nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒06‒22
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
University of Milano-Bicocca

  1. Which attitudes will make us individually and socially happier and healthier? A cross-culture and cross-development analytical model By F. Zagonari
  2. Inequality of Opportunity in Health in Indonesia By Florence Jusot; Sabine Mage; Marta Menendez
  3. Saving More to Borrow Less: Experimental Evidence from Access to Formal Savings Accounts in Chile By Felipe Kast; Dina Pomeranz
  4. Non-contributory pensions By Rosangela Bando; Paul Gertler; Sebastián Galiani
  5. Lost (in) Dimensions: Consolidating progress in multidimensional poverty research By Chris De Neubourg; Marlous de Milliano; Ilze Plavgo; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre

  1. By: F. Zagonari
    Abstract: This paper describes a dynamic system for the interrelationships between happiness and health that considers three main attitudes to life: α, β, and γ for Aristotelian, Epicurean, and Stoic, respectively. All variables that have been shown by empirical and theoretical studies to affect individual health and happiness are included (i.e., employment, occupation, education, ethical freedom, equity in achievements). Three main approaches are considered: behavioural and statistical ex-ante, and ex-post behavioural. I develop the model to rank the three attitudes in terms of health for a given happiness level, and consequently, provide insights into which attitude should be adopted by each individual, according to their characteristics: individuals in Protestant and non-Protestant Christian societies should adopt β and γ attitudes, respectively; educated individuals should adopt a γ attitude; and poor individuals should adopt an α attitude. Based on this analysis, I provide insights into which attitude actually is adopted by each society by comparing predicted health and achievement levels with the observed life expectancy at birth and per capita gross domestic product levels in 107 countries, thus providing an empirical test of the analytical model. This analysis revealed a prevalence of β attitudes in Protestant Developed Countries, with larger γ shares in less income-unequal countries; a prevalence of γ attitudes in non-Protestant Christian Developed Countries, with larger β shares in more income-unequal countries; a prevalence of α attitudes in Muslim Less Developed Countries, with larger γ shares in more educated countries; and a prevalence of β attitudes in more educated atheist and Jewish countries.
    JEL: I1 I3 Z1
    Date: 2014–06
  2. By: Florence Jusot (Université de Rouen, CREAM, Université Paris-Dauphine and PSL Research University,); Sabine Mage (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, IRD UMR DIAL); Marta Menendez (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, IRD UMR DIAL)
    Abstract: Whereas health equity issues are undoubtedly more relevant in developing countries, research on health inequalities and, more specifically, on inequality of opportunity in the health dimension, remains scarce in this context. This paper explores the degree of inequality of opportunity in health in a developing country, using the 2007 Indonesian Family Life Survey, a large-scale survey with extremely rich information about individual health outcomes (biomarkers and self-reports) and individual circumstances. We compute a continuous synthetic index of global health status based on a comprehensive set of health indicators and subsequently implement non-parametric and parametric methods in order to quantify the level of inequality of opportunity in the health dimension. Our results show large inequality of opportunities in health in Indonesia, compared to European countries. Concerning transmission mechanisms, parental (particularly maternal) vital status appears as the main channel. Compared to what has been observed in more developed countries, the effect of parental education on health is relatively smaller, and mainly indirect (passing through descendants’ socioeconomic, marital and migration statuses), while the existence of long-term differences in health related to religion, language spoken and particularly province of location suggest a relatively higher relevance of community belonging variables for health equity in the context of a developing country as Indonesia. _________________________________ Les pays en développement sont particulièrement concernés par la question des inégalités de santé et notamment celle de l’inégalité des chances. Néanmoins, très peu de travaux sont proposés dans le cadre des économies en développement. Cet article étudie l’ampleur des inégalités des chances en matière de santé en Indonésie à partir de données recueillies par l’enquête IFLS (Indonesian Family Life Survey) de 2007 qui propose une information individuelle détaillée sur l’état de santé (bio-marqueurs et auto-évaluation) mais aussi sur l’environnement socio- économique. Un indicateur synthétique continu de l’état de santé global calculé à partir d’un ensemble complet d’informations sur la santé est dans un premier temps proposé. Des méthodes paramétriques et non paramétriques sont ensuite mobilisées pour mesurer le niveau de l’inégalité des chances dans le domaine de la santé. Les résultats mettent en évidence une importante inégalité des chances relative à l’état de santé en Indonésie par rapport au niveau d’inégalité observée dans les pays européens. Le principal vecteur de transmission de l’inégalité est le statut de santé des parents (statut vital) et en particulier celui de la mère. L’impact du niveau d’éducation des parents est indirect (agissant sur l’environnement socio-économique, le statut marital et la migration des descendants) et est beaucoup plus faible que celui généralement observé dans des économies plus développées. Les disparités à long terme de l’état de santé liées à la religion, à la langue pratiquée et plus encore à la région d’habitation suggèrent que les variables d’appartenance communautaire sont prépondérantes pour analyser la question de l’équité en santé dans un pays en développement comme l’Indonésie.
    Keywords: Equality of opportunity; health, Indonesia, stochastic dominance, continuous health index, Egalité des chances ; santé ; Indonésie ; dominance stochastique ; indicateur continu de santé
    JEL: D63 I14 O15
    Date: 2014–05
  3. By: Felipe Kast (Centro de Estudios Horizontal); Dina Pomeranz (Harvard Business School, Entrepreneurial Management Unit)
    Abstract: Poverty is often characterized not only by low and unstable income, but also by heavy debt burdens. We find that reducing barriers to saving through access to free savings accounts decreases participants' short-term debt by about 20%. In addition, participants who experience an economic shock have less need to reduce consumption, and subjective well-being improves significantly. Precautionary savings and credit therefore act as substitutes in providing self-insurance, and participants prefer borrowing less when a free formal savings account is available. Take-up patterns suggest that requests by others for participants to share their resources may be a key obstacle to saving.
    JEL: D14 D91 G22 O16
    Date: 2013–07
  4. By: Rosangela Bando; Paul Gertler; Sebastián Galiani
    Abstract: The creation of non-contributory pension schemes is becoming increasingly common as countries struggle to reduce poverty. Drawing on data from Mexico's Adultos Mayores Program (Older Adults Program) --a cash transfer scheme aimed at rural adults over 70 years of age-- we evaluate the effects of this program on the well-being of the beneficiary population. Exploiting a quasi-experimental design whereby the program relies on exogenous geographical and age cutoffs to identify its target group, we find that the mental health of elderly adults in the program is significantly improved, as their score on the Geriatric Depression Scale decreases by 12%. We also find that the proportion of treated individuals doing paid work is reduced by 20%, with most of these people switching from their former activities to work in family businesses; treated households show higher levels of consumption expenditures (on average, an increase of 23%). Very importantly, we also rule out significant anticipation effects that might have been associated with the program transfers. Thus, overall, we find that non-contributory pension schemes target to the poor in developing countries can improve the well-being of poor older adults without having any indirect impact (through potential anticipation effects) on the earnings or savings of future program participants.
    Keywords: Poverty, Pension funds, Social Security, Income, Consumption & Saving, mental health, non-contributory pensions, poverty, mental health, well-being
    Date: 2014–06
  5. By: Chris De Neubourg; Marlous de Milliano; Ilze Plavgo; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: Identifying, locating and profiling the poor and deprived individuals in a society are the most basic imperatives for good social policy design. Understanding why people are, and remain, poor is the next analytical step. Multidimensional poverty and deprivation estimates are important new tools in this undertaking. This paper reviews the insights of various contributions from research into multidimensional poverty and deprivation and combines them into an internally consistent framework. The framework adds an important element by emphasising that people may experience various types and forms of poverty and deprivation simultaneously. The experience of poverty is often multifaceted and deprivations are interrelated in many cases. This highlights the necessity to clearly separate the different concepts of poverty and to study their overlap.
    Keywords: child poverty; child well-being; poverty; poverty reduction;
    JEL: I31 I32 J13
    Date: 2014

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