nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒02‒21
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Economic Growth Evens-Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys By Andrew E. Clark; Sarah Flèche; Claudia Senik
  2. Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well-being: Results from Four Data Sets By Cheng, Terence Chai; Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Oswald, Andrew J.
  3. Human Well-being and In-Work Benefits: A Randomized Controlled Trial By Dorsett, Richard; Oswald, Andrew J.
  4. Happy in the Hood? The Impact of Residential Segregation on Self-Reported Happiness By Herbst, Chris M.; Lucio, Joanna

  1. By: Andrew E. Clark (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA)); Sarah Flèche (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA)); Claudia Senik (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), UP4 - Université Paris 4, Paris-Sorbonne - Université Paris IV - Paris Sorbonne - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In spite of the great U-turn that saw income inequality rise in Western countries in the 1980s, happiness inequality has dropped in countries that have experienced income growth (but not in those that did not). Modern growth has reduced the share of both the "very unhappy" and the "perfectly happy". The extension of public amenities has certainly contributed to this greater happiness homogeneity. This new stylized fact comes as an addition to the Easterlin paradox, offering a somewhat brighter perspective for developing countries.
    Keywords: Happiness ; Inequality ; Economic growth ; Development ; Easterlin paradox
    Date: 2014–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00936145&r=hap
  2. By: Cheng, Terence Chai (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research); Powdthavee, Nattavudh (London School of Economics); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: There is a large amount of cross-sectional evidence for a midlife low in the life cycle of human happiness and well-being (a 'U shape'). Yet no genuinely longitudinal inquiry has uncovered evidence for a U-shaped pattern. Thus some researchers believe the U is a statistical artefact. We re-examine this fundamental cross-disciplinary question. We suggest a new test. Drawing on four data sets, and only within-person changes in well-being, we document powerful support for a U-shape in unadjusted longitudinal data without the need for regression equations. The paper's methodological contribution is to exploit the first-derivative properties of a well-being equation.
    Keywords: life-cycle happiness, subjective well-being, longitudinal study, U shape
    JEL: I31 D01 C18
    Date: 2014–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7942&r=hap
  3. By: Dorsett, Richard (National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Many politicians believe they can intervene in the economy to improve people's lives. But can they? In a social experiment carried out in the United Kingdom, extensive in-work support was randomly assigned among 16,000 disadvantaged people. We follow a sub-sample of 3,500 single parents for 5 ensuing years. The results reveal a remarkable, and troubling, finding. Long after eligibility had ceased, the treated individuals had substantially lower psychological well-being, worried more about money, and were increasingly prone to debt. Thus helping people apparently hurt them. We discuss a behavioral framework consistent with our findings and reflect on implications for policy.
    Keywords: randomized controlled trials, government policy, in-work benefits, wage subsidies, well-being, happiness
    JEL: I31 D03 D60 H11 J38
    Date: 2014–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7943&r=hap
  4. By: Herbst, Chris M. (Arizona State University); Lucio, Joanna (Arizona State University)
    Abstract: Previous research consistently finds that racially-based residential segregation is associated with poor economic, health, and social outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between residential segregation and self-reported happiness. Using panel data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), we begin by estimating ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions of happiness on a measure of MSA-level segregation, controlling for a rich set of individual, neighborhood, and state characteristics. The OLS results suggest that increased segregation is associated with a reduction in happiness among blacks. To deal more appropriately with the potential endogeneity of location choice, we extend the methodology to fully exploit the panel structure of the NSFH and incorporate individual fixed effects into the happiness equation. Contrary to the OLS results, our fixed effects estimates imply that blacks are happier in more segregated metropolitan areas. The paper discusses the implications of these results within the context of current integration policies.
    Keywords: happiness, residential segregation, neighborhood preferences
    JEL: J10
    Date: 2014–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7944&r=hap

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