nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒04‒25
nine papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. The Impact of Matching Mission Preferences on Well-being at Work By Robin Zoutenbier
  2. The Stature of the Self-employed and its Premium By Cornelius A. Rietveld; Jolanda Hessels; Peter van der Zwan
  3. Language Proficiency of Migrants: The Relation with Job Satisfaction and Skill Matching By Hans G. Bloemen
  4. The Importance of Being in Control of Business: Work Satisfaction of Employers, Own-account Workers and Employees By Jolanda Hessels; José María Millán; Concepción Román
  5. Financial Distress and Happiness of Employees in Times of Economic Crisis By Efstratia Arampatzi; Martijn J. Burger; Ruut Veenhoven
  6. Urbanization, Natural Amenities, and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Counties By Winters, John V.; Li, Yu
  7. The Half-Life of Happiness: Hedonic Adaptation in the Subjective Well-Being of Poor Slum Dwellers to a Large Improvement in Housing By Sebastian Galiani; Paul J. Gertler; Raimundo Undurraga
  8. Unpacking the determinants of life satisfaction: a survey experiment By Angelini, Viola; Bertoni, M; Corazzini, L.
  9. Education, Health and Subjective Wellbeing in Europe By Leonardo Becchetti; Pierluigi Conzo; Fabio Pisani

  1. By: Robin Zoutenbier (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: A recent literature in economics assumes that workers differ in their mission preferences. These studies predict a premium on the matching of mission preferences between a worker and employer. This paper uses data from the Dutch LISS panel to examine this prediction for government workers. Results show that government workers whose political preferences match those of the political parties in office are more satisfied with the type of work they do as compared to government workers whose political preferences do not match. A match of political preferences has no effect on the job satisfaction of workers outside the government sector.
    Keywords: job satisfaction, mission motivation, public sector, bureaucrats
    JEL: H1 J45 M5
    Date: 2014–03–17
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tin:wpaper:20140036&r=hap
  2. By: Cornelius A. Rietveld (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Jolanda Hessels (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Peter van der Zwan (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: This discussion paper resulted in a publication in 'Economics and Human Biology' (forthcoming).<P> 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-employed 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
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tin:wpaper:20140109&r=hap
  3. By: Hans G. Bloemen (VU University Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We empirically analyze the language proficiency of migrants in the Netherlands. Traditionally, the emphasis in studying language proficiency and economic outcomes has been on the relation between earnings and indicators for language proficiency, motivated by the human capital theory. Here we analyze whether there is a relation between proficiency of the destination language and job level. A lack of language skills may induce the migrant to work in jobs of a lower level leading to lower job satisfaction. We use subjective survey information about job satisfaction and the fit between the migrant's education and skill level and the job. We also use objective information on professional level. Our estimation strategy allows for unobservable correlations between language proficiency and labour market outcomes by employing a simultaneous two equations framework which also exploits the panel nature of our data, by allowing for time persistent random effects. We use a variety of different instrumental variables, some of which are related to linguistic distance, to shed light on the robustness of the results. For men, we find evidence for a positive relationship between indicators for language proficiency and satisfaction with work type and professional level. For women, no impact of language proficiency on the level of the job can be found. Rather, women with lower proficiency levels are not selected into employment in the first place.
    Keywords: Skills, Occupational choice, Economics of Immigrants, Panel data models
    JEL: J15 J24 C33
    Date: 2014–11–13
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tin:wpaper:20140148&r=hap
  4. By: Jolanda Hessels (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO), Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands); José María Millán (University of Huelva, Spain); Concepción Román (University of Huelva, Spain)
    Abstract: Self-employed workers can be own-account workers who control their own work or employers who not only are their own boss but also direct others (their employees). We expect both types of self-employed, i.e., own-account workers and employers, to enjoy more independence in determining their work content (type of work) and more flexibility in shaping their work context (e.g., working conditions) compared to paid employees and hence to be more satisfied with their work. Furthermore, we suspect that employers (who can delegate work to their employees and can help them to develop and grow) enjoy even higher levels of work satisfaction compared to both own-account workers (who are their own boss but do not give direction to others) and (non-supervisory) paid employees (who have to obey orders from others within organizational hierarchies). While prior studies typically broadly compare the work satisfaction of self-employed and paid employees, we distinguish employers from own-account workers within the group of self-employed using data from the ECHP for 14 European countries. Our findings indeed show that employers are significantly more satisfied with their work than both own-account workers and paid employees. Additionally, while employers as well as own-account workers enjoy greater procedural utility than (non-supervisory) paid employees stemming from the content and the context of their work, there also seems to be an additional work satisfaction premium for employers.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; self-employment; employers; own-account workers; work satisfaction
    JEL: J24 J28 L26 O52
    Date: 2015–04–14
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tin:wpaper:20150047&r=hap
  5. 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
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tin:wpaper:20140082&r=hap
  6. By: Winters, John V. (Oklahoma State University); Li, Yu (Oklahoma State University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of county-level urbanization and natural amenities on subjective well-being (SWB) in the U.S. SWB is measured using individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) which asks respondents to rate their overall life satisfaction. Using individual-level SWB data allows us to control for several important individual characteristics. The results suggest that urbanization lowers SWB, with relatively large negative effects for residents in dense counties and large metropolitan areas. Natural amenities also affect SWB, with warmer winters having a significant positive effect on self-reported life-satisfaction. Implications for researchers and policymakers are discussed.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, urbanization, population density, amenities, quality of life
    JEL: I00 Q00 R00
    Date: 2015–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8966&r=hap
  7. By: Sebastian Galiani; Paul J. Gertler; Raimundo Undurraga
    Abstract: A fundamental question in economics is whether happiness increases pari passu with improvements in material conditions or whether humans grow accustomed to better conditions over time. We rely on a large-scale experiment to examine what kind of impact the provision of housing to extremely poor populations in Latin America has on subjective measures of well-being over time. The objective is to determine whether poor populations exhibit hedonic adaptation in happiness derived from reducing the shortfall in the satisfaction of their basic needs. Our results are conclusive. We find that subjective perceptions of well-being improve substantially for recipients of better housing but that after, on average, eight months, 60% of that gain disappears.
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2015–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21098&r=hap
  8. By: Angelini, Viola; Bertoni, M; Corazzini, L. (Groningen University)
    Date: 2014
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:gro:rugsom:14014-eef&r=hap
  9. By: Leonardo Becchetti (DEDI & CEIS, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Pierluigi Conzo (Dept. of Economics and Statistics, University of Turin); Fabio Pisani (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: The productive and allocative theories predict that education has positive impact on health: the more educated adopt healthier life styles and use more efficiently health inputs and this explains why they live longer. We find partial support for these theories with an econometric analysis on a large sample of Europeans aged above 50 documenting a significant and positive correlation among education years, life styles, health outputs and functionalities. We however find confirmation for an anomaly already observed in the US, namely the more educated are more likely to contract cancer. Our results are robust when controlling for endogeneity and reverse causality in IV estimates with instrumental variables related to quarter of birth and neighbours’ cultural norms
    Keywords: health satisfaction, education, life satisfaction, public health costs
    JEL: I21 I12 I31
    Date: 2015–04–17
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:341&r=hap

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