nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒09‒08
four papers chosen by

  1. An Exploration of the Determinants of the Subjective Well-being of Americans During the Great Recession By Aida Caldera Sánchez; Caroline Tassot
  2. Maternal Working Hours and the Well-Being of Adolescent Children By Mendolia, Silvia
  3. Relationship between Happiness and Smoking: A Bootstrap Panel Causality Test By Tsangyao Chang; Hsiao-Ping Chu; Frederick W. Deale; Rangan Gupta
  4. The Distance between Perception and Reality in the Social Domains of Life By Eduardo Lora

  1. By: Aida Caldera Sánchez; Caroline Tassot
    Abstract: This paper uses data from the American Life Panel to understand the determinants of well-being in the United States during the Great Recession. It investigates how various dimensions of subjective wellbeing reflected in the OECD Better Life Framework impact subjective well-being. The results show that income is an important determinant of subjective well-being. The unemployed and the disabled are significantly less satisfied with their lives than the working population, while the retired and the homemakers are more satisfied. The paper expands the existing evidence by showing that homeowners, registered voters and those with access to health insurance have higher levels of subjective well-being. Time spent walking or exercising is positively correlated with happiness, while working more than 50 hours per week or spending time on health-related activities is negatively correlated with subjective well-being, and higher levels of anxiety. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of United States ( Examen des déterminants du bien-être subjectif des Américains pendant la récession Le présent document utilise les données de l’enquête American Life Panel afin de comprendre les déterminants du bien-être aux États-Unis pendant la récession, l’objectif étant de déterminer comment les diverses dimensions du bien-être subjectif définies dans le cadre de mesure de l’initiative « Vivre mieux » de l’OCDE influent sur le sentiment subjectif de bien-être. Les résultats montrent que le revenu constitue un facteur important de bien-être subjectif. Les chômeurs et les personnes handicapées sont nettement moins satisfaits de leur vie que les actifs occupés, alors que les retraités et les femmes au foyer affichent des niveaux de satisfaction plus élevés. Les données existantes sont élargies et montrent que les propriétaires, les électeurs inscrits et les personnes pouvant bénéficier d’une assurance-maladie présentent des niveaux plus élevés de bien-être subjectif. Le temps consacré à la marche ou à l’exercice physique est associé à une hausse du niveau de bonheur, tandis que le fait de travailler plus de 50 heures par semaine ou de consacrer du temps à sa santé est associé à une baisse du niveau de bien-être subjectif et à des niveaux plus élevés d’anxiété. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE des États-Unis ( tm)
    Keywords: wage level and structure, quality of life, provision and effects of welfare programmes, job satisfaction, education, time allocation and labour supply, provision et effets des programmes sociaux, éducation, qualité de vie, satisfaction au travail, allocation du temps, niveau et structure des salaires, offre de travail
    JEL: I24 I30 I38 J22 J28 J31
    Date: 2014–08–26
  2. By: Mendolia, Silvia (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: This study investigates how maternal working hours are related to various outcomes in children aged 11 to 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: I10 J13 J22
    Date: 2014–08
  3. By: Tsangyao Chang (Department of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan); Hsiao-Ping Chu (Department of Business Administration, Ling-Tung University, Taichung, Taiwan); Frederick W. Deale (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria); Rangan Gupta (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)
    Abstract: This study applies the recently developed bootstrap panel causality test proposed by Kónya (2006) to investigate the causal link between happiness and smoking using per capita cigarette consumption and happiness index for 5 countries (i.e. Japan, France, Germany, the UK, and the US) over the period of 1961-2003. Empirical results show a feedback for both Japan and France and independence for the other 3 countries. These results indicate smoking make people happy. However, in both Japan and France people smoke less if they feel happy. To reduce the omitted variable bias, we also added per capita real GDP as a control variable in our study over the 1969-2003 period. When doing this the empirical results show a feedback for France, a one-way Granger causality running from happiness to cigarette consumption for both Japan and the UK, and independence for the other 2 countries, Germany and the US. These results indicate smoking make people happy in France. However, in Japan, France and the UK people smoke less if they feel happy.
    Keywords: Happiness, Smoke, Bootstrap Panel Causality Test
    JEL: C32 C33 I19
    Date: 2014–08
  4. By: Eduardo Lora
    Abstract: The distance between perception and reality with respect to the social domains of life is often striking. Using survey data collected on Latin American countries, this paper provides an overview of the main empirical findings on the gaps between perception and reality in four social domains-health, employment, the perception of security, and social ranking. The overview emphasizes the psychological biases that may explain the gaps. Biases associated with cultural values are very relevant with respect to health and job satisfaction. Cultural differences across countries are pronounced in perceptions of health, while cultural differences across socioeconomic groups are more apparent with respect to job satisfaction. Affect and availability heuristics are the dominant sources of bias in the case of perceptions of security. The formation of subjective social rankings appears to be less culturally dependent but more dependent on the socioeconomic development in the country. The gaps between objective and subjective indicators in the social domains of life are a rich source of data to help understand how perceptions are formed, identify important aspects of people's lives that do not appear in official indicators, inform public debate on social policy, and shed light on public attitudes on key social issues.
    JEL: I19 J28 Z13
    Date: 2013–08

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