nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒11‒17
nine papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Incorporating Qualitative Indicators of Well - Being into Quantitative Economic Research By Gawlik, Remigiusz; Gołębiowski, Kamil
  2. The Benefits, Challenges and Insights of a Dynamic Panel assessment of Life Satisfaction By Piper, Alan T.
  3. Estimating sign-dependent societal preferences for quality of life By Attema, Arthur; Brouwer, Werner; l'Haridon, Olivier; Pinto, Jose Luis
  4. Are fruit and vegetables good for our mental and physical health? Panel data evidence from Australia By Mujcic, Redzo
  5. Do people care for a sustainable future? Evidence from happiness data. By Bartolini, Stefano; Sarracino, Francesco; Theis, Laurent
  6. Child Poverty and the Great Recession in the United States By Marianne Bitler; Hilary Hoynes; Elira Kuka; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  7. Intra-urban disparities in the quality of life in the city of Porto: a spatial analysis contribution By Luis Delfim Santos; Isabel Martins
  8. Individual Experience of Positive and Negative Growth is Asymmetric: Evidence from Subjective Well-being Data By Femke De Keulenaer; Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Georgios Kavetsos; Michael I. Norton; Bert Van Landeghem; George W. Ward
  9. Interdependent Happiness:Cultural Happiness under the East Asian Cultural Mandate By Hitokoto, Hidefumi

  1. By: Gawlik, Remigiusz; Gołębiowski, Kamil
    Abstract: The paper discusses common approaches to quality of life and human well – being issues. It provides a literature overview of most recent concepts in this field. The idea of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index has been opposed to the most popular measure of human life quality – the Gross Domestic Product. Moreover, it aims at attiring the attention of economists to the need for enlarging their quantitative research instrumentarium by qualitative indicators. Finally, the authors propose their own index, that incorporates both qualitative and quantitative drivers of well – being into one aggregated measure.
    Keywords: Human Life Quality, Determinants of Well – Being, Qualitative & Quantitative Research
    JEL: C45 I31
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Piper, Alan T.
    Abstract: This study discusses and employs dynamic panel data to investigate life satisfaction. A key result is that approximately 90% of the impact of any commonly measured variable on well-being is contemporaneous. This reflects the finding that lagged life satisfaction has a small, positive and significant effect on current life satisfaction. A related key benefit of dynamic panel models include the ability to determine short and long run values of coefficients. Additionally such models make it possible for researchers to choose which explanatory variables are potentially endogenous or exogenous. The challenges of such an analysis are also detailed, which are linked to its complexity particularly when compared with the more standard fixed effects models.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Dynamic Panel Analysis, GMM, Happiness, Subjective Well-Being
    JEL: C23 I31
    Date: 2014–10
  3. By: Attema, Arthur; Brouwer, Werner; l'Haridon, Olivier; Pinto, Jose Luis
    Abstract: This paper is the first to apply prospect theory to societal health-related decision making. In particular, we allow for utility curvature, equity weighting, sign-dependence, and loss aversion in choices concerning quality of life of other people. We find substantial inequity aversion, both for gains and losses, which can be attributed to both diminishing marginal utility and differential weighting of better-off and worse-off. There are also clear framing effects, which violate expected utility. Moreover, we observe loss aversion, indicating that respondents give more weight to one group’s loss than another group’s gain of the same absolute magnitude. We also elicited some information on the effect of the age of the studied group. The amount of inequity aversion is to some extent influenced by the age of the considered patients. In particular, more inequity aversion is observed for gains of older people than gains of younger people.
    Keywords: equity weighting, loss aversion, prospect theory, QALYs
    JEL: D63 I10
    Date: 2014–09–02
  4. By: Mujcic, Redzo
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on human well-being. Using individual-level panel data from a representative sample of Australian households, I estimate the intake of fruit and vegetables to have positive and statistically significant impacts on a wide range of subjective well-being measures, including life satisfaction, self-assessed health, mental health, psychological distress, and vitality. The estimated relationships are mainly non-monotonic in nature. For most well-being measures, the optimal consumption bundle consists of 4-5 daily portions of fruit and 4-5 daily portions of vegetables. The intake of fruit is predicted to have a greater relative impact (than vegetables) on overall mental health and psychological distress scores. There are also gender differences in the estimated effects, with the intake of fruit and vegetables increasing average happiness and self-reported health scores of women significantly more than that of men. Overall, the results imply that less than one-quarter of adults in Australia consume the optimal daily amount and mix of fruit and vegetables. I discuss the relevance of the findings for government policy-makers and health professionals, in reference to existing public health promotions and guidelines.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, fruit and vegetables, diet, life satisfaction, mental health, public health policy, panel data, fixed effects.
    JEL: C33 D12 I12 I18 I31
    Date: 2014–10–08
  5. By: Bartolini, Stefano; Sarracino, Francesco; Theis, Laurent
    Abstract: While the various streams of environmentalism agree in claiming that the current patterns of economic activity are unsustainable for natural resources, they disagree in answering the following question: who is the responsible? Two different answers have been provided: the people or the socio-economic system. The first answer claims that people are inter-temporally greedy. Unsustainable economic patterns simply reflect the little importance that current generations attribute to the living standard of future generations. According to the second answer instead, people would prefer a more sustainable path of the economy but some failure of the socio-economic system prevent this outcome. We provide a test of the basic hypothesis on which these two views diverge: the degree of people’s concern for the conditions of life of future generations. We derive this information by estimating the relationship between people’s current subjective well-being and their expectations about the living standard of future generations, i.e. a future far enough to concern only future generations. According to the first view, people’s expectations about the future should have weak or null influence on people’s current well-being. On the contrary, the second view implies that such influence should be positive and remarkable. We use various international and national survey data to estimate a standard happiness regression augmented with people’s expectation about the future. Results suggest that current well-being is sharply and negatively associated to a negative expectation of the future. Where possible, we use 2SLS to account for possible endogeneity between the expectations about the future and current well-being. We find that expecting the worst (the best) for future generations has a very large negative (positive) impact on subjective well-being. This conclusion supports the view that current problems of sustainability are due to some failure of the socio-economic organization and not to the inter-temporal greed of human beings.
    Keywords: Sustainability, well-being, life satisfaction, Endogenous Growth, economic growth, discount rate, happiness, intergenerational equity, time preference.
    JEL: D62 D64 D91 I31
    Date: 2014–05–22
  6. By: Marianne Bitler; Hilary Hoynes; Elira Kuka; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: In the midst of the Great Recession, median real household income fell from $61,597 in 2007 to $57,025 in 2010 and $51,007 in 2012. Given that the effects of the Great Recession on unemployment were greater for less skilled workers the authors expect the effects of the Great Recession on household incomes to be larger in relative terms for individuals in the lower end of the income distribution. To explore this issue, in this paper, they comprehensively examine the effects of the Great Recession on child poverty.
    Keywords: child well-being; economic and social conditions; economic crisis; monetary policy;
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Luis Delfim Santos (University of Porto, Faculty of Economics and cef.up); Isabel Martins (University of Porto, CEGOT)
    Abstract: Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are an essential tool to integrate and manage large amounts of data (statistical and graphical) and to visualise the modelling efforts of the contemporary city. The further use of spatial analysis methods, in particular the exploratory analysis of data and spatial econometric models, is a promising way forward to analyse urban reality. In this analysis, we used a conceptual model and a geographical database developed for the city of Porto (Portugal) under a previous research on the topic of intra-urban disparities in the local quality of life. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the interdisciplinary debate on the relevance and use of this type of techniques, which enable us to describe spatial distributions, identifying patterns of spatial association, concentration areas or hot spots, in order to look into distributive features such as concentration, persistence and transitions that might provide interesting interpretations of complex territorial structures, such as the cities.
    Keywords: urban disparities; spatial analysis; quality of life
    JEL: R58 O21
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Femke De Keulenaer; Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Georgios Kavetsos; Michael I. Norton; Bert Van Landeghem; George W. Ward
    Abstract: Are individuals more sensitive to losses than gains in macroeconomic growth? Using subjective well-being measures across three large data sets, we observe an asymmetry in the way positive and negative economic growth are experienced, with losses having more than twice as much impact on individual happiness as compared to equivalent gains. We use Gallup World Poll data drawn from 151 countries, BRFSS data taken from a representative sample of 2.5 million US respondents, and Eurobarometer data that cover multiple business cycles over four decades. This research provides a new perspective on the welfare cost of business cycles with implications for growth policy and our understanding of the long-run relationship between GDP and subjective well-being.
    Keywords: Economic growth, business cycles, subjective well-being, loss aversion
    JEL: D03 O11 D69 I39
    Date: 2014–10
  9. By: Hitokoto, Hidefumi
    Abstract: In order to examine how socio-economic status might undermine cultural happiness shared among East Asian cultural members, the concept of interdependent happiness - harmony with others, quiescence, and ordinariness - was measured using representative adults from Thailand living in both rural and urban areas. This study draws on the previous studies which show culturally shared understandings of the self as being relational and contextual among East Asians. I argue here that among Thai people, who live by traditional Buddhist practices and are experiencing rapid economic development, those with a high socio-economic status - who earn more money, are educated for a longer period of time, and hold administrative positions - would prove to have lowered interdependent happiness. The results of the study support this claim and while objective socio-economic status showed negative correlation with the interdependent happiness, it showed a negligible correlation with general happiness. These results provide the basis for the argument that within East Asian countries increased objective socio-economic status might undermine East Asian cultural well-being.
    Keywords: interdependent happiness , cultural well-being , socio-economic status , Thailand culture
    Date: 2014–07–02

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