nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒10‒03
six papers chosen by

  1. Genuine savings and future well-being in Germany, 1850-2000 By Blum, Matthias; McLaughlin, Eoin; Hanley, Nick
  2. "Can Child-care Subsidies Reduce Poverty? Assessing the Korean Experience Using the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty" By Ajit Zacharias; Thomas Masterson; Kijong Kim
  3. Survey design and the determinants of subjective wellbeing: an experimental analysis By Holford, Angus; Pudney, Stephen
  4. Living standards in a modernizing world: A long-run perspective on material well-being and human development By Jong, Herman de
  5. The impact of spousal bereavement on self-assessed health status: evidence from the Taiwanese elderly population By Fu-Min Tseng; Dennis Petrie; Roberto Leon-Gonzalez
  6. The Multidimensional Nature of Social Capital: An Empirical Investigation for Older People in Europe By Brenda Gannon; Jennifer Roberts

  1. By: Blum, Matthias; McLaughlin, Eoin; Hanley, Nick
    Abstract: Genuine Savings (GS), also known as ‘net adjusted savings’, is a composite indicator of the sustainability of economic development. Genuine Savings reflects year-on-year changes in the total wealth or capital of a country, including net investment in produced capita, investment in human capital, depletion of natural resources, and damage caused by pollution. A negative Genuine Savings rate suggests that the stock of national wealth is declining and that future utility must be less than current utility, indicating that economic development is non-sustainable (Hamilton and Clemens, 1999). We make use of data over a 150 year period to examine the relationship between Genuine Savings and a number of indicators of well-being over time, and compare the relative changes in human, produced, and components of natural capital over the period. Overall, we find that the magnitude of genuine savings is positively related to changes in future consumption, with some evidence of a cointegrating relationship. However, the relationships between genuine savings and infant mortality or average heights are less clear.
    Keywords: Sustainability, economic development, Net adjusted savings, Genuine Savings, well-being,
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Ajit Zacharias; Thomas Masterson; Kijong Kim
    Abstract: In partnership with the Korea Employment Information Service, Senior Scholar Ajit Zacharias and Research Scholars Thomas Masterson and Kijong Kim investigate the complex issues of gender, changing labor market conditions, and the public provisioning of child care in Korea using the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP), an alternative measure that factors in both time and income deficits in the assessment of poverty. Since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, lifetime employment and single-breadwinner households have given way to increased job insecurity, flexible work arrangements, and rapid growth in dual-earner households in Korea. Add to these factors rising labor force participation by women but little change in the highly unequal division of household production, and many women effectively face a double shift each day: paid employment followed by a second shift of household production. Recognizing the implications of the heavy burden of care work for women's well-being and employment, Korea introduced public child-care provisioning, via a voucher system for low-income families, in 1992 (the program became universal in 2013). This study analyzes the impact of the voucher program on reducing time and income poverty, and reassesses the overall level of poverty in Korea. While it reveals a much higher level of poverty than official estimates indicate--7.9 percent versus 2.6 percent--due to time deficits, the outsourcing of child-care services reduced the LIMTIP rate from 7.9 percent to 7.5 percent and the number of "hidden poor" individuals from two million to 1.8 million. While these results show that the problem of time poverty in Korea extends beyond child-care needs, the impact of public provisioning through the voucher program clearly has had a positive impact on families with children. The main findings and policy recommendations resulting from this study are presented in detail in the research project report The Measurement of Time and Income Poverty in Korea: The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty.
    Date: 2014–08
  3. By: Holford, Angus; Pudney, Stephen
    Abstract: We analyse the results of experiments on questionnaire design and interview mode in the first four waves (2008-11) of the UK Understanding Society Innovation Panel survey. The randomised experiments relate to job, health, income, leisure and overall life-satisfaction questions and vary the labeling of response scales, mode of interviewing, and location of questions within the interview. We find significant evidence of an influence of interview mode and question design on the distribution of reported satisfaction measures, particularly for women. Results from the sort of conditional modeling used to address real research questions appear less vulnerable to design influences.  
    Date: 2014–07–23
  4. By: Jong, Herman de (Groningen University)
    Abstract: Since the spread of industrialization, which began in England in the second half of the eighteenth century, many countries took off on a development path leading to modern economic growth. The process of modernization resulted in a sixteen-fold increase in the standard of living of the average world citizen. Productivity growth and structural change, however, was characterized by uneven development, within and across nations. This paper discusses the various ways in which welfare growth is measured and how the different aspects of quality of life such as inequality, health and leisure have developed in the long run. The paper closes with a discussion of an historical index of human development across world regions since 1870. It conjectures that social indicators are becoming more dependent again on income growth, in contrast to the experience of the first half of the twentieth century.
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Fu-Min Tseng (Queen Margaret University Edinburgh); Dennis Petrie (University of Melbourne); Roberto Leon-Gonzalez (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)
    Abstract: Bereavement is a grieved and inevitable event in our life. For an aging society, the incidence of spousal bereavement and parental bereavement is higher than the other kinds of bereavement events. This study employs the difference-in-differences (DiD) strategy and the Taiwanese panel Survey of Health and Living Status of the Elderly (SHLSE) to evaluate the impact of losing a spouse on well-being measured by self-assessed health status, depression, and life satisfaction. The results show that spousal bereavement causes substantial depression and loss in life satisfaction. The spousal bereavement impact increases depression by 1.46 CES-D points and reduces life satisfaction by 0.71 points. The decay effect of time is not observed in this study. We also examine the demographic differences of the spousal bereavement impact and find that the gap in life satisfaction between the bereaved who received more than 9 years education and the bereaved who received 9 years or less is 1.43 points, which implies that spousal bereavement causes less impact on more educated people in terms of life satisfaction. The increase in depression for the bereaved in a larger household is smaller than that for those in a small household by 2.75 CES-D points but it is weakly significant. The self-reported health outcomes are the intermediate outcomes between spousal bereavement and societal costs such as healthcare utilisation and death. The association between self-reported health status and mortality and health utilization has been well documented by literature. Thus, our results also provide the policy insight that giving proper interventions on the onset of bereavement may cause less societal costs afterwards.
    Date: 2014–09
  6. By: Brenda Gannon (Manchester Centre for Health Economics, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester); Jennifer Roberts (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: Social capital is a rapidly expanding research theme within economics and has become a popular concept with policy makers in both developed and developing countries. Despite this growth in popularity, social capital remains a controversial concept among economists. We argue that this is largely due to a fundamental mismatch between the theoretical coverage and the vast majority of empirical work. Utilising data from a large cross-Europe survey of older people we use principal components analysis to demonstrate that social capital has multiple dimensions, and then explore the extent to which these latent dimensions coincide with the theoretical constructs of social capital. We use the association between social capital and a number of measures of health and well-being to demonstrate the importance of taking account of the multiple dimensions of social capital in empirical work. As well as showing that all the underlying constructs of social capital are significantly associated with health and well-being, our results also reveal that while in general this association is positive, close bonding in the form of household ties is inversely related to health and well-being; this contradicts the implicit assumption, often made in the literature that, in relation to social capital, more is always better.
    Keywords: social capital; health; older people; principal components analysis
    JEL: Z13 I12 J14
    Date: 2014–09

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