New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒01‒10
five papers chosen by

  1. Genes, security, tolerance and happiness By Ronald Inglehart; Svetlana Borinskaya; Anna Cotter; Jaanus Harro; Ronald C. Inglehart; Eduard Ponarin; Christian Welzel
  2. Entrepreneurship, Innovation and the Good Life: Reflections on Edmund Phelps’ Mass Flourishing By Henrekson, Magnus
  3. Understanding the Russian malaise: The collapse and recovery of subjective well-being in post-communist Russia By Ronald Inglehart; Roberto Foa; Eduard Ponarin; Christian Welzel
  4. Wage comparisons in and out of the firm. Evidence from a matched employer-employee French database By Olivier Godechot; Claudia Senik
  5. The Love Aspects of Human Capital and the Economic Activity of Countries By Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich

  1. By: Ronald Inglehart (Higher School of Economics); Svetlana Borinskaya (Institute of General Genetics, Moscow, Russia); Anna Cotter (University of Michigan); Jaanus Harro (Department of Psychology, University of Tartu, Estonian Centre of Behavioral and Health Sciences); Ronald C. Inglehart (University of Michigan); Eduard Ponarin (Higher School of Economics); Christian Welzel (Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana University, Scharnhorststr.)
    Abstract: This paper discusses correlations between certain genetic characterestics of the human populations and their aggregate levels of tolerance and happiness. We argue that a major cause of the systematic clustering of genetic characteristics may be climatic conditions linked with relatively high or low levels of parasite. This may lead certain populations to develop gene pools linked with different levels of avoidance of strangers, which helped shape different cultures, both of which eventually helped shape economic development. Still more recently, this combination of distinctive cultural and economic and perhaps genetic factors has led some societies to more readily adopt gender equality and high levels of social tolerance, than others. More tolerant societies tend to be happier because they create a more relaxed environment conducive to happiness.
    Keywords: genetic research, World Values Survey, happiness, tolerance.
    JEL: E11
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Henrekson, Magnus (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: Edmund Phelps, the 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics, has written a thought-provoking and ambitious book: Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change (Princeton University Press, 2013). The book is laudable for its emphasis on innovation, for its discussion of what constitutes a good life, and Phelps’ realization that true life satisfaction cannot be achieved through a mindless quest for money and the goods it can buy. But the overly glossy characterization of the period before WW II as opposed to the post-1980 period, the niggardly evaluation of the European economies, and the lack of empirical indicators actually showing that the rate of innovation has dropped are significant weaknesses. These objections are especially regrettable given the importance of the book´s main message: Creative entrepreneurship is not merely the key to economic growth, but to life satisfaction as well.
    Keywords: Innovation; Entrepreneurship; Modernism; Postmodernism; Values
    JEL: L26 M14 P47 Z13
    Date: 2014–01–02
  3. By: Ronald Inglehart (Higher School of Economics); Roberto Foa (Harvard University); Eduard Ponarin (Higher School of Economics); Christian Welzel (Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana University, Scharnhorststr.)
    Abstract: This article analyzes the decline of subjective well-being and a sense of national self-esteem among the Russian people that was linked with the collapse of the communist economic, political and social systems in the 1990s—and a subsequent recovery of subjective well-being that began more recently. Subjective well-being is closely linked with economic development, democracy and physical health. The people of rich countries tend show higher levels than those of poor countries, but already in 1982, the Russia people ranked lower on happiness and life satisfaction than the people of much poorer countries such as Nigeria or India; external signs of this malaise were rising alcoholism and declining male life expectancy. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, subjective well-being in Russia fell to levels never seen before, reaching a low point in 1995 when most Russians described themselves as unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives as a whole. Since 2000, this trend has been reversing itself, but in 2011 Russia still ranked slightly lower than its level in 1981
    Keywords: World Values Survey, Russia, happiness, subjective well-being
    JEL: E11
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Olivier Godechot (Sciences Po, MaxPo and OSC-CNRS); Claudia Senik (University Paris-Sorbonne and PSE)
    Abstract: This paper looks at the association between wage satisfaction and different notions of reference wage, based on a matched employer-employee dataset. It shows that workers’ satisfaction depends on other-people’s income in different ways. Relative income concerns are important, but we also find robust evidence of signal effects. For instance, workers are happier the higher the median wage in their firm, holding their own wage constant. This is true of all employees, whatever their relative position in the firm. This signal effect is stronger for young people and for women. These findings are based on objective measures of earnings as well as subjective declarations about wage satisfaction, awareness of other people’s wage and reported income comparisons.
    Keywords: Income comparisons, income distribution, job satisfaction, wage satisfaction, signal effect, matched employer-employee survey data.
    JEL: D31 D63 I30 J28 J31
    Date: 2013–11
  5. By: Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich
    Abstract: The influence of non-economic factors and forces on economic activities and their outcomes is undeniable. Love, being so central to many human activities, should similarly have some effects on the economic activity of nations. This paper (a) builds a simple but innovative model, (b) imposes it on a limited data set to estimate the effects of love experience and feeling on the economic activity of a group of 133 countries, and (3) compares such effects to those of other determinants of the economic activity, including Barro-Lee human capital, openness, and physical capital, as well as a broad measure of national well-being, HDI. The results strongly favor physical capital followed, by HDI and Barro-Lee human capital. Although small in magnitude, love effects are more statistically significant than those of openness. There appears to be some multicollinearity and model functional issues which challenge the robustness of the estimates and call for further research. However, the technical efficiency of the estimates is reasonable, so that one may conclude that love is important, but not critical to economic activity. The policy implications call for more investment in physical capital, schooling, and in the overall improvement of human development than in love experience and feeling, even though those are important too.
    Keywords: Love capital, Barro-Lee human capital, Mincer human capital formula, economic activity
    JEL: C21 C51 I0 J12 O15 O47 Z13
    Date: 2013–12–05

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