nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒06‒05
nine papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. The Well-Being of Elderly Survivors after Natural Disasters: Measuring the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake By SUGANO Saki
  2. A life-span perspective on life satisfaction By Thieme, Paula; Dittrich, Dennis Alexis Valin
  3. Economic growth, wellbeing and sustainability : measuring Australia's progress By Gemma van Halderen, Joanne Baker
  4. Déclassement et reclassement des diplômés : une confrontation des appréciations subjectives et objective. By Magali Jaoul-Grammare; Philippe Lemistre
  5. 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
  6. Valuing the environment: Happiness and willingness-to-pay By Cheng, Zhiming; Wang, Ben
  7. Human Development as Positive Freedom: Latin America in Historical Perspective By Prados de la Escosura, Leandro
  9. Can happiness provide new insights into social inequality? Evidence from Japan By Niimi, Yoko

  1. By: SUGANO Saki
    Abstract: The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011 had a devastating impact on the northeastern part of Japan. In a quasi-experimental situation, using panel data collected six months after the earthquake from the Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR), this study examines the causal effects of the disaster on both the economic and psychological well-being of elderly survivors affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The results show that the subjective well-being of female survivors in their 60s and of those who had high financial assets significantly dropped. However, people in the other age and gender brackets did not exhibit a significant diminishment in their life satisfaction in the aftermath of the earthquake. These latter results may be due partially to the early economic recovery experienced in the surveyed city six months after the earthquake.
    Date: 2015–05
  2. By: Thieme, Paula; Dittrich, Dennis Alexis Valin
    Abstract: The German population is ageing due to decreasing birth rates and increasing life expectancy. To sustain the German pension system, legal retirement age is increased step by step to 67 years. This raises questions about how to enable and motivate older individuals to work that long. Hence, it is important to understand whether they represent a homogeneous group that can be addressed through specific measures and instruments. Life-span theory points to systematic changes as well as increased heterogeneity with age. For example, work motivation does not generally decline with age but becomes increasingly task-specific, depending on changing life goals and individual adaptation processes in adult development. In this empirical study we analyse age heterogeneity with regard to current life satisfaction and life satisfaction domains (measured as satisfaction with work, income, family and health) that represent personal utilities individuals strive for. For our analysis we use data collected as part of a representative German longitudinal data study (SOEP1). We find increasing heterogeneity in current life satisfaction, satisfaction with work, family life, and health with age. Thus, common mean level analyses on age effects yield only limited informative value. The heterogeneity of older adults should be taken into account when motivating and developing older workers.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, heterogeneity, life-span, older workers, ageing
    JEL: I10 I31 J14 J20 M50
    Date: 2015–05
  3. By: Gemma van Halderen, Joanne Baker
    Abstract: In 2002, the Australian Bureau of Statistics became the first national statistical agency to produce a broad-focused measuring tool for assessing national progress, developing what was then known as Measuring Australia’s Progress. MAP was developed to help Australians assess whether life in Australia is getting better. The MAP framework is a proud legacy, and one the ABS will consider building upon should resources become available in the future. In particular, the MAP consultation process and the refreshed edition of MAP 2013 were key milestones for Australia, adding significantly to understanding Australian's aspirations for whether life in Australia is getting better and to the field of measuring progress, both domestically and internationally.
    JEL: J11 J14 J18
    Date: 2015–04
  4. By: Magali Jaoul-Grammare; Philippe Lemistre
    Abstract: Le sens du déclassement objectif (être employé en dessous du niveau de qualification auquel « devrait » correspondre le diplôme selon une norme préétablie) est réexaminé dans cet article en confrontant déclassement objectif et perçu (en regard du diplôme ou des compétences), et au-delà en confrontant les différents déclassements à la satisfaction générale dans l’emploi occupé. Nous mobilisons l’enquête génération 2004 du Céreq et ses trois dates d’interrogations 2007, 2009 et 2011. La « réussite » initiale (bon classement) ou post scolaire (reclassement) est déclinée en quatre catégories : toujours bien classé, reclassé en cours de route, (versus) toujours déclassé, déclassé en cours de route. Ces différentes situations alternatives sont expliquées par un ensemble de variables individuelles et de parcours. Si les déterminants du déclassement objectif interviennent de manière assez habituelle concernant les filières et les diplômes, plus original est le rôle différencié des filières et niveau sur le déclassement en cours de route et le reclassement. Enfin, la confrontation des déclassements objectifs, perçus et de la satisfaction dans l’emploi, si elle souligne globalement des convergences met en exergue des différences à analyser.
    Keywords: déclassement objectif et subjectif, diplôme, réussite scolaire.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Sebastian Galiani (University of Maryland and NBER); Paul J. Gertler (UC Berkeley and NBER); Raimundo Undurraga (New York University)
    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 wellbeing improve substantially for recipients of better housing but that after, on average, eight months, 60% of that gain disappears.
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2015–05
  6. By: Cheng, Zhiming; Wang, Ben
    Abstract: This paper examines the impacts of subjective and objective measures of environmental quality on happiness and willingness to pay higher prices in China. We find that a higher level of happiness is associated with better air quality, but not necessarily with better water quality. The government can encourage willingness to pay for the former, but can only substitute it for the latter. Although perceived environmental quality is important for willingness-to-pay, it plays little role in rating happiness. However, a more highly perceived government effort increases both people’s life satisfaction and willingness-to-pay.
    Keywords: China; happiness; willingness-to-pay; environmental issues
    JEL: O13 Q53
    Date: 2015–05
  7. By: Prados de la Escosura, Leandro
    Abstract: How has Latin America’s wellbeing evolved over time? How does Latin America compare to today’s 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 – largely 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: human development; Latin America; life expectancy; positive freedom
    JEL: I00 N36 O15 O54
    Date: 2015–05
  8. By: Adetayo Joshua Olusegun, Ajani John Oluwasayo, Olabisi Olawoyim (Department of Management and Accounting, ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile Ife. Nigeria, Department of Management and Accounting, ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile Ife. Nigeria)
    Abstract: This research work was carried out to appraise Job stress and performance of employee in an organization. One of the organizational outcomes that are affected by occupational stress is performance. Employees’ performance can be viewed as an activity in which an individual is able to accomplish the task assigned to his/her successfully, subject to the normal constraints of reasonable utilization of the available resources. The focus of this study is to appraise the cause of stress, the effect on employee performance, how workers identify those stress factors and react to the factors. The data of study was collected through the use of Primary and Secondary sources by administering questionnaires, personal interviews and information was extracted from relevant journals and statistical bulletins. The descriptive method was used to analyze the data with aid of frequency and percentage for the research objectives. >From the findings it was discovered that work overload, career development and work/family conflict are considered to likely cause a disruptive effect on performance of workers. The study reveals that workers performance were affected by the following factors; tiredness, worry, unhappiness, weakness, headache, and anger. Based on the findings of this study, the study concluded that job stress has significant effect on employees’ performance.
    Keywords: Performance of employees, job stress, Nigeria
    JEL: I15 J21 J29
    Date: 2015–01
  9. By: Niimi, Yoko
    Abstract: This paper examines recent trends and determinants of happiness inequality in Japan using unique data from the “Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University” that was conducted annually in Japan during the 2003-2013 period. The data illustrate that, despite some fluctuations, Japan observed a fall in happiness inequality along with income growth during this period. By estimating Recentered Influence Function regressions, we find a negative and significant relationship between income level and happiness inequality, as found for other countries. The results also show that people’s perception of their relative standing in the income spectrum matters for the level as well as the dispersion of happiness. Other key determinants of happiness inequality include the insecurity of jobs, unemployment, the fear of becoming unemployed in the near future, having health concerns, feeling a sense of loneliness, and the expected coverage of living costs by public pensions after retirement, all of which have a positive effect on happiness inequality except that the public pension variable negatively affects the dispersion of happiness. Our empirical analysis illustrates that happiness inequality is a useful addition to the set of conventional inequality indicators to monitor and better understand social inequality and to formulate measures to tackle inequality-related issues.
    Keywords: Happiness; Inequality; Social Protection; Subjective Well-being
    JEL: D31 D63 H55 I31 I38
    Date: 2015–05–29

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