nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒11‒12
nine papers chosen by

  1. Changes in Child Poverty in the OECD/EU during the Great Recession: An initial view By Luisa Natali; Sudhanshu Handa; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  2. Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan By Campante, Filipe; Yanagizawa-Drott, David
  3. Exploring the Late Impact of the Financial Crisis using Gallup World Poll Data By Luisa Natali; Goran Holmqvist; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  4. Financial Distress and Happiness of Employees in Times of Economic Crisis By Efstratia Arampatzi; Martijn J. Burger; Ruut Veenhoven
  5. Happiness in Thailand: The Effects of Family, Health and Job Satisfaction, and the Moderating Role of Gender By Senasu, Kalayanee; Singhapakdi, Anusorn
  6. Kualitas Hidup Menurut Tafsir Nusantara: Baldatun Thayyibatun wa Rabbun Ghafûr dalam Tafsir Marâh Labîd, Tafsir Al-Azhar, Tafsir An-Nûr, Tafsir Departemen Agama, dan Tafsir Al-Mishbâh By Andriansyah, Yuli
  7. Living standards and rural-urban height gap during the early stages of modern economic growth in Spain By José M. Martínez-Carrión; Pedro M. Pérez-Castroviejo; Javier Puche-Gil; Josep M. Ramon-Muñoz
  8. The Stature of the Self-employed and its Premium By Cornelius A. Rietveld; Jolanda Hessels; Peter van der Zwan
  9. Well-being and social development in the context of gender equality By Lapniewska, Zofi

  1. By: Luisa Natali; Sudhanshu Handa; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: Though not a measure of direct child well-being, the strong association between child development and household income makes income poverty a useful indicator of the trajectory of child well-being both in the short- and medium-term. During the period 2008-2012 child poverty rates increased in 23 of the 41 OECD countries for which we have comparable data; in total, approximately 6.6 million children became poor and 4 million left poverty for a net increase of 2.6 million. Five countries at the bottom of our Child Poverty League Table had child poverty increases that were over 10pp. However, due to their relative size and despite only modest increases in child poverty rates, Mexico and the United States are home to over half of the newly poor children during this period with 2 and 1.7 million respectively.
    Keywords: child poverty; economic crisis; financial policy; fiscal policy; united states;
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Campante, Filipe (Harvard University); Yanagizawa-Drott, David (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We study the economic effects of religious practices in the context of the observance of Ramadan fasting, one of the central tenets of Islam. To establish causality, we exploit variation in the length of the fasting period due to the rotating Islamic calendar. We report two key, quantitatively meaningful results: 1) longer Ramadan fasting has a negative effect on output growth in Muslim countries, and 2) it increases subjective well-being among Muslims. We then examine labor market outcomes, and find that these results cannot be primarily explained by a direct reduction in labor productivity due to fasting. Instead, the evidence indicates that Ramadan affects Muslims' relative preferences regarding work and religiosity, suggesting that the mechanism operates at least partly by changing beliefs and values that influence labor supply and occupational choices beyond the month of Ramadan itself. Together, our results indicate that religious practices can affect labor supply choices in ways that have negative implications for economic performance, but that nevertheless increase subjective well-being among followers.
    JEL: E20 J20 O40 O43 Z12
    Date: 2013–12
  3. By: Luisa Natali; Goran Holmqvist; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: This paper explores the use of Gallup World Poll Data to assess the impact of the Great Recession on various dimensions of well-being in 41 OECD and/or EU countries from 2007 up until 2013. It should be read as a complementary background paper to the UNICEF Report Card which explores trends in child well-being in EU/OECD countries since 2007/8. Overall the findings provide clear indications that the crisis has had an impact across a number of self-reported dimensions of well-being. Indeed, a strong correlation between the intensity of the recession and the worsening of people’s perceptions about their own life is recorded since 2007. Data also indicate that the impact has still not peaked in a number of countries where indicators were still deteriorating as late as 2013. A “League Table” is also presented where countries are ranked in terms of change between 2007 and 2013 for four selected Gallup World Poll indicators related material well-being, perceptions of how society treats its children, health and subjective well-being.
    Keywords: child well-being; economic crisis; indicators; surveys;
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Efstratia Arampatzi (EURAC b.v.); Martijn J. Burger (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Ruut Veenhoven (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
    Abstract: Using data for 28 European countries for the 2008-2012 period, we examine whether employed individuals are affected by the economic crisis. We provide robust evidence that unfavourable macroeconomic conditions are negatively associated with the life satisfaction of employees. In addition, we find that higher levels of regional unemployment and inflation are predominantly associated with lower levels of life satisfaction for employees who are in a bad financial situation or who expect that their future financial situation will be worse. By contrast, employed people who do well financially and who have good prospects are not affected by the crisis.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, financial distress, economic crisis, Europe
    JEL: I00 D60
    Date: 2014–07–04
  5. By: Senasu, Kalayanee; Singhapakdi, Anusorn
    Abstract: This research investigates the association between family, health, and job satisfaction, and happiness in Thailand. The data were collected by means of telephone survey questionnaires developed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The research data are from simple random sampling and stratified multi-stage sampling from master 2012-NIDA (National Institute of Development Administration) poll data proportioned to the population, age, and household income in each region of Thailand. This poll data had a total of 1,004 respondents but this research focuses on employed people and consists of a total of 799 respondents. All research hypotheses were tested by means of hierarchical regression analysis and analysis of variance was used to verify some interesting issues relating to demographic factors. The analysis results indicate that all three types of satisfaction (i.e., family, health, and job satisfaction) have positive effects on happiness (measured in present and future happiness) in Thailand. Although only family satisfaction has a positive effect on future happiness, all three types of satisfaction have positive effects on present happiness. Additionally, among all three model variables, family satisfaction plays the most important role in predicting present and future aspects of happiness. Further, our results indicate that gender is of little influence as a moderator. Our results not only validate research findings in other countries but also verify the importance of subjective appreciation of life and happiness for public policy makers.
    Keywords: Family satisfaction , Health satisfaction , Job satisfaction , Happiness , Thailand
    Date: 2014–04–01
  6. By: Andriansyah, Yuli
    Abstract: This article analyzed the phrase “baldatun thayyibatun wa rabbun ghafûrâ€, one of main keywords in Islamic quality of life research, with reference to the interpretations given by tafsir nusantara i.e. Marâh Labîd, Tafsir An Nur, Tafsir Al-Azhar, Al Qur’ân dan Tafsirnya, and Tafsir Al-Mishbâh. The phrase “baldatun thayyibatun wa rabbun ghafûr†was chosen because of its relation with the concept of civilized and sustainable society as UII research orientation, while the selection of tafsir nusantara was driven by the current tendency in research and implementation of local genius both in UII and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The method used in this article was comparative method (muqârin) aimed to compare the interpretations given by some interpreters on the phrase and then linked to the concept of quality of life that has been widely studied. The results showed that the quality of life, as tafsir nusantara noted, had several aspects such as nature and its resources; fulfillment of basic needs; support and the ability to manage irrigation facilities; advancement in transportation; security in many activities; freedom in economic activities; international trade; religious conditions; commitment to maintain public facilities ; closeness with family etc. A number of aspects of interpretation found in tafsir nusantara has some conformity with the conceptual framework prepared by the Quality of Life Research Unit, University of Toronto. Further research is needed to examine the concepts of quality of life for other terms mentioned in the Koran as the foundation of the development of this study in the future.
    Keywords: quality of life, baldatun thayyibatun wa rabbun ghafûr, tafsir nusantara
    JEL: I31 Z12
    Date: 2013–10
  7. By: José M. Martínez-Carrión; Pedro M. Pérez-Castroviejo; Javier Puche-Gil; Josep M. Ramon-Muñoz
    Abstract: This paper examines the urban-rural differences of the height during the early stages of modern economic growth and industrialization in Spain. Its aim is to explore the extent of the urban penalty, and the changes of biological welfare in the cities and villages, in the rural and urban areas. We use height data of military recruitment records between 1857 and 1936, that provide information on the health and net nutrition of cohorts 1837-1915. We note that previous studies reported higher penalty in rural areas than in cities, and that the height deteriorated in the most industrialized cities due to unhealthy environments, child labor and spread of infections. The new data shows that in some rural areas had better nutritional status that in urban areas with better care resources, so the rural-urban gap was more diverse than we thought, not only by environmental factors but institutions. Data suggests more research on height by social classes in the diverse Spanish geography.
    Keywords: Rural-Urban Gap, Height, Biological Well-being, Living Standard, Spanish industrialization
    JEL: N33 D63 I12 I31
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Cornelius A. Rietveld; Jolanda Hessels; Peter van der Zwan (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: Taller individuals typically have occupations with higher social status and higher earnings than shorter individuals. Further, entrepreneurship is associated with high social status in numerous countries; hence, entrepreneurs might be taller than wage workers. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (2002-2010), we find that a 1 cm increase in an individual’s height raises the probability of being self-employed (the most common proxy for entrepreneurship) versus paid employed by 0.16 percentage-points. Within self-employment the probability of being an employer is increased by 0.11 percentage-points as a result of a 1 cm increase in height whereas this increase is 0.05 percentage-points for an own-account worker. Furthermore, we confirm that a height premium in earnings exists for not only paid employees, as indicated by prior studies, but also for self-emp loyed individuals. An additional 1 cm in height is associated with a 0.44% increase in hourly earnings for paid employees, and a 0.87% increase for self-employed individuals. The predicted earnings differences between short and tall individuals are substantial. Short paid employees—first quartile of height—earn 15.5 Euros per hour whereas tall paid employees—third quartile of height—earn 16.5 Euros per hour; in self-employment the earnings are 12.8 and 14.4 Euros per hour, respectively. Another novel finding is that we establish the existence of a height premium for work and life satisfaction, but only for paid employees. Finally, our analysis reveals that 44% of the height premium in earnings is explained by differences in educational attainment whereas the height premium in work and life satisfaction is only marginally explained by education.
    Keywords: Self-employment, Stature, Height premium, Education, Life satisfaction
    JEL: J24 J31
    Date: 2014–08–19
  9. By: Lapniewska, Zofi
    Abstract: This paper concentrates on the three major fields listed in its title: the notion of well-being, the understanding of social development and efforts for gender equality. Due to the complexity and diversity of approaches, all of them are shown in the light of different theories, which to some extent I try to reflect in this paper. Additionally, to meet the goal of the "Gender equality and quality of life" project, that is construction of a new indicator, I summarise the existing indexes on well-being and gender and juxtapose them in tables. This provides readers with a clear picture of the focus areas and development trends of these measures, followed by the message they send. Critical reflection on the presented models and the final discussion might help in future work on quality of life and gender equality issues as well as their measurement and interpretations.
    JEL: I31 J16 B54 Z13
    Date: 2014–10–22

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.