New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒05‒04
nine papers chosen by

  1. You can’t always get what you want: Gender Differences in Job Satisfaction of University Graduates By Werner Bönte; Stefan Krabel
  2. Does internal migration improve overall well-being in Ethiopia?: By de Brauw, Alan; Mueller, Valerie; Woldehanna, Tassew
  3. Home Sweet Home? Macroeconomic Conditions in Home Countries and the Well-Being of Migrants By Akay, Alpaslan; Bargain, Olivier; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  4. The Potential of Time Banks to support Social Inclusion and Employability: An investigation of the use of reciprocal volunteering and complementary currencies for social impact By David Boyle
  5. Economic Well-being and Anti-Semitic, Xenophobic, and Racist Attitudes in Germany By Mocan, Naci; Raschke, Christian
  6. What Can Life Satisfaction Data Tell Us About Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities? A Structural Equation Model for Australia and the United Kingdom By Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Wooden, Mark
  7. Economic Approaches to Understanding Change in Happiness By Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Stutzer, Alois
  8. Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence By Clark, Andrew E.; D'Ambrosio, Conchita
  9. Is working from home good or bad work? Evidence from Australian employees By Alfred Michael Dockery; Sherry Bawa

  1. By: Werner Bönte (University of Wuppertal Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, Jackstädt Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research,); Stefan Krabel (Institute of Economics, Economic Policy Research, University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Previous literature stressed on the gender differences in job satisfaction and the factors influencing the job satisfaction of men and women. Two rationales are usually provided for the finding that women tend to be relatively more satisfied with their jobs than men although disadvantaged in labour markets: first, women may have relatively lower expectations of career and income, and second, they may attach relatively less importance to extrinsic rewards than men. In order to analyse whether substantial gender differences exist already at the beginning of the career, we employ information of over 20000 graduates collected through a large-scale survey of German university graduates who recently entered the labour market. We find that the job satisfaction of female graduates is on average slightly lower than the job satisfaction of male graduates, but our results do not point to substantial gender differences. In our sample of highly qualified individuals, men and women are very similar in what they want from their jobs and also in their perceptions of what they get. While our results point to substantial similarity of men and women in the early career stage, gender differences may emerge at later stages of the career life cycle.
    Keywords: ob satisfaction, gender differences, working conditions
    JEL: J16 J28 J81
    Date: 2014–04
  2. By: de Brauw, Alan; Mueller, Valerie; Woldehanna, Tassew
    Abstract: In this paper, we use a unique panel dataset of tracked migrants and non-migrants that originate from 18 villages in Ethiopia to examine the welfare impacts of internal migration. Using a number of techniques and various objective and subjective measures, we measure the impacts of migration on the welfare of migrants versus non-migrants. We find large gains to objective welfare measures such as consumption, around 110 percent. Gains are larger among male and urban migrants. Howev-er, we also find that relative to household heads subjective welfare measures are similar for migrants. The large welfare gains to migration suggest that barriers exist, even within countries such as Ethiopia, against the free movement of people to places where they would be objectively better off.
    Keywords: Migration, Internal migration, Living standards., tracking survey,
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Akay, Alpaslan (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Bargain, Olivier; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
    Abstract: This paper examines whether the subjective well-being of migrants is responsive to fluc- tuations in macroeconomic conditions in their country of origin. Using the German Socio- Economic Panel for the years 1984 to 2009 and macroeconomic variables for 24 countries of origin, we exploit country-year variation for identification of the effect and panel data to control for migrants' observed and unobserved characteristics. We find strong (mild) evidence that migrants' well-being responds negatively (positively) to an increase in the GDP (un- employment rate) of their home country. That is, we originally demonstrate that migrants regard home countries as natural comparators and, thereby, suggest an original assessment of the migration’s relative deprivation motive. We also show that migrants are positively affected by the performances of the German regions in which they live (a ‘signal effect’).We demonstrate that both effects decline with years-since-migration and with the degree of assimilation in Germany, which is consistent with a switch of migrants' reference point from home countries to migration destinations. Results are robust to the inclusion of country-time trends, to control for remittances sent to relatives in home countries and to a correction for selection into return migration. We derive important implications for labor market and migration policies.
    Keywords: migrants; well-being; GDP; unemployment; relative concerns/deprivation
    JEL: C90 D63
    Date: 2014–04
  4. By: David Boyle (New Weather Institute)
    Abstract: Time banks are systems which measure and reward the effort people make in their neighbourhoods, supporting other people – often in very informal ways – and which allows people also to draw down informal support when they need it. In different ways, they use time as a kind of ‘money’ to reward people who help out in their neighbourhoods or beyond, and which then acts as a medium of exchange, whereby they can draw down help from the system themselves – or spend the time on more concrete rewards, like entry to sports clubs, training or even food. This report explores the development of different a diversity of time banks and parallel currencies from across the world to understand their potential to help combat social exclusion and support employability. Using 10 case studies, it identifies the factors that make for successful time banks, and the challenges building sustainability in different welfare and socio-economic contexts. The report finds evidence to suggest that they have the potential to improve well-being and mental health, to enhance the effectiveness of public services, and even to promote entrepreneurship and self-employed business ventures. It draws lessons for policy and identifies research challenges. This report is one of a series produced by the JRC-IPTS Information Society Unit as part of the ICT4EMPL Future Work study, that explores four novel forms of internet-mediated work activity, both paid and unpaid: online work exchanges, crowdfunding, online volunteering and internet-mediated work exchanges (time banks).
    Keywords: Employability, Information Society, Work, Employment, Social Inclusion, Volunteering, Skills, Internet
    JEL: D64 J24 L31 L32
    Date: 2014–04
  5. By: Mocan, Naci (Louisiana State University); Raschke, Christian (Sam Houston State University)
    Abstract: The fear and hatred of others who are different has economic consequences because such feelings are likely to translate into discrimination in labor, credit, housing, and other markets. The implications range from earnings inequality to intergenerational mobility. Using German data from various years between 1996 and 2010, we analyze the determinants of racist and xenophobic feelings towards foreigners in general, and against specific groups such as Italians and Turks. We also analyze racist and anti-Semitic feelings towards German citizens who differ in ethnicity (Aussiedler from Eastern Europe) or in religion (German Jews). Individuals' perceived (or actual) economic well-being is negatively related to the strength of these feelings. Education, and having contact with foreigners mitigate racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic feelings. People who live in states which had provided above-median support of the Nazi party in the 1928 elections have stronger anti-Semitic feelings today. The results are not gender-driven. They are not an artifact of economic conditions triggering feelings about job priority for German males, and they are not fully driven by fears about foreigners taking away jobs. The results of the paper are consistent with the model of Glaeser (2005) on hate, and with that of Akerlof and Kranton (2000, 2005) on identity in the utility function.
    Keywords: economic well-being, racism, anti-Semitism, foreigners, xenophobia, identity, education
    JEL: J15 I30 Z10
    Date: 2014–04
  6. By: Powdthavee, Nattavudh (London School of Economics); Wooden, Mark (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)
    Abstract: Very little is known about how the differential treatment of sexual minorities could influence subjective reports of overall well-being. This paper seeks to fill this gap. Data from two large surveys that provide nationally representative samples for two different countries – Australia (the HILDA Survey) and the UK (the UK Household Longitudinal Study) – are used to estimate a simultaneous equations model of life satisfaction. The model allows for self-reported sexual identity to influence a measure of life satisfaction both directly and indirectly through seven different channels: (i) income; (ii) employment; (iii) health (iv) partner relationships; (v) children; (vi) friendship networks; and (vii) education. Lesbian, gay and bisexual persons are found to be significantly less satisfied with their lives than otherwise comparable heterosexual persons. In both countries this is the result of a combination of direct and indirect effects.
    Keywords: sexual orientation, sexual minorities, discrimination, life satisfaction, HILDA Survey, UKHLS
    JEL: I31 J71
    Date: 2014–04
  7. By: Powdthavee, Nattavudh (London School of Economics); Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel)
    Abstract: Are people condemned to an inherent level of experienced happiness? A review of the economic research on subjective well-being gives reason to the assessment that happiness can change. First, empirical findings clearly indicate that people are not indifferent to adverse living conditions when reporting their subjective well-being as observed for limited freedom of choice, low levels of democratization, unemployment, low income, etc. Second, considering people's adaptation to life events and (external) conditions reveals substantial heterogeneity in the speed as well as the degree of reversion. Together, the evidence suggests that reported subjective well-being is a valuable complementary source of information about human well-being and the phenomenon of adaptation. Many challenges, of course, remain. First, we are only at the beginning of understanding variation in the process of adaptation. The modeling of happiness over the life course promises a productive perspective. Second, adaptation might well pose a challenge to individual decision-making when people are not good in predicting it. Third, adaptation might have great consequences for public policy and the idea of social welfare maximization depending on how fast and slow adapting people are treated.
    Keywords: adaptation, economics and happiness, life course perspective, subjective well-being
    JEL: D03 D60 I31
    Date: 2014–04
  8. By: Clark, Andrew E. (Paris School of Economics); D'Ambrosio, Conchita (University of Luxembourg)
    Abstract: We review the survey and experimental findings in the literature on attitudes to income inequality. We interpret the latter as any disparity in incomes between individuals. We classify these findings into two broad types of individual attitudes towards the income distribution in a society: the normative and the comparative view. The first can be thought of as the individual's disinterested evaluation of income inequality; on the contrary, the second view reflects self-interest, as individual's inequality attitudes depend not only on how much income they receive but also on how much they receive compared to others. We conclude with a number of extensions, outstanding issues and suggestions for future research.
    Keywords: attitudes, distribution, experiments, income inequality, life satisfaction, reference groups
    JEL: C91 D31 D63 I31
    Date: 2014–04
  9. By: Alfred Michael Dockery (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Curtin Business School); Sherry Bawa (School of Economics and Finance, Curtin Business School)
    Abstract: There is concern that workers are finding it increasingly difficult to balance work and family life and face growing time stress. Working from home is one form of flexibility in working arrangements that may assist workers to juggle work and non-work commitments. However, it may also provide a pathway for greater intrusion of work into family life and for added work-related stress. Around 17% of Australian employees work some of their usual working hours from home, and one-third of these do so under a formal agreement with their employer. Based on evidence from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, these proportions seem to have remained surprisingly stable over the past decade. Overall, the ability to work some hours from home is seen by employees as a positive job attribute that provides flexibility to balance work and non-work commitments and this is particularly so for employees who have a formal agreement to work from home. However, working from home is also associated with long hours of work and the evidence provides grounds for concern that working from home does facilitate greater intrusion into non-work domains of life through this channel.
    Keywords: time allocation, labour supply, working conditions, job satisfaction.
    JEL: J13 J22 I32
    Date: 2014–04

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