nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2014‒11‒22
eight papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Are facets of homo economicus associated with higher earnings and happiness By Shoko Yamane; Hiroyasu Yoneda; Yoshiro Tsutsui
  2. Can early intervention policies improve wellbeing? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial By Michael Daly; Liam Delaney; Orla Doyle; Nick Fitzpatrick; Christine O'Farrelly
  3. Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries By Gonzalo Fanjul; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  4. Economic Growth Evens-Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys By Andrew E. Clark; Sarah Flèche; Claudia Senik
  5. Genuine Savings and Sustainability By Nick Hanley; Louis Dupuy; Eoin McLaughlin
  6. Is temporary employment a cause or consequence of poor mental health? By Chris Dawson; Michail Veliziotis; Gail Pacheco; Don Webber
  7. Trends in Child Well-being in EU Countries during the Great Recession: A cross-country comparative perspective By Yekaterina Chzhen; Bruno Martorano; Luisa Natali; Sudhanshu Handa; Goran Holmqvist; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  8. Zukunftsangst! Fear of (and hope for) the future and its impact on life satisfaction. By Piper, Alan T.

  1. By: Shoko Yamane (Faculty of Economics, Kinki University); Hiroyasu Yoneda (Graduate School and Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University); Yoshiro Tsutsui (Faculty of Economics, Konan University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the individual outcomes of irrational thinking, including paranormality and non-scientific thinking. These modes of thinking are identified by factor analysis from a 2008 survey. Income and happiness are used as measures of performance. Empirical results reveal that both paranormality and non-scientific thinking lower income. While non-scientific thinking lowers happiness, paranormality raises it. Extending the model, we find that higher ability results in higher income and happiness. Self-control only raises happiness. These results suggest that many elements of homo economicus, except paranormality and selfishness, raise economic performance and happiness.
    Keywords: irrational belief; happiness; paranormality; factor analysis; ability
    JEL: D03
    Date: 2014–10
  2. By: Michael Daly (Behavioural Science Centre, Stirling Management School, Stirling University); Liam Delaney (Behavioural Science Centre, Stirling Management School, Stirling University, UCD School of Economics and UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Orla Doyle (UCD School of Economics and UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Nick Fitzpatrick (UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Christine O'Farrelly (UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Many authors have proposed incorporating measures of well-being into evaluations of public policy. Yet few evaluations use experimental design or examine multiple aspects of well-being, thus the causal impact of public policies on well-being is largely unknown. In this paper we examine the effect of an intensive early intervention program on maternal well-being in a targeted disadvantaged community. Using a randomized controlled trial design we estimate and compare treatment effects on global well-being using measures of life satisfaction, experienced well-being using both the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) and a measure of mood yesterday, and also a standardized measure of parenting stress. The intervention has no significant impact on negative measures of well-being, such as experienced negative affect as measured by the DRM and global measures of well-being such as life satisfaction or a global measure of parenting stress. Significant treatment effects are observed on experienced measures of positive affect using the DRM, and a measure of mood yesterday. The DRM treatment effects are primarily concentrated during times spent without the target child which may reflect the increased effort and burden associated with additional parental investment. Our findings suggest that a maternal-focused intervention may produce meaningful improvements in experienced well-being. Incorporating measures of experienced affect may thus alter cost-benefit calculations for public policies.
    Keywords: Wellbeing, Randomised Controlled Trial, Early Intervention
    JEL: I00 I39
    Date: 2014–10–23
  3. By: Gonzalo Fanjul; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: As the data in this new edition of the Innocenti Report Card series show, in the past five years, rising numbers of children and their families have experienced difficulty in satisfying their most basic material and educational needs. Most importantly, the Great Recession is about to trap a generation of educated and capable youth in a limbo of unmet expectations and lasting vulnerability. League Tables, the flagship tool of the Innocenti Report Card series, rank the change, since the onset of the crisis, in the poverty levels of children and the impact of the recession on youth. The Report also explores the effects of the recession on youth seeking to enter or remain in the labour force in the middle of a recession.
    Keywords: child poverty; children; economic crisis; economic depression; underemployment; unemployment; youth;
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Andrew E. Clark; Sarah Flèche; Claudia Senik
    Abstract: In spite of the great U-turn that saw income inequality rise in Western countries in the 1980s, happiness inequality has fallen in countries that have experienced income growth (but not in those that did not). Modern growth has reduced the share of both the "very unhappy" and the "perfectly happy". Lower happiness inequality is found both between and within countries, and between and within individuals. Our cross-country regression results argue that the extension of various public goods helps to explain this greater happiness homogeneity. This new stylised fact arguably comes as a bonus to the Easterlin paradox, offering a somewhat brighter perspective for developing countries.
    Keywords: Happiness, inequality, economic growth, development, Easterlin paradox
    JEL: D31 D6 I3 O15
    Date: 2014–10
  5. By: Nick Hanley (School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews); Louis Dupuy (Université de Bordeaux); Eoin McLaughlin (School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews)
    Abstract: Genuine Savings has emerged as the leading economic indicator of sustainable economic development at the country level. It derives from the literatures on weak sustainability, wealth accounting and national income accounting. The paper is structured as follows: section 1 introduces the basic measure and the idea of weak sustainability. Section two provides an overview of the intellectual history of Genuine Savings (GS). This is followed by an outline of the basic theoretical structure underlying GS as well as extensions to this model. Section 4 provides an overview of empirical estimates of GS and section 5 looks at tests of the predictive power of GS. Section 6 concludes by assessing whether GS is in fact a sustainable and useful concept.
    Keywords: Sustainable development, Genuine Savings, ComprehensiveWealth, future wellbeing.
    JEL: E21 E22 Q00 Q01 Q20 Q30 Q50
    Date: 2014–11
  6. By: Chris Dawson (School of Management, University of Bath, UK); Michail Veliziotis (Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK); Gail Pacheco (Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology); Don Webber (Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
    Abstract: Mental health status often has a strong association with labour market outcomes. If people in temporary employment have poorer mental health than those in permanent employment then it is consistent with two mutually inclusive possibilities: temporary employment generates adverse mental health effects and/or individuals with poorer mental health select into temporary from permanent employment. We reveal that permanent workers with poor mental health appear to select into temporary employment thus signalling that prior cross sectional studies may overestimate the influence of employment type on mental health. We also reveal that this selection effect is significantly mitigated by job satisfaction.
    Keywords: Employment transitions; Psychological distress; Anxiety; Life satisfaction; Job dissatisfaction
    Date: 2014–10
  7. By: Yekaterina Chzhen; Bruno Martorano; Luisa Natali; Sudhanshu Handa; Goran Holmqvist; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: This paper reports on how children have fared during the period of the global economic crisis (Great Recession) in rich European countries. The authors provide a descriptive overview of the evolution in a series of child well-being indicators over time (2007/8-2012/3 ) in 32 countries (the EU-28 plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). The focus is on key child and adolescent outcome indicators that are expected to have been affected by the crisis and its related real-economy effects in the short and medium-term, including child monetary poverty and material deprivation, subjective well-being, and transition to adulthood (including education and employment). Countries’ performances are compared and ranked according to the change they experienced in these indicators over the period under analysis.
    Keywords: child well-being; economic crisis; european union; labour market; monetary policy;
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Piper, Alan T.
    Abstract: The thoughts that an individual has about the future contribute substantially to their life satisfaction in a positive or negative direction. This is a result found via five different methods, some of which control for personality and disposition and the potential endogeneity of thoughts and life satisfaction. The reduction in life satisfaction experienced by individuals who report being pessimistic is greater than that for well-known objective statuses like unemployment. Including individuals’ thoughts about the future substantially increases the explanatory power of standard life satisfaction models. Life satisfaction is made up of objective and subjective factors and methods exist to account for their potential endogeneity to enhance our understanding of well-being. This investigation is an example of such an analysis combining a subjective factor, thoughts about the future (treated as endogenous), with more standard objective factors to aid understanding regarding well-being.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Subjective Well-Being, GMM, Dynamics, Endogeneity, SOEP, ESS.
    JEL: C23 D84 I31
    Date: 2014–10

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