nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒05‒30
nine papers chosen by

  1. Climate Change and Sustainable Welfare: An Argument for the Centrality of Human Needs By Ian Gough
  2. Richard Titmuss: Forty years on By Howard Glennerster
  3. Does money affect children’s outcomes? By Kerris Cooper; Kitty Stewart
  4. Globalization, the environment and the future “greening” of Arab politics By Tausch, Arno
  5. (English) Well (Italiano) Well By Ilaria Di Tullio
  6. Infrastructure in conflict-prone and fragile environments : evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo By Ali,Rubaba; Barra,Alvaro Federico; Berg,Claudia N.; Damania,Richard; Nash,John D.; Russ,Jason Daniel
  7. For whom are cities good places to live? By Fredrik Carlsen; Stefan Leknes

  1. By: Ian Gough
    Abstract: Since climate change threatens human wellbeing across the globe and into the future, we require a concept of wellbeing that encompasses an equivalent ambit. This paper argues that only a concept of human need can do the work required. It compares need theory with three alternative approaches. Preference satisfaction theory is criticised on the grounds of subjectivity, epistemic irrationality, endogenous and adaptive preferences, the limitlessness of wants, the absence of moral evaluation, and the non-specificity of future preferences. The happiness approach is found equally wanting. The main section shows how these deficiencies can be addressed by a coherent theory of need. Human needs are necessary preconditions to avoid serious harm, are universalisable, objective, empirically grounded, non-substitutable and satiable. They are broader than 'material' needs since a need for personal autonomy figures in all theoretical accounts. While needs are universal, need satisfiers are most often contextual and relative to institutions and cultures. The satiability and non-substitutability of needs is critical for understanding sustainability. The capability approaches of Sen and Nussbaum are compared but argued to be less fundamental. Finally, human needs provide the only concept that can ground moral obligations across global space and intergenerational time and thus operationalise 'sustainable welfare'.
    Keywords: Human needs, welfare theory, wellbeing, global justice, intergenerational justice, sustainability, preferences, capabilities
    JEL: B5 I00 P46 Z13
    Date: 2014–07
  2. By: Howard Glennerster
    Abstract: Richard Titmuss was one of the world's leading public analysts and philosophers. He was highly influential in shaping the post-war welfare state and created the subject we now call social policy. What would he make of the present state of welfare? This lecture reflects on the man and the times which shaped his ideas. What is his legacy forty years on from his death? Which of his ideas have lasted and which have proved less durable? What gaps were there in his world view?
    Keywords: social policy, Titmuss, well-being
    JEL: I38
    Date: 2014–02
  3. By: Kerris Cooper; Kitty Stewart
    Abstract: Children in low-income households do less well than their better-off peers on many outcomes in life, such as education or health, simply because they are poorer. While a parent's level of education, attitude towards bringing up children and other parental factors also have a bearing, research shows that having more money directly improves the development and level of achievement of children. Increases in family income substantially reduce differences in schooling outcomes and improve wider aspects of a child's well-being. Cognitive development and school achievement were most improved by having more money. Conversely, reductions in family income, including benefit cuts, are likely to have wide-ranging negative effects. Money seems to have more of an effect among low-income families.
    Keywords: children, money, education
    Date: 2013–10
  4. By: Tausch, Arno
    Abstract: The pressures of globalization, rising ecological footprint and shrinking biocapacity and concomitant global value change will contribute towards an increase of the importance of environmental issues in the Arab world in the coming years. Without question, already the time series data from available indices – like the KOF-Index of Globalization (2015) and Ecological Footprint Network data on ecological footprint and biocapicity - all point in the direction that in objective terms the Arab World will be confronted by a synchronous increase of these phenomena in the coming years. In addition, the newly available opinion data from the recently released World Values Survey (6) for twelve members of the Arab League (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Tunisia, and Yemen), containing almost 70% of the population of the countries of the Arab League show to us that membership rate environmental organizations, participation in environmental demonstrations and giving priority to protecting the environment over economic growth are already a factor in those countries. Their weight will increase in the years to come, given the general and very robust underlying tendencies. Our article analyzes the empirical relationship between rising globalization and ecological performance by establishing the global long-term, structural macro-quantitative determinants of environmental performance in the world system with cross-national data. In multiple standard OLS regression models, we test the effects of 26 standard predictor variables, including the ‘four freedoms’ of goods, capital, labor and services, whose weight will all increase in the Arab world in the coming years, on the following indicators of sustainable development  avoiding net trade of ecological footprint gha per person  Carbon emissions per million US dollars GDP  CO2 per capita  Yale/Columbia Environmental Performance Index (EPI)  Global footprint per capita  Happy Life Years  Happy Planet Index  ln (number of people per mill inhabitants 1980-2000 killed by natural disasters per year+1) Our research shows that the apprehensions of quantitative research, critical of neo-liberal globalization are fully vindicated by the significant negative environmental effects of the foreign savings rate. High foreign savings are indeed a driver of global footprint, and are a blockade against a satisfactory Happy Planet Index performance. The new international division of labor is one of the prime drivers of high CO2 per capita emissions. The penetration of economies by foreign direct investments by transnational corporations, which is the master variable of most quantitative dependency theories (MNC penetration), blocks environmental performance (EPI-Index) and several other socially important processes. Worker remittances have a significant positive effect on the Happy Planet Index, and Happy Life Years. In attempting to draw some cautious predictions for the Arab World, the article then evaluates the performance of the Arab countries in this context with our cross-national data and with our analysis of World Values Survey (6) data for the region. While the documented data for the region from the Yale/Columbia EPI Index, which is the best single-shot available global environmental quality indicator today, and the Ecological Footprint Network time series data about rising ecological footprint and shrinking biocapacity in the Arab countries clearly indicate the sharply mounting and pressing environmental policy priorities in the region, the “greening” of Arab civil societies towards a higher degree of environmental consciousness and activism already is also becoming a considerable factor. The overall publics in Qatar and Libya are in the lead, while in the other Arab countries, environmental policy issues will gain considerably in importance in the public mindset as well. Decision makers would be well advised to channel already now these future environmental debates and movements to be expected in a way compatible with the overall well-being, prosperity, democratization and stability of the region.
    Keywords: International Relations and International Political Economy; International Migration; Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics - General
    JEL: F22 F5 Q00
    Date: 2015–05–21
  5. By: Ilaria Di Tullio
    Abstract: (English) Economic crisis has changed the political, economic and social scenario of the world as we know it. Economic liberalism, which theorizes freedom of movement synonymously with prosperity and happiness has failed. The Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz has recently announced a theorem which declares “When social inequality between people increases, GDP tends to decrease and to become negative”. His thesis confirmed the extraordinary connection between social disparity increases, measured with Gini’s coefficient, these heavy economic catastrophes mirror the U.S. Great depression of 1929. This contribute take advantage of statistical instruments, sociology’s faithful supporters to highlight the economic transformation. There are analysis like Gini’s coefficient trend with relation a historic series which shows data from 1983 to 2013, a Principal Componet Analysis and a Cluster Analysis from the well-being indicators Matrix (source: OCSE) and a partition of the OCSE member-states. Economic financialization, smaller income resources, extreme freedom of movements, flexibility in productive cycles in job, the decrease in action collective spaces, contribution to increases in social inequality and removal of conceptions such as integrity and proximity. There is a narrow correlation between economic liberalism and social inequality with a high insecurity consequence. The aim of this work is to highlight these dimensions about economic crisis beyond common sense. (Italiano) La crisi economica ha cambiato radicalmente lo scenario politico, economico e sociale dell’intero pianeta e il liberismo economico, secondo cui il meccanismo della libera concorrenza porterebbe al benessere per tutti, ha raccolto smentite crescenti. Il premio Nobel, Joseph Stiglitz ha recentemente enunciato un teorema, per il quale: “quando la disuguaglianza tra gli individui aumenta, il PIL tende a diminuire fino a diventare negativo”. Questa teoria trova sostegno nella straordinaria corrispondenza tra l’aumento delle disuguaglianze sociali, misurato dall’indice di Gini, e i periodi di gravi crisi economiche, in particolare quelli del ‘29 e quello attuale. Questo lavoro si è servito di strumenti statistici, fidi alleati della sociologia, attraverso i quali sono stati messi in luce i cambiamenti dell’attuale crisi economica. Sono quindi state reperite dagli archivi dell’OCSE, matrici di dati sulle quali è stato possibile effettuare le analisi. La determinazione dell’andamento dell’Indice di Disuguaglianza di Gini effettuata su una serie storica che va dal 1983 ad oggi, l’Analisi in Componenti Principali e la Cluster Analysis, effettuate su matrici di dati costituiti dagli indicatori di Benessere, così come rilevati e definiti dall’dall’OCSE, hanno permesso di giungere a una partizione e quindi ad un raggruppamento dell’insieme degli Stati-membri dell’Organizzazione. La finanziarizzazione dell’economia, la minore disponibilità di reddito, l’estrema libertà di scambio, la flessibilità nei cicli produttivi in termini di lavoro e di movimento di capitali, la riduzione degli spazi di azione collettivi, concorrono ad aumentare la disuguaglianza prendendo il posto di concetti quali solidarietà e vicinanza. Esiste stretta correlazione tra neoliberismo e crescita della disuguaglianza socio-economica con conseguente alto grado di insicurezza tout court: mettere in luce questo, oltre il senso comune, ha come obiettivo questo lavoro.
    Keywords: (English) Well (Italiano) Well
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Ali,Rubaba; Barra,Alvaro Federico; Berg,Claudia N.; Damania,Richard; Nash,John D.; Russ,Jason Daniel
    Abstract: In conflict-prone situations, access to markets is necessary to restore economic growth and generate the preconditions for peace and reconstruction. Hence, the rehabilitation of damaged transport infrastructure has emerged as an overarching investment priority among donors and governments. This paper brings together two distinct strands of literature on the effects of conflict on welfare and on the economic impact of transport infrastructure. The theoretical model explores how transport infrastructure affects conflict incidence and welfare when selection into rebel groups is endogenous. The implications of the model are tested with data from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The analysis addresses the problems of the endogeneity of transport costs and conflict using a novel set of instrumental variables. For transport costs, a new instrument is developed, the"natural-historical path,"which measures the most efficient travel route to a market, taking into account topography, land cover, and historical caravan routes. Recognizing the imprecision in measuring the geographic impacts of conflict, the analysis develops a spatial kernel density function to proxy for the incidence of conflict. To account for its endogeneity, it is instrumented with ethnic fractionalization and distance to the eastern border. A variety of indicators of well-being are used: a wealth index, a poverty index, and local gross domestic product. The results suggest that, in most situations, reducing transport costs has the expected beneficial impacts on all the measures of welfare. However, when there is intense conflict, improvements in infrastructure may not have the anticipated benefits. The results suggest the need for more nuanced strategies that take into account varying circumstances and consider actions that jointly target governance with construction activities.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Rural Poverty Reduction,Armed Conflict,Post Conflict Reconstruction,Transport Economics Policy&Planning
    Date: 2015–05–18
  7. By: Fredrik Carlsen (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology); Stefan Leknes (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: We use Norwegian data to evaluate the consumption hypothesis of geographical variation in educational attainment, i.e. that well-educated people particularly value the amenities provided by cities. Our results cast doubts on the hypothesis. After-tax real wages are higher in rural areas than in urban areas, suggesting that Norwegians are willing to forego purchasing power in order to enjoy urban amenities, but the urban purchasing power premium is roughly equal across education groups. Moreover, survey data in which respondents evaluate local amenities indicate a broad consensus between education groups about the advantages and disadvantages about city life as well as about the relationship between city size and the quality of local amenities.
    Keywords: Quality of life, urban amenities, population size, education, mobility
    JEL: R11 R12 J3 J61
    Date: 2015–01–05
  8. By: Sangeeta; RajniKumari; Shivani
    Abstract: Happiness and social intelligence play a significant role in the life of adolescent students in the present scenario. Happiness and social intelligence are reported to be positively related to each other. Importance of both the variables in the life of an adolescent in various complexities of present world encouraged researchers to study the correlates of happiness and social intelligence among adolescent students. Researchers also initiated to study the effect of disability on the relationship between happiness and social intelligence. Oxford Happiness Questionnaire and Tromso Social Intelligence Scale (TSIS) were administered on 180 adolescent students for the purpose of study. Pearson’s Product Moment Co-efficient of correlation was applied to analyze the relationship. The relationship was found to be varying in case of different disabilities. Researchers recommended burden free child centered education system. Key words: Social intelligence, Happiness, Adolescents and Disabilities
    Date: 2014–09
  9. By: Tomba Chingtham
    Abstract: Life in private schools is different. Being fully independent management, the teachers are expected to be more committed and compassionate. This paper examines the socio economic status and job satisfaction of private school teachers. The pressure on teachers of low socio economic status, professional difficulties, inadequate service condition and higher responsibilities and less salary, the problems found by the study. Key words: Private school teachers, condition of services, SES
    Date: 2014–12

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