nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒05‒22
fourteen papers chosen by

  1. How Job Changes Affect People's Lives: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data By Adrian Chadi; Clemens Hetschko
  2. Estimating Benefits from Regional Amenities: Internal Migration and Life Satisfaction By Angela Faßhauer; Katrin Rehdanz
  3. Compulsory Military Service and Personality Development By Johannes Schult; Jörn R. Sparfeldt
  4. The Protestant Fiscal Ethic: Religious Confession and Euro Skepticism in Germany By Adrian Chadi; Matthias Krapf
  5. Connecting the Dots: The Early Impacts of Increased Paid Maternity Leave on Child Development By Catherine Haeck
  6. Human Development as Positive Freedom: Latin America in Historical Perspective By Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  7. Obesity and Economic Performance of Young Workers in Italy By Bruno, Giovanni S. F.; Caroleo, Floro Ernesto; Dessy, Orietta
  8. Life Satisfaction in Germany after Reunification: Additional Insights on the Pattern of Convergence By Pfeifer, Christian; Petrunyk, Inna
  9. On the Equilibrium and Welfare Consequences of 'Keeping up with the Joneses' By Gavrel, Frédéric; Rebiere, Therese
  10. Life satisfaction in Germany after reunification: Additional insights on the pattern of convergence By Inna Petrunyk; Christian Pfeifer
  11. Do Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers reduce poverty and improve well-being? By Meg Elkins; Simon Feeny; David Prentice
  12. Integrated conservation and development approaches in South Africa: lessons, benefits and challenges By André Pelser
  13. The Determinants of Job Stability in the UAE: Using Satisfaction Variables By Khalifa Abdulrhman; Selini Katsaiti
  14. Peer working time, labour supply, and happiness for male workers By Collewet M.M.F.; Grip A. de; Koning J.d.

  1. By: Adrian Chadi; Clemens Hetschko
    Abstract: For representative German panel data, we document that voluntary job switching is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction, though only for some time, whereas forced job changes do not affect life satisfaction clearly. Using plant closures as an exogenous trigger of switching to a new employer, we find that job mobility turns out to be harmful for satisfaction with family life. By investigating people’s lives beyond their workplaces, our study complements research on the well-being impact of labour mobility, suggesting some positive welfare effects of flexible labour markets, but also a previously undocumented potential for negative implications.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction; satisfaction with family life; job changes; honeymoon-hangover effect; employment protection legislation
    JEL: I32 J28 J61 J63
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Angela Faßhauer; Katrin Rehdanz
    Abstract: This paper is the first to link economic theory with empirical life-satisfaction analyses referring to internal migration. We derive an extension of the Roback (1982) model to account for benefits from regional amenities in the utility function, while controlling for income, housing costs, and migration costs. Using highly disaggregated spatial panel information on people’s migration decisions and their life satisfaction for Germany, we provide an empirical investigation of the theoretical model by applying an individual fixed-effects model to rule out selection bias, while accounting for endogeneity of income. We find that short-term benefits from regional amenities represent about 21 percent of household income. These findings are robust to a number of alternative specifications.
    Keywords: Internal migration, regional amenities, life satisfaction, Germany
    JEL: A12 C33 R23
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Johannes Schult; Jörn R. Sparfeldt
    Abstract: Compulsory military service is a uniformed life event disrupting the lives of young men (and sometimes women) in countries with conscription. Consequently, the development of personality and subjective well-being during service was investigated using representative population data from the German Socio-Economic Panel. In line with previous findings, men who chose military service revealed descriptively lower agreeableness than those who did civil service (d = –0.33). Contrasting previous research, agreeableness ratings remained stable in both groups. Conscientiousness increased in both groups (η² = .067). The potentially disruptive nature of conscription is not reflected in the present longitudinal results.Overall, personality traits and life satisfaction appear to remain remarkably stable despite the substantial changes of living environments and daily routines associated with military service.
    Keywords: personality development, Big Five, subjective well-being, life event, draft, military conscription
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Adrian Chadi; Matthias Krapf
    Abstract: During the European sovereign debt crisis, most countries that ran into fiscal trouble had Catholic majorities, whereas countries with Protestant majorities were able to avoid fiscal problems. Survey data show that, within Germany, views on theeuro differ between Protestants and Non-Protestants, too. Among Protestants, concerns about the euro have, compared to Non-Protestants, increased during the crisis, and significantly reduce their subjective wellbeing only. We use the timing of survey interviews and news events in 2011 to account for the endogeneity of euro concerns. Emphasis on moral hazard concerns in Protestant theology may, thus, still shape economic preferences.
    Keywords: Protestantism, euro crisis, subjective wellbeing, media coverage
    JEL: E00 I31 L82 Z12
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Catherine Haeck (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effect of extended maternal care on children's development at age 4 and 5 using observational data prior to and after the Canadian parental leave reform, which extended total paid leave from 25 to 50 weeks. In contrast with previous research on the Canadian parental leave reform, we estimate the impact of the reform while controlling for underlying trends in the outcome variables. We find that the policy change had positive effects on the cognitive development of children as well as parent-reported measures of child health and family well-being. Effects on behavioral development are mainly not significant. These results must be interpreted with respect to the effective treatment period and the type of care displaced. We find that mothers increased their time at home from 7 to 11 months and that the type of care displaced was mainly unregulated and provided by individuals without specific training. Since child development measured as early as age 5 is a strong predictor of future adulthood skill level, these results have important policy implications.
    Keywords: maternity leave reform, child development, family well-being, natural experiment
    JEL: J13 J18 J22 J24
    Date: 2015–02
  6. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: How has Latin AmericaÕs wellbeing evolved over time? How does Latin America compare to todayÕs developed countries (OECD, for short)? What explains their differences? These questions are addressed using an historical index of human development. A sustained improvement in wellbeing can be observed since 1870. The absolute gap between OECD and Latin America widened over time, but an incomplete catching up Ðlargely explained by education- occurred since 1900, but faded away after 1980, as Latin America fell behind the OECD in terms of longevity. Once the first health transition was exhausted, the contribution of life expectancy to human development declined.
    Keywords: Latin America, Human Development, Positive Freedom, Life Expectancy, Education
    JEL: O15 O54 I00 N36
    Date: 2015–05
  7. By: Bruno, Giovanni S. F. (Bocconi University); Caroleo, Floro Ernesto (University of Naples Parthenope); Dessy, Orietta (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore recent ISFOL-PLUS 2006-2008-2010 data available for Italy about height and weight of young workers with the purpose of analysing the relationship between measures of obesity and measures of economic performance. Among the latter, we introduce job satisfaction, both overall and for nine specific aspects, which has not been previously considered in the literature on the effects of obesity. Interestingly enough, we find that BMI does not discriminate young workers with respect to their job earnings, but it does affect negatively young workers' job satisfaction with important gender effects.
    Keywords: obesity, overweight, body mass index, job satisfaction, gross income
    JEL: J28 J81 I14
    Date: 2015–05
  8. By: Pfeifer, Christian (Leuphana University Lüneburg); Petrunyk, Inna (Leuphana University Lüneburg)
    Abstract: The authors update previous findings on the total East-West gap in overall life satisfaction and its trend by using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) for the years 1992 to 2013. Additionally, the East-West gap and its trend are separately analyzed for men and women as well as for four birth cohorts. The results indicate that reported life satisfaction is on average significantly lower in East than in West German federal states and that part of the raw East-West gap is due to differences in household income and unemployment status. The conditional East-West gap decreased in the first years after the German reunification and remained quite stable and sizeable since the mid-nineties. The results further indicate that gender differences are small. But the East-West gap is significantly smaller and shows a trend towards convergence for younger birth cohorts.
    Keywords: Germany, happiness, life satisfaction, reunification, trends
    JEL: D63 I31 P36 P46
    Date: 2015–05
  9. By: Gavrel, Frédéric (University of Caen); Rebiere, Therese (CNAM, Paris)
    Abstract: This paper provides an analysis of the social consequences of people seeking to keep up with the Joneses. All individuals attempt to reach a higher rank than the Joneses, including the Joneses themselves. This attitude gives rise to an equilibrium in which all individuals have equal utilities but unequal (gross) incomes. Due to a rat-race effect, individuals devote too much energy to climbing the social scale in this equilibrium. However, laissez-faire equilibrium is an equal-utility constrained social optimum. Unexpectedly, numerical simulations show that this theory could account for the observed distribution of intermediate wages.
    Keywords: Keeping up with the Joneses, social interactions, well-being, inequalities, efficiency
    JEL: D3 D6 D8 I3 Z1
    Date: 2015–05
  10. By: Inna Petrunyk (Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany); Christian Pfeifer (Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany)
    Abstract: The authors update previous findings and add new insights on the East-West gap in overall life satisfaction and its trend by using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1992-2013). The results indicate that (1) part of the raw East-West gap is due to differences in household income and unemployment status, (2) the conditional East-West gap decreased in the first years after the German reunification and remained quite stable and sizeable since the mid-nineties, (3) gender differences are small, and (4) the East-West gap is smaller and shows a trend towards convergence for the younger birth cohorts.
    Keywords: Germany, Happiness, Life satisfaction, Reunification, Trends
    JEL: D63 I31 P36 P46
    Date: 2015–05
  11. By: Meg Elkins; Simon Feeny; David Prentice
    Abstract: With almost 15 years passing since their introduction, quantitative evaluations of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) have been surprisingly sparse. This paper examines whether a PRSP impacts on poverty reduction and well-being and whether PRSP alignment to development paradigms impacts upon the achievement of these outcomes. Specifically, it estimates the causal effect of having a PRSP on various targets of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. The sample is composed of a treatment group consisting of 51 developing countries undertaking PRSPs and 62 control countries determined through propensity score matching techniques, over the period 1999 to 2008. Results suggest that countries under PRSP treatment have achieved better well-being outcomes than those in the control group. PRSP alignment to different development paradigms is also shown to matter.
    Keywords: MDGs; PRSPs; programme evaluation; poverty reduction; well-being
    Date: 2015–02
  12. By: André Pelser (University of the Free State)
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of a protected area in promoting human well-being by drawing upon a case study from rural South Africa. The paper highlights the benefits of a community outreach biodiversity conservation programme in the eastern Free State of South Africa, and concludes by pointing at some of the programme's challenges and the lessons learned from these and similar integrated conservation and development approaches in South Africa.The official conservation policy of South African National Parks (SANParks) is entrenched in the conviction that biodiversity conservation should be directly linked with the socio-economic needs of neighboring communities. Within this policy framework, the thatch harvesting programme at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park (GGHNP) is aimed at transferring social and economic benefits accruing from biodiversity protection to the impoverished surrounding communities by means of commercial access permits and park-assisted entrepreneurial endeavours.Grasslands constitute the second largest ecosystem in South Africa and are collectively protected by three World Heritage Sites as well as several provincial reserves and national parks. Grassland can support vast herds of game and at the same time serve as protection for all-important wetlandsin the park,which in turn are of paramount importance for water catchment and water security in South Africa. This paper reflects on an outcome analysis that was conducted to ascertain the contribution of the thatch harvesting programme at GGHNP to human well-being within the neighbouring communities of the park. Specific questions that are addressed in the paperr include the following: •To what extent has the thatch harvesting programme of the park impacted the park’s conservation mission and its neighbouring communities?•What are the multiplier effects (if any) stemming from the programme?•What evidence is there to indicate that the thatch harvesting programme has improved the community’s experience of well-being?In general, the paper argues that the benefits embedded in the thatch harvesting programme strongly further the improvement of certain constituents of well-being as stated by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Criteria, such as access to basic material for a good life, security in the form of resource access, health, and improved social relations through the act of being able to help others. The paper concludes by pointing at some challenges emanating from the programme - both for conservation and sustainable development.
    Keywords: integrated conservation and development, protected areas, human well-being, community outreach programme
  13. By: Khalifa Abdulrhman (United Arab Emirates University); Selini Katsaiti (United Arab Emirates University)
    Abstract: This study investigates the job stability pattern in the United Arab Emirates and the effect of satisfaction on job stability for nationals and expatriates, in both the private and public sector, for male and female workers. It investigates the micro factors that affect the employee’s decision on whether to stay in a job or quit. This paper have read several paper studying the job stability pattern of different countries and we have found that this kind of pattern strongly effect the number of people unemployed and therefore effect the output of the economy. We use cross-sectional data from the survey that is conducted by the Ministry of Labor in 2013. Due to the lack of panel data, our job mobility control is proxied using the average number of jobs changed by each employee. In our investigation of job stability, we use the current job ratio. We find that job mobility increases with age, job stability increases with salary and qualifications and is greater in the private sector, by controlling for the satisfaction variables, boring unimportant jobs and the feeling of staying long affects positively, while the feeling of quitting soon gives lower number of jobs. Employees from the northern side of the country tend to have lower job ratio. While receiving assistance, satisfied with salary, satisfied benefits, and satisfaction index increases the job ratio. On the other side, we found a negative effect from low training, and hard work motivation.
    Keywords: UAE, Job Mobility, Job Stability, Job Satisfaction
    JEL: J01 J08 J60
  14. By: Collewet M.M.F.; Grip A. de; Koning J.d. (ROA)
    Abstract: This paper uncovers conspicuous work as a new form of status seeking that can explain social interactions in labour supply. We analyse how peer working time relates to both labour supply and happiness for Dutch male workers. Using a unique measure of peer weekly working time, we find that mens working time increases with that of their peers and that peer working time is negatively related to mens happiness. These findings are consistent with a conspicuous work model, in which individuals derive status from working time.
    Keywords: Externalities; General Welfare; Time Allocation and Labor Supply;
    JEL: J22 I31 D62
    Date: 2015

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