nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒02‒16
ten papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Does higher learning intensity affect student well-being? Evidence from the National Educational Panel Study By Quis, Johanna Sophie
  2. Zur subjektiven Lebenszufriedenheit der Deutschen im Kontext von tagesspezifischen und regionalen Einflussfaktoren By Aljoscha Richter
  3. Influence of age of child on differences in life satisfaction of males and females By Eiji Yamamura; Antonio R. Andrés
  4. The Greener, the Happier? - The Effects of Urban Green and Abandoned Areas on Residential Well-Being By Christian Krekel; Jens Kolbe; Henry Wüstemann
  5. What Makes People Happy: Well-Being And Sources Of Happiness In Russian Students By Dmitry Leontiev; Elena Rasskazova
  6. Why Are Cabinet Supporters Happy? By Yoshiro Tsutsui; Shoko Yamane; Fumio Ohtake
  7. Dissatisfied with Life or with Being Interviewed? Happiness and Motivation to Participate in a Survey By Chadi, Adrian
  8. Do Changes in Regulation Affect Temporary Agency Workers' Job Satisfaction? By Busk, Henna; Jahn, Elke J.; Singer, Christine
  9. Subjective Well-being and Social Evaluation in a Poor Country By John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
  10. Minorities in Rural China: Poorer but Inherently Happier? By John Knight; Li Shi; Yuan Chang

  1. By: Quis, Johanna Sophie
    Abstract: Starting in 2004/2005, the German state Baden-Wurttemberg reduced academic track duration from nine to eight years, leaving cumulative instruction time mostly unchanged. I use this change in schooling policy to identify the effect of schooling intensity on student well-being in life and school, perceived stress, mental health indicators and self-efficacy. Using rich data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), estimates show higher strains for girls in terms of stress and mental health than for boys. Unexpectedly, male subjective general well-being slightly increases with the reform. Student well-being in school and self-efficacy remain mostly unchanged.
    Keywords: self-efficacy,high school reform,subjective well-being,mental health,stress,NEPS
    JEL: I12 I28 I21 J24
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Aljoscha Richter
    Abstract: This contribution analyses the presumption that subjective assessments of cognitive life satisfaction provide hardly any valid information about the respondent’s real quality of life, since subjective assessments are subject to short term context-events and the affective state of the respondent in the moment of answering the questionnaire. Starting from this thesis, the author uses the 50.359 participants containing dataset GlücksTREND2013 to test whether (1) the weather conditions on the interview day, (2) results of elections preceding the interview, (3) the flooding 2013 in east Germany or (4) the outcome of the Champions League finale in 2013 show effects on the stated life satisfaction of the respondents. For this purpose, the GlücksTREND is merged with information on the aforementioned events and subsequently analyzed with quasi-experimental procedures. Except for the Champions League finale, none of the events showed a significant effect in the representative assessment of subjective life satisfaction in Germany. For the Champions League finale of the 25the May it is shown that participants from Bavaria stated a significantly increased lifesatiscation on Monday after the won finale. However, this effect had already disappeared by Tuesday. Alltogehter, results are speaking against the assumption that representative surveys of subjective life-satisfaction are in a significant way distorted by context events.
    Keywords: Subjective indicators, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, weather, Glückstrend, quasi-experiments, contextual effects
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Eiji Yamamura; Antonio R. Andrés
    Abstract: Using individual-level data for China, Korea, and Japan for 2006, this research examines how life satisfaction for married males and females in East Asian countries is influenced by the age of their children. Our results show (1) the life satisfaction of females who have a child younger than 12 years old is lower than that of females with no children. (2) The greater the marginal effect of child’s age on the life satisfaction, the more developed a nation’s economic condition.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, child, East Asian countries, ordered probit.
    JEL: D19 J13 J16
    Date: 2015–01–02
  4. By: Christian Krekel; Jens Kolbe; Henry Wüstemann
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of urban green and abandoned areas on residential well-being in major German cities, using panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) for the time period between 2000 and 2012 and cross-section data from the European Urban Atlas (EUA) for the year 2006. Using a Geographical Information System (GIS), it calculates the distance to urban green and abandoned areas, measured as the Euclidean distance in 100 metres between households and the border of the nearest urban green and abandoned area, respectively, and the coverage of urban green and abandoned areas, measured as the hectares covered by urban green and abandoned areas in a pre-defined buffer area of 1,000 metres around households, respectively, as the most important determinants of access to them. It shows that, for the 32 major German cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, access to urban green areas, such as parks, is significantly positively associated, whereas access to abandoned areas, such as brown fields, is significantly negatively associated with residential well-being, in particular with life satisfaction, as well as mental and physical health. The effects are strongest for residents who are older, accounting for up to a third of the size of the effect of being unemployed on life satisfaction. Using data from the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II) for the time period between 2009 and 2012, this paper also shows that (older) residents who report living closer to greens have been diagnosed significantly less often with certain medical conditions, including diabetes, sleep disorder, and joint disease.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, mental health, physical health, urban land use, green areas, greens, forests, waters, abandoned areas, SOEP, BASE-II, EUA, GIS, spatial analysis
    JEL: C23 Q51 Q57 R20
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Dmitry Leontiev (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Elena Rasskazova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper presents an investigation of sources of subjective happiness and their relationships to subjective well-being, taking into consideration cross-cultural specificity. 76 participants from two different Russian cities (Moscow and Petropavlovsk) were asked to write down things which make them happy and then to evaluate their actual attainability for them. The data were compared with Italian data (Galati et al., 2006) from 133 participants. The results reveal some cultural and regional differences in sources of happiness and a large degree of similarity. Paradoxically, regional differences in both the importance and attainability of separate sources of happiness within Russia are more pronounced than the differences between Russia and Italy. The mean indices of the attainability of happiness were similar for Italian and both Russian samples. We also found significant correlations between the mean individual attainability of happiness and well-being, which were much higher in Moscow than in Petropavlovsk. Some interesting correlations between sources of happiness and demographic and personality variables are revealed. A cluster analysis of the sources of happiness distinguished two large clusters, one including common ‘mundane’ sources, and another more individual sources. The last finding is in line with Leontiev’s two-level model of happiness. A cluster analysis of participants was in line with the analysis of sources and revealed two groups: the first one tends to choose happiness sources ‘passively’ and the second choosing individualized happiness sources
    Keywords: happiness sources; happiness attainability; well-being; cultural and individual differences.
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Yoshiro Tsutsui; Shoko Yamane; Fumio Ohtake
    Abstract: Using a monthly survey, this paper finds that supporters of the governing cabinet are significantly happier than non-supporters throughout our sample period. We investigate the reason and examine two hypotheses: 1) happy persons support the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and 2) supporters of any governing party tend to be happy. Oaxaca decomposition analysis reveals that the difference in happiness is not attributable to the difference of attributes and personalities, rejecting hypothesis 1). On the other hand, the happiness of cabinet and anti-cabinet supporters was not significantly different after an election in which the governing party was replaced, supporting hypothesis.
    Date: 2015–01
  7. By: Chadi, Adrian
    Abstract: Information on the number of interviewer contacts allows insights into how people's responses to questions on happiness are connected to the difficulty of reaching potential participants. Using the paradata of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), this paper continues such research by revealing a strong link between respondent motivation and reported happiness. Analyses of responses by future non-respondents substantiate this finding and shed light on a key question for empirical research on subjective well-being, which is whether the unhappy tend to avoid survey participation or whether the unwilling might respond more negatively when being asked about their satisfaction with life.
    JEL: C80 I30 Z00
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Busk, Henna (University of Jyväskylä); Jahn, Elke J. (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg); Singer, Christine (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact on temporary agency workers’ job satisfaction of a reform that considerably changed regulations covering the temporary help service sector in Germany. We isolate the causal effect of this reform by combining a difference-in-difference and matching approach and using rich survey data. We find that the change of the law substantially decreased agency workers’ job satisfaction while regular workers’ job satisfaction remained unchanged. Further analysis reveals that the negative effect on agency workers’ job satisfaction can be attributed to a decrease in wages and an increase in perceived job insecurity. These results are also robust to the use of different specifications and placebo tests.
    Keywords: temporary agency employment, deregulation, job satisfaction
    JEL: J28 J41 J88
    Date: 2015–01
  9. By: John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
    Abstract: The empirical literature on the economics of happiness has grown rapidly, and much has been learned about the determinants of subjective well-being.  Less attention has been paid to its normative implications.  Taking China as a case study, this paper first summarises empirical results on the determinants of subjective well-being and then considers whether that evidence can be used for social evaluation.  Different criteria for social evaluation give very different answers: on the one hand, real income per capita and the human development index have risen rapidly in recent years but, on the other hand, subjective well-being appears not to have risen at all.  Ultimately a value judement is required: arguments are presented for and against including subjective well-being, either alone or with other criteria, in the social welfare function.
    Keywords: Capabilities, China, Happiness, Human development, Social evaluation, Subjective well-being
    JEL: D03 D63 O15
    Date: 2014–01–21
  10. By: John Knight; Li Shi; Yuan Chang
    Abstract: This is a pioneering study of the determinants of the subjective well-being of ethnic minority people in rural China, using a specially designed sample survey relating to 2011.  The underlying hypothesis is that the lifestyle and attitudes of ethnic minorities contribute to their happiness.  Five related hypotheses are tested.  The minority group is equally happy as the Han group.  However, whereas minorities' much lower income reduces their happiness, this disadvantage is neutralised by their greater inherent capacity for happiness - much of it derived from personal relationships but not, it seems, from lesser materialism or concentrated living together.  There is evidence of considerable heterogeneity in happiness across various ethnic minorities.  Suggestions are made for further research, including analysis of the (positive) effects of lifestyle against the (negative) effects of perceived discrimination.  There is a deeper question with which the paper connects: if subjective well-being is accepted as a criterion for social evaluation, does economic development produce cultural change for the better or for the worse?
    Keywords: China, Culture, Ethic minorities, Happiness function, Lifestyle, Subjective well-being
    JEL: I31 J15 Z10
    Date: 2014–06–20

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