nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒01‒09
six papers chosen by

  1. Institutions, Civil Society, Trust and Quality of Life: A Social Capital- And Social Identity-Based Approach. Evidence from the Russian Federation By Guido Sechi; Alexander Tatarko; Jurgis Skilters
  2. Harmonization of national indicators for sustainable development of the administrative-territorial units with the requirements of the international community By Petr Burak; Tatiana Zvorykina
  3. Adaptation to Poverty in Long-Run Panel Data By Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D'Ambrosio; Simone Ghislandi
  4. Internet use, welfare and well-being : Evidence from Africa By James, M.J.
  5. Affective States and the Notion of Happiness: A Preliminary Analysis By Welsch Heinz; Jan Kühling
  6. Multi-Dimensional Wellbeing Assessment: A General Method for Index Construction with an Application to Multivariate Deprivation By Gordon Anderson; Teng Wah Leo; Paul Anand

  1. By: Guido Sechi; Alexander Tatarko; Jurgis Skilters
    Abstract: Many scholars, since the early 2000s, advocate for the integration of institutionalist and communitarian views of social capital generation in order to explain civil society dynamics, in particular in countries ? such as former communist states - characterized by transitional processes, with a relevant impact on the structure of societies, and by peculiar features of social networking. According to such a view, the civil society is the resultant of a combination of factors related to the social structure of the social community and the institutional environment, and the ways in which such levels interact. This view is, in a broader sense, an attempt at investigating in a more effective way the way in which social assets in society are generated, and their relation with socio-economic and sustainable development. However, attempted empirical analysis on the basis of such an approach have been mainly carried out at macro level, this way overlooking, to a large extent, the individual determinants of social capital and civic engagement, and the interplay of perceptions of community and institutions and social attitudes. The present paper is an attempt at conciliating the institutionalist and communitarian frameworks through a micro level-focused model, able to investigate the linkage between institutional climate and civic engagement and trust with the support of social psychology theories (in particular, social identity theory). In detail, the proposed approach emphasizes the linkages existing between perceptions of institutional behaviour and civil society empowerment on the one hand, and individual engagement and trust in the society and civil identity on the other; it also focuses on the way in which perceptions and attitudes are related to quality of life (measured in terms of well-being and job-related satisfaction). The analysis is based on over 2000 observations from two macrodistricts of the Russian Federation (Central and North Caucasus okrugs) and over 1000 from the Republic of Latvia. The proposed model investigates the possible causal chain existing between perceptions of civil society empowerment, trust towards institutions, civic engagement, trust and tolerance in the society, and quality of life perception, through a structural equation modelling-based quantitative approach for ordinal variables. Socio-demographic and socio-cultural features (e.g. ethno-religious self-identification, level of education, political affiliation, profession) are accounted for as control variables.
    JEL: Z10 B52 D83 C01
    Date: 2014–11
  2. By: Petr Burak; Tatiana Zvorykina
    Abstract: Russia's participation in global economic processes and joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) are aiming at harmonization of the quality of life indicators of the administrative-territorial units' population with the requirements of the international community. The need in the theoretical justification for the methods on establishing and evaluating of the quality of life indicators is recognized by all researchers of the territories sustainable development process. Currently there is no universally accepted integral index, both in Russia and abroad, which could be used to calculate the development of any economic system based on the sustainable development. At the initiative of the World Bank the task on scientific substantiation of the indicators for sustainable development of territories was entrusted to the Canadian specialists in the field of regional development. The above work has been completed and logically followed by the creation of a draft international standard 'Sustainable development of society - indicators on municipal services and quality of life' by the ISO/TC 268. The standard contains a set of various indicators allowing to establish the sustainable development indicators that can be presented in a clear and fairly simple way to a wide range of stakeholders providing information on the quality of accommodation at the relevant territory. Such information can serve as an objective measure on the competitiveness level of an administrative-territorial unit and a criterion for choosing it as an investment object. To assess the activities efficiency of executive and local self-governing authorities the President of the Russian Federation has issued decrees of August 21, 2012 ¹ 1199 and of October 14, 2012 ¹ 1384 on the relevant evaluation to be carried out. Statistic data prepared in accordance with the above decrees reflects absolute and relative indicators of socio-economic development and their dynamics in the national economy. However, the results of the above assessment cannot give a direct answer regarding the competitiveness of the administrative - territorial units and the quality of life. Given that Russia is a member of the WTO and carries out harmonization of its activities with those of the international community, there was a need in creation of a national technical committee on standardization in the field of sustainable development of the administrative-territorial formations. Such committee ? TC 115 "Sustainable development of administrative-territorial units' was created by Rosstandart on the initiative of the State Centre 'Test ? St. Petersburg' with the support of the regional authorities, scientific and public organizations.
    Keywords: indicators; administrative-territorial unit; sustainable development; competitiveness; quality of life;
    JEL: R1
    Date: 2014–11
  3. By: Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D'Ambrosio; Simone Ghislandi
    Abstract: We consider the link between poverty and subjective well-being, and focus in particular on potential adaptation to poverty. We use panel data on almost 54,000 individuals living in Germany from 1985 to 2012 to show first that life satisfaction falls with both the incidence and intensity of contemporaneous poverty. We then reveal that there is little evidence of adaptation within a poverty spell: poverty starts bad and stays bad in terms of subjective well-being. We cannot identify any cause of poverty entry which explains the overall lack of poverty adaptation.
    Keywords: Income, Poverty, Subjective well-being, Adaptation, SOEP
    JEL: I31 D60
    Date: 2014–11
  4. By: James, M.J. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Traditional consumer theory assumes that welfare is derived at the point where goods are purchased. More recent theories however argue that what matters is dependent on what happens after goods are purchased. Such information requires surveys that are specifically designed for the purpose. Accordingly, Internet use data are few and far between in developing countries. Recently, however, such data have become available for II African countries and my intention in this article is to use them to assess welfare more realistically across the countries in question. Among the questions asked are do the patterns of use favor one set of countries over others or are the observations more random in character? Which use mechanisms are most important across the sample and why? How do these results compare with those of a developed country such as the United States?
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Welsch Heinz (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics); Jan Kühling (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Large-scale social surveys typically elicit levels of happiness and/or life satisfaction. This paper studies how such reports of happiness and life satisfaction are related to measures of positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA). Major findings are the following: (1) PA and NA levels jointly predict happiness better than they predict life satisfaction. (2) PA levels predict happiness better than do NA levels. (3) NA levels predict life satisfaction better than do PA levels. (4) The PA items that predict happiness include those that predict life satisfaction (but not vice versa). (5) The NA items that predict happiness are distinct from those that predict life satisfaction. The study contributes to the literature by characterizing reported happiness and life satisfaction in terms of the specific positive and negative affects involved, thus clarifying their respective affective state content. Finding (4) is consistent with the mediator model of affective and cognitive well-being, according to which people in part directly rely on the affective component to judge life satisfaction. Our results are robust to several methodological strategies, but preliminary with regard to the small sample size (N = 144).
    Keywords: happiness; life satisfaction; positive affect; negative affect; social welfare
    Date: 2014–11
  6. By: Gordon Anderson; Teng Wah Leo; Paul Anand
    Abstract: This paper explores some difficulties encountered in multidimensional measures of wellbeing. In particular, it highlights the need for such indices to (i) incorporate information on individual preferences, (ii) be robust with respect to estimation assumptions given the 'curse of dimensionality' problem, and (iii) reflect complementarities and substitutabilities between dimensions. The paper proposes a procedure that enhances the Alkire and Foster (2011) Multidimensional Deprivation Index (AFMDI), drawing on recent work in Anderson et al. (2011), which addresses these difficulties. The approach provides the requisite flexibility in the representation of wellbeing component deprivations, whilst admitting the possibility of sub-component substitutability/complementarity in the index, and retains the ability to measure the impact of improvements/worsenings of sub-components within each category. It then provides an application to the measurement and valuation of opportunity in different domains using a unique data set for working age adults in the U.S.. Empirical findings suggest that freedoms are substitutable, that their values depend on an individual's needs, and that complementarities if they exist are weak. The paper then concludes that such indices are feasible to implement, and holds promise in economic applications ranging from measurement of progress in wellbeing, to the multidimensional assessment of poverty.
    Keywords: Multidimensional Wellbeing Measurement
    JEL: I31 I32
    Date: 2014–11–18

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