nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒05‒09
seven papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Online and offline social participation and social poverty traps. Can social networks save human relations? By Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
  2. Sliding down the U-shape? An investigation of the age-well-being relationship, with a focus on young adults. By Piper, Alan T.
  3. Subjective Well-being, Risk Perceptions and Time Discounting: Evidence from a large-scale cash transfer programme By Bruno Martorano; Sudhanshu Handa; Carolyn Halpern; Harsha Thirumurthy; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  4. Maternal working hours and the well-being of adolescent children By Silvia Mendolia
  5. The Determinants of Happiness of China’s Elderly Population By Hau Chyi; Shangyi Mao
  6. Looking back in anger? Retirement and unemployment scarring By Hetschko, Clemens; Knabe, Andreas; Schöb, Ronnie
  7. Job insecurity, employability, and health: An analysis for Germany across generations By Otterbach, Steffen; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso

  1. By: Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
    Abstract: In this study, we develop an evolutionary game model to analyse how human relations evolve in a context characterised by declining face-to-face interactions and growing online social participation. Our results suggest that online networks may constitute a coping response allowing individuals to “defend” their social life from increasing busyness and a reduction in the time available for leisure. Internet-mediated interaction can play a positive role in preventing the disruption of ties and the weakening of community life documented by empirical studies. In this scenario, the digital divide is likely to become an increasingly relevant factor of social exclusion, which may exacerbate inequalities in well-being and capabilities.
    Keywords: social participation; online networks; social capital; well-being; digital divide
    JEL: C73 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2014–05–03
  2. By: Piper, Alan T.
    Abstract: Much of the work within economics attempting to understand the relationship between age and well-being has focused on the U-shape, whether it exists and, more recently, potential reasons for its existence. This paper focuses on one part of the lifecycle rather than the whole: young people. This offers a better understanding of the age-well-being relationship for young people, and helps with increasing general understanding regarding the U-shape itself. The empirical estimations employ both static and dynamic panel estimations, with the latter providing an illustration of the importance of decisions concerning the endogeneity or exogeneity of the regressors. The empirical results are in line with the U-shape, and the results from the dynamic analysis both lend support to reasons put forward for the changing nature of the age-well-being relationship over the whole lifecycle and also suggest a further avenue for research.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Aging, Young People, Dynamic Panel Analysis
    JEL: C23 I31 J13
    Date: 2014–05
  3. By: Bruno Martorano; Sudhanshu Handa; Carolyn Halpern; Harsha Thirumurthy; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: The risk and time preferences of individuals as well as their subjective expectations regarding the future are likely to play an important role in choice behaviour. Measurement of these individual characteristics in large-scale surveys has been a recent development and empirical evidence on their associations with behaviour remains limited. We summarize the results of measuring individuals’ attitudes towards inter-temporal choice, risk, and the future in a large-scale field survey in Kenya. We find very low rates of inconsistency in interpreting questions on time and risk preferences. Cash transfers alone do not appear to impact time discounting or risk aversion, but they do have an important impact on subjective well-being measures and on future perceptions of quality of life.
    Keywords: risk; surveys; transfer income;
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Silvia Mendolia (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: This study investigates how maternal working hours are related to various outcomes in children aged 11–15 using a sample of mothers and adolescents in the British Household Panel Survey. Research that examines the effects of maternal employment on children has been motivated by the rapid increase of female participation rates in the labour market and increased shares of children living in female-headed or single-mother households. The existing literature on this issue is very limited, mostly based on American data, and provides conflicting results. Fixed effects have been used in the present analysis to control for characteristics of children and families that do not vary over time. The results suggest that full-time maternal employment (as opposed to part-time) has little or no effect on the propensity of adolescents to smoke, their life satisfaction, self-esteem, or intention to leave school at 16. These results are stable and consistent across various specifications of the model and different socio-economic status.
    Keywords: maternal working hours; adolescent well-being; children smoking
    JEL: J13 J22 I12
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Hau Chyi; Shangyi Mao
    Abstract: ‘‘Three generations under one roof’’ is an old Chinese saying used to describe a desired living arrangement. The traditional concept of happiness for a Chinese elderly person is being able to ‘‘play with grandchildren with candy in mouth, enjoy life with no cares.’’ In a fast-changing economy like, how does society, especially the elderly themselves, view these traditional values? Using the 2005 Chinese General Social Survey, we study the determinants of happiness of the Chinese elderly. We are particularly interested in whether living with their child and whether living with their grandchild affect the happiness of the elderly. An important empirical concern is that unobserved permanent income may affect both the living arrangements of the elderly and their level of happiness. We include property ownership variables as proxies and also adopt an instrument variable approach to identify the causal relationship between the elderly’s happiness and their living arrangements. We find that, conditional on living with a grandchild, living with one’s child has a negative effect on the elderly’s happiness. Furthermore, elderly Chinese who live with grandchildren are associated with a much higher degree of happiness than their counterparts.
    Keywords: Happiness; Chinese Elderly; Living Arrangement
    Date: 2013–10–14
  6. By: Hetschko, Clemens; Knabe, Andreas; Schöb, Ronnie
    Abstract: Previous studies find that past unemployment reduces life satisfaction even after reemployment for non-monetary reasons (unemployment scarring). It is not clear, however, whether this scarring is only caused by employment-related factors, such as worsened working conditions, or increased future uncertainty as regards income and employment. Using German panel data, we identify non-employment-related scarring by examining the transition of unemployed people to retirement as a life event after which employment-related scarring does not matter anymore. We find evidence for non-employment-related non-monetary unemployment scarring for people who were unemployed for the first time in their life directly prior to retirement, but not for people with earlier unemployment experiences. --
    Keywords: unemployment scarring,life satisfaction,retirement
    JEL: I31 J26
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Otterbach, Steffen; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
    Abstract: In this paper, we use 12 waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel to examine the relationship between job insecurity, employability and health-related well-being. Our results indicate that being unemployed has a strong negative effect on life satisfaction and health. They also, however, highlight the fact that this effect is most prominent among individuals over the age of 40. A second observation is that job insecurity is also associated with lower levels of life satisfaction and health, and this association is quite strong. This negative effect of job insecurity is, in many cases, exacerbated by poor employability. --
    Keywords: job insecurity,employment,employability,well-being,health,Germany
    JEL: J21 J22
    Date: 2014

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