traits and the CCI. By constructing a multiple regression using the cross sectional data of 6,405 people, we found that higher levels of depressive symptoms are associated with lower levels of the CCI, whereas higher levels of optimism, life satisfaction, and general trust are associated with higher levels of the CCI. We also found that negative emotions are associated with lower levels of the CCI while positive emotions are associated with higher levels of the CCI. Through analyzing the panel data at three time points with a one-month interval each on 469 people, the result of abovementioned study was replicated except for depressive symptoms. We found that changes in the depressive symptoms do not directly lead to changes in the CCI, however, it was suggested that these may occur indirectly through the changes in the levels of life satisfaction, optimism, positive emotions, and negative emotions.
    Date: 2013–11
  3. By: Antoinette Baujard (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Lyon)
    Abstract: This paper presents the Paretian Watershed and the fundamental theorems of welfare economics. It distinguishes the British approach (à la Kaldor-Hicks) from the American approach (à la Bergson-Samuelson) to new welfare economics. It develops the more recent domains of happiness economics, the comparative approach by Amartya Sen, and the theory of fair allocation by Marc Fleurbaey.
    Keywords: Welfare economics ; Kaldor-Hicks ; Social Welfare Function ; Pareto ; comparative approach ; happiness economics ; fair allocation
    Date: 2013–11–20
  4. By: Julia Zelikova (National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, the fellow researcher)
    Abstract: This paper aims to identify and analyze the life course and contextual factors that influence the subjective well-being (SWB) of individuals over 60 years of age. Our research is based on the results of the 5th wave of the World Value Survey. We have investigated the level of SWB for older people at both the individual and country level. The results of our research demonstrate that the strongest predictors of SWB later in life are satisfaction with one’s financial state, health, and a sense of control, meaning the belief that individuals are in control of their lives. Besides this, the important factors of SWB for older people are the ability to establish and maintain friendly relations with other people, such as family members and friends, and to invest their own resources in positive emotions and important relationships for themselves. Older people from ex-communist countries have the lowest level of SWB. Older people from English-speaking countries, such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, have, by contrast, the highest level of SWB. These results suggest that the degree of modernization influences SWB levels very strongly. For older people, the country in which they live, the level of democracy, GDP per capita, freedom, and tolerance are very important. In contemporary society, the later period of life is a time for self-realization, new activities, new leisure, and new emotions. If society understands the needs of older people and provides opportunities for their realization, society can overcome the challenges caused by population aging. Only then can we discuss the concept of ‘successful aging’
    Keywords: Aging, multiple regression models, cross-cultural analysis, values, self-expression values, modernization.
    JEL: A13
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Jurgen Faik (FaMa - Neue Frankfurter Sozialforschung)
    Abstract: The present study calculates variable, cross-sectional as well as longitudinal equivalence scales on the basis of the German 1984-2010 Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) database for West Germany. It follows the "individual variant" for calculating subjective equivalence scales using "life satisfaction" as a proxy variable for "utility". The cross-sectional scale estimates are characterized by relatively low scale values which is typical for the subjective scale approach. As a further main result, the estimated longitudinal equivalence scales reveal some but rather slight cohort-specific scale differences. Especially, the unsatisfactory fit of the paper's regressions points to the need for more research activities in this strand of social science research. The latter must be emphasized since equivalence scales are very important for social policy. Specifically, this holds true for longitudinal scales in order to capture cohort effects and, thus, to deal with intra- and intergenerational aspects of well-being (and corresponding differences).
    Keywords: Equivalence scales, life satisfaction, longitudinal analysis, cohorts' well-being.
    JEL: D30 D31 D60
    Date: 2013–09
  6. By: Jurgen Faik (FaMa - Neue Frankfurter Sozialforschung, Germany); Uwe Fachinger (Department of Economics and Demography, Institute of Gerontology, University of Vechta, Germany)
    Abstract: In the paper, a combined approach is used to test for inequality differences of several well-being categories for a number of groups of persons. Hereby, total inequality is decomposed into within- and into between-group/category inequality (via a normalised coefficient of variation as the used inequality indicator). The decompositions are categorised into those referring to socio-demographic characteristics (age, sex, nationality, place of residence, household type) and those belonging to different well-being (sub-)categories (several income, wealth, and expenditure categories). Based on the methodical setting, empirical analyses are performed for Germany using the 2008 German Sample Survey of Income and Expenditure (Einkommens- und Verbrauchs-stichprobe; EVS) as the database. Out of our numerous findings for both kinds of decomposi-tion, the overwhelming role of within-group/category inequality becomes evident. By decomposing German (material) well-being inequality in great detail, we shed light on its dimensions, showing that decomposition by income, wealth, and expenditure, as well as by socio-demographic characteristics is important to obtain adequate solutions for socio-political measures. Not considering the fact, from where the real inequality stems from, is like barking up the wrong tree and bears the danger of false political measures regarding social and distributional policy.
    Keywords: Decomposition, Distribution, Inequality, Shift-share analysis, Well-being.
    JEL: D30 D31 D60
    Date: 2013–09
    Abstract: This thesis looks at three important aspects of the well-being of individuals. The first chapter looks at earnings and tries to estimate earnings over the life course accounting for selection. It does so by being silent a priori about the relative productivity of those who stay out of work and instead lets the data speak. Data suggest that nonworkers are not always worse than workers, and it also suggests cohort effects are also important when lifecycle profiles do not follow the same people over the whole age range. This chapter also provides an economic model which partly explains how higher productivity individuals may leave the market earlier than low productivity ones. The second chapter looks at another dimension of well-being over the life course. It estimates age-happiness profiles and it focusses more specifically on the identification of linear age effects, in a life satisfaction equation which also includes linear cohort and period effects. As in the first chapter, this chapter also accounts for selective attrition. It finds that cohort effects and selection are important and an adequate account of them changes the age effect on happiness quite substantially. The third chapter looks at domestic violence and tries to find a measure of the cost it has for victims. This is an under-researched area in Economics due to the challenges it presents to the discipline: it questions some of the assumptions often made in the literature about cooperation and efficiency in households; it cannot be easily (if at all) inferred from market behaviour; and data are quite sensitive to gather. We have used a data set designed in the UK, which culminates happiness and income data, and find that costs of violence are often larger than what most households would be able to compensate victims for.
    Date: 2013–04–28
  8. By: Alan Duncan (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin University); Mark Harris (School of Economics and Finance, Curtin University); Anthony Harris (Centre for Health Economics (CHE), Monash University); Eugenio Zucchelli (University of Lancaster, UK)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a discrete-choice behavioural model of labour supply to examine the role of ill-health on single parents’ employment. The model provides estimates of individual preferences over a given set of labour market states and allows these preferences to be influenced by a measure of mental health, a latent health index purged of reporting bias and various measures of health shocks. Exploiting longitudinal data from the HILDA Survey, we find that psychological well-being, ill-health and health shocks significantly influence single parents’ marginal disutility of work and marginal utility of income. Further, we apply behavioural microsimulation methods to estimate the likely labour supply responses among single parents in Australia from restricting eligibility to access disability support via the Australian Disability Support Pension (DSP) scheme. Our simulation exercise reveals that imposing tighter DSP eligibility rules has a moderate but positive effect on single mothers’ employment.
    Keywords: health, disability, wellbeing, health shocks, discrete choice, behavioural microsimulation, labour supply
    JEL: C10 C25 C51 I10 I19 J01
    Date: 2013–07
  9. By: Gassmann, Franziska (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG); Siegel, Melissa (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG); Vanore, Michaella (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG); Waidler, Jennifer (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG)
    Abstract: This paper empirically evaluates the well-being of children "left behind" by migrant household members in Moldova. Using data derived from a nationally-representative, large-scale household survey conducted between September 2011 and February 2012 among 3,255 households (1,801 of which contained children aged 0-17) across Moldova, different dimensions of child well-being are empirically evaluated. Well-being of children in Moldova is divided into eight different dimensions, each of which is comprised of several indicators. Each indicator is examined individually and then aggregated into an index. Well-being outcomes are then compared by age group, primary caregiver, migration status of the household (current migrant, return migrant, or no migration experience), and by who has migrated within the household. It was found that migration in and of itself is not associated with negative outcomes on children's well-being in any of the dimensions analysed, nor does it matter who in the household has migrated. Children living in return migrant households, however, attain higher rates of well-being in specific dimensions like emotional health and material well-being. The age of the child and the material living standards experienced by the household are much stronger predictors of well-being than household migration status in a number of different dimensions. The results suggest that migration does not play a significant role in shaping child well-being outcomes, contrary to the scenarios described in much past research. This paper is the first (to the authors' knowledge) to link migration and multidimensional child poverty.
    Keywords: Moldova, migration, poverty, child poverty, multi-dimensional poverty
    JEL: I32 F22 J61 O15
    Date: 2013

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