nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒08‒25
six papers chosen by

  1. Human Assets Index Retrospective series: 2013 update By Michaël GOUJON; Mathilde CLOSSET; Sosso FEINDOUNO
  2. Long-Term Neighborhood Effects on Low-Income Families: Evidence from Moving to Opportunity By Ludwig, Jens; Duncan, Greg J; Gennetian, Lisa A; Katz, Lawrence F.; Kessler, Ronald; Kling, Jeffrey R; Sanbonmatsu, Lisa
  3. “The Gustibus Errari (pot)Est”: Utility Misprediction, Preferences for Well-being and Life Satisfaction By Leonardo Becchetti; Pierluigi Conzo
  4. Happy moves? Assessing the impact of subjective well-being on the emigration decision By Artjoms Ivlevs
  5. The magic of storytelling: How curiosity and aesthetic preferences work By Bianchi, Marina
  6. Direct and indirect effects of weather experiences on life satisfaction: Which role for climate change expectations? By Osberghaus, Daniel; Kühling, Jan

  1. By: Michaël GOUJON (Université d'Auvergne); Mathilde CLOSSET (FERDI); Sosso FEINDOUNO (Ferdi)
    Abstract: Human capital, a broad concept including education and health, plays a central role in economic development and human well-being.  As a consequence, low human capital became one of the three criteria used by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (UN-CDP) for identifying Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Since 1991, the UN-CDP has used a composite index to measure human capital at the country level. In 2003 this index was reshaped and was renamed the Human Assets Index (HAI) (see UN-CDP webpage on LDCs, and Guillaumont, 2009).
    JEL: I31 I32
    Date: 2014–07
  2. By: Ludwig, Jens; Duncan, Greg J; Gennetian, Lisa A; Katz, Lawrence F.; Kessler, Ronald; Kling, Jeffrey R; Sanbonmatsu, Lisa
    Abstract: We examine long-term neighborhood effects on low-income families using data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized housing-mobility experiment. This experiment offered to some public-housing families but not to others the chance to move to less-disadvantaged neighborhoods. We show that ten to 15 years after baseline, MTO: (i) improves adult physical and mental health; (ii) has no detectable effect on economic outcomes or youth schooling or physical health; and (iii) has mixed results by gender on other youth outcomes, with girls doing better on some measures and boys doing worse. Despite the somewhat mixed pattern of impacts on traditional behavioral outcomes, MTO moves substantially improve adult subjective well-being.
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Leonardo Becchetti (DEDI and CEIS, Università di Roma "Tor Vergata"); Pierluigi Conzo (Dept. of Economics and Statistics, University of Turin)
    Abstract: The life satisfaction literature generally focuses on how life events affect subjective well-being. Through a contingent valuation survey we test whether well-being preferences have significant impact on life satisfaction. A sample of respondents is asked to simulate a policymaker decision consisting in allocating scarce financial resources among 11 well-being domains. Consistently with the utility misprediction hypothesis, we find that the willingness to invest more in the economic well-being domain is negatively correlated with life satisfaction. Our findings are shown to be robust when we account for unobservables related to economic fragility and non-random sample selection. Reverse causality and omitted variable bias are controlled for with instrumental variables and a sensitivity analysis on departures from exogeneity assumptions. Subsample estimates document that the less educated are more affected by the problem.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, well-being preferences, utility misprediction, subjective well-being
    JEL: A13 D64 H50 I31
    Date: 2014–08–08
  4. By: Artjoms Ivlevs (University of the West of England, Bristol)
    Abstract: Recent literature suggests that higher levels of subjective well-being (happiness and life satisfaction) lead to greater productivity, better physical health and enhanced social skills. The governments of migrant-receiving countries should, therefore, be interested in attracting happy migrants, as this can reduce the burden on the welfare state and facilitate migrants’ integration into the host society. To determine how people select into migration on the basis of subjective well-being, we study causal effects of life satisfaction on emigration intentions in 29 post-socialist countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Instrumental variable analysis suggests that higher levels of life satisfaction have a positive effect on the probability of reporting intentions to migrate, i.e. prospective migrants are positively selected on subjective well-being.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being, life satisfaction, emigration, transition economies
    JEL: F22 O15 P2
    Date: 2014–01–02
  5. By: Bianchi, Marina
    Abstract: Why do we love stories? That this is not an idle question is shown by the fact that we spend an enormous amount of time in our lives following stories: telling and listening to them; reading them; watching them on television or in films or on stage. Despite their recurrent similarity and even predictability, we continue to enjoy them. The paper brings to bear on this question two different strands of current literature in experimental psychology: the literature on aesthetic preferences, and the literature on curiosity and interest. The paper discusses how, in the case of storytelling in particular, though also of creative activities in general, there are two types of curiosity at work: explorative curiosity - associated with investigating new ideas for the simple joy of it and regardless of source - and specific curiosity, corresponding to focused exploration and aimed at solving problems for which the accuracy and relevance of information is of importance. In both cases curiosity is felt as an intensely pleasant experience, which is affected not only by external, but also by the internal stimuli of novelty and challenge. But how does interest/curiosity solidify into preferences that have stability enough to guarantee guidance yet sufficient flexibility to allow for change? The answer explored here highlights the distinction between comfort goods and activities and creative goods and activities. The latter, which allow for complexity, variety and multiplicity of dimensions have a transformative power that allows also for sustained stimulation and interest. The broader aim is to analyze the behavior of individual preferences in consumption activity, not only of art, the usual focus in discussion of aesthetic preferences, but also of all those goods and activities that can be called creative. --
    JEL: D01 D11
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Osberghaus, Daniel; Kühling, Jan
    Abstract: This paper deals with the effect of (i) damage experience from extreme weather events and (ii) expectations concerning future climate change on subjective wellbeing (SWB). We use data of a large representative survey amongst German households. The effect of experienced weather events on SWB of the heads of the households is only significant for heat waves; not for storms, heavy rain, and floods. Concern about future climate change on the household level has a substantial negative impact on current SWB. Moreover, we divide the impact of experience into direct effects of damage and indirect effects, which affect current SWB via the channel of expectations regarding future climate change. Both direct and indirect effects of weather experiences are quantified. It becomes apparent that the indirect effect is significant but small compared to the direct effect. --
    Keywords: climate change,subjective well-being,extreme weather events,household survey
    JEL: Q54 Q51 D03
    Date: 2014

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