nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒06‒13
sixteen papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Trust, happiness, and households’ financial decisions By Delis, Manthos; Mylonidis, Nikolaos
  2. Do More of those in Misery Suffer From Poverty, Unemployment or Mental Illness? By Sarah Flèche; Richard Layard
  3. Life Satisfaction and Endogenous Aspirations By Marco Bertoni; Luca Corazzini
  4. Economic growth, wellbeing and sustainability : measuring Australia's progress By Gemma van Halderen, Joanne Baker
  5. Work and well-being of informal caregivers in Europe By Heger, Dörte
  6. Sick of your job? Negative health effects from non-optimal employment By Kleibrink, Jan
  7. Bowling alone or bowling at all? The effect of unemployment on social participation By Kunze, Lars; Suppa, Nicolai
  8. Does the burglar also disturb the neighbor? Crime spillovers on individual well-being By Avdic, Daniel; Bünnings, Christian
  9. Wie geht es uns? Die W3-Indikatoren für eine neue Wohlstandsmessung By Schmidt, Christoph M.; aus dem Moore, Nils
  10. Job satisfaction and motivation of public employees in Spain By Lasierra, Jose Manuel; Molina, Jose Alberto; Ortega, Raquel
  11. When two worlds collude: working from home and family functioning By Alfred Michael Dockery
  12. Poverty and Happiness : An Examination of the Factors Influencing Happiness among the Extreme Poor in Rural Ghana By Robert Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto; Hayford Ayerakwa
  13. Does Food Insecurity Impact Subjective Evaluation of Well-being? Evidence From a Developing Country By Wisdom Akpalu; Aaron Christian; Samuel Codjoe
  14. Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind?: The Effect of Wind Turbines on Residential Well-Being By Christian Krekel; Alexander Zerrahn
  15. Generational Differences at Work in Spain By Lasierra, Jose Manuel; Molina, Jose Alberto; Ortega, Raquel

  1. By: Delis, Manthos; Mylonidis, Nikolaos
    Abstract: A recent line of research highlights trust as an important element guiding the decision of households to invest into risky financial assets and insurance products. This paper contributes to this literature by identifying happiness as another key driver of the same decision. Using detailed survey data from a sample of Dutch households, we show that the impact of happiness on households’ financial decisions works in the opposite direction and is more economically important compared to trust. Specifically, happiness leads to a lower probability of investing into risky financial assets and having insurance, while trust has the usual positive effect found in the literature. Furthermore, the negative effect of happiness on the ownership of risky financial assets is about 6% higher compared to the positive equivalent of trust. Similarly, the negative effect of happiness on the ownership of insurance is 3% higher than the positive effect of trust.
    Keywords: Trust; happiness; households; financial decisions
    JEL: G11 G19
    Date: 2015–06–01
  2. By: Sarah Flèche; Richard Layard
    Abstract: Studies of deprivation usually ignore mental illness. This paper uses household panel data from the USA, Australia, Britain and Germany to broaden the analysis. We ask first how many of those in the lowest levels of life-satisfaction suffer from unemployment, poverty, physical ill health, and mental illness. The largest proportion suffer from mental illness. Multiple regression shows that mental illness is not highly correlated with poverty or unemployment, and that it contributes more to explaining the presence of misery than is explained by either poverty or unemployment. This holds both with and without fixed effects.
    Keywords: Mental health, life-satisfaction, wellbeing, poverty, unemployment
    JEL: I1 I3 I31 I32
    Date: 2015–06
  3. By: Marco Bertoni; Luca Corazzini
    Abstract: Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (N = 13,145), we investigate the effects of (not) achieving aspirations on subjective well-being. We match individual-level data about life satisfaction aspirations with their subsequent realizations and we jointly estimate two panel-data equations, the first depicting the effects that (not) achieving initial aspirations exerts on the subsequent level of life satisfaction, and the second describing the endogenous adjustment process followed by aspirations as a function of beaten and unmet targets. We find that while achieving aspirations exerts weak effects on life satisfaction, failing to match aspired conditions significantly reduces subsequent realizations of life satisfaction. Moreover, our analysis supports a "hedonic adaptation" explanation of the previous results, as we find that aspirations significantly adjust to beaten targets, while they remain almost unchanged in case of unmet targets.
    Keywords: Aspirations, Affective forecasts, Life Satisfaction, Hedonic Adaptation
    JEL: C99 C83 I31
    Date: 2015
  4. 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
  5. By: Heger, Dörte
    Abstract: Informal caregivers provide valuable services to elderly persons with long-term care needs, but the consequences of caregiving on caregivers are not yet fully understood. This paper illustrates the interrelation between caregiving and caregivers' labour force participation, cognitive ability, and health in a simple theoretical model, and estimates the effects of caregiving using panel data from 13 European countries, which allows to analyze the effect of institutions on caregivers' outcomes. The results show that caregiving severely and signicantly reduces caregivers' probability of being employed, but only in countries with few formal care alternatives. Furthermore, caregivers in all countries suffer from worse mental health when caregiving is prompted by poor parental health. The results for the effects of caregiving on physical health and cognitive ability are mixed.
    Abstract: Informelle Pflegerinnen und Pfleger leisten einen wertvollen Beitrag zu der Pflege älterer Menschen. Welche Folgen die Erbringung von Pflege auf die pflegende Person hat, ist jedoch noch nicht vollständig bekannt. Diese Studie verdeutlicht den Zusammenhang zwischen Pflegeerbringung, Arbeit, kognitiven Fähigkeiten und Gesundheit in einem theoretischen Modell und schätzt die Auswirkung von Pflegeerbringung anhand von Längsschnittdaten aus 13 europäischen Ländern. Dabei wird insbesondere der Einfluss institutioneller Faktoren auf die Auswirkungen von Pflegeerbringung analysiert. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Pflegeerbringung die Erwerbstätigkeit in Ländern mit einem geringeren professionellen Pflegeangebot stark reduziert. Dagegen leiden in allen Ländern pflegende Personen häufiger an depressiven Symptomen. Die Ergebnisse für kognitive Fähigkeiten und Gesundheit sind gemischt.
    Keywords: informal care,labour supply,cognitive ability,physical and mental health
    JEL: I12 J14 J18 J22
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Kleibrink, Jan
    Abstract: In an empirical study based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, the effect of job quality on individual health is analyzed. Extending previous studies methodologically to estimate unbiased effects of job satisfaction on individual health, it can be shown that low job satisfaction affects individual health negatively. In a second step, the underlying forces of this broad effect are disentangled. The analysis shows that the effects of job satisfaction on health run over the channels of job security and working hours above the individual limit. Job quality not only has a strong impact on mental health but physical health is affected as well. At the same time, health-damaging behavior including smoking and being overweight is not affected.
    Abstract: Dieser Beitrag untersucht empirisch den Effekt von Arbeitsplatzeigenschaften auf die individuelle Gesundheit. In einer breit angelegten ökonometrischen Studie wird auf Basis von Daten des Sozio-ökonomischen Panels gezeigt, dass niedrige Zufriedenheit mit dem Arbeitsplatz zu schlechterer Gesundheit führt. In einem weiteren Schritt werden die zugrunde liegenden Determinanten analysiert. Dabei kann gezeigt werden, dass Arbeitsplatzunsicherheit sowie ein Stundenpensum über dem individuellen Limit negative Gesundheitseffekte haben. Besonders betroffen ist die mentale Gesundheit. Allerdings gibt es auch signifikante Effekte auf die physische Gesundheit. Effekte auf gesundheitsschädigendes Verhalten, wie das Rauch- und Essverhalten, sind nicht zu finden.
    Keywords: individual health,job satisfaction
    JEL: I14 J24 J28
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Kunze, Lars; Suppa, Nicolai
    Abstract: This article examines the impact of unemployment on social participation for Germany using the German Socio-Economic Panel. We find significant negative, robust and, for some activities, lasting effects of unemployment on social participation. Causality is established by focussing on plant closures as exogenous entries into unemployment. Social norms, labor market prospects and the perception of individual failure are shown to be relevant for explaining these findings. Furthermore, our results not only (i) provide novel insights into the determinants of the unemployed's unhappiness but also (ii) highlight an hitherto unexplored channel through which unemployment influences economic outcomes, namely by altering the long-run level of social capital, and (iii) point to an alternative explanation of unemployment hysteresis based on access to information.
    Abstract: Dieser Aufsatz untersucht den Einfluss von Arbeitslosigkeit auf soziale Teilnahme in Deutschland mit Hilfe von Daten des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels. Die Autoren finden signifikant negative, robuste und, für bestimmte Aktivitäten, andauernde Effekte von Arbeitslosigkeit auf soziale Teilnahme. Eine kausale Interpretation der Ergebnisse wird durch die Betrachtung von Betriebsschließungen als exogene Eintritte in Arbeitslosigkeit ermöglicht. Soziale Normen, Arbeitsmarktaussichten sowie die Wahrnehmung individuellen Versagens spielen eine wichtige Rolle für die Erklärung dieser Resultate. Zudem liefern die Ergebnisse (i) neue Einsichten in die Determinanten der Lebenszufriedenheit von Arbeitslosen, (ii) betonen einen bisher vernachlässigten Wirkungskanal, durch welchen Arbeitslosigkeit ökonomische Zustände beeinflusst - die Veränderung des langfristigen Niveaus an Sozialkapital - und (iii) deuten auf eine alternative Erklärung für das Phänomen der Arbeitsmarkt Hysteresis, basierend auf einem eingeschränkten Informationszugang, hin.
    Keywords: unemployment,social participation,plant closure,fixed effects,well-being
    JEL: J64 I31
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Avdic, Daniel; Bünnings, Christian
    Abstract: Indirect psychological effects induced by crime are likely to contribute significantly to the total costs of crime beyond the financial costs of direct victimization. Using detailed crime statistics for the whole of Germany and linking them to individual-level mental health information from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we analyze whether local crime rates affect the mental health of residents. We estimate that a one standard deviation increase in local violent crime rates significantly decreases individual mental well-being among residents by, on average, one percent. Smaller effects are found for property and total crime rates. Results are insensitive to migration and not isolated to urban areas, but are rather driven by less densely populated regions. In contrast to previous literature on vulnerability to crime, we find that men, more educated and singles react more to variation in violent crime rates in their neighborhoods. One potential explanation could be that those who are more fearful of crime have developed better coping strategies and, hence, react less to changes in crime.
    Abstract: Indirekte psychologische Effekte stellen möglicherweise einen erheblichen Teil der durch Kriminalität verursachten Gesamtkosten dar. Um zu analysieren, ob regionale Kriminalitätsraten die mentale Gesundheit beeinflussen, nutzen wir detaillierte Kriminalitätsinformationen für Deutschland und verknüpfen diese mit Informationen zu individueller mentaler Gesundheit aus dem Sozio-ökonomischen Panel. Unsere Schätzergebnisse implizieren, dass der Anstieg um eine Standardabweichung in der Gewaltverbrechensrate das mentale Wohlbefinden der lokalen Bevölkerung signifikant um durchschnittlich ein Prozent reduziert. Für Eigentumsdelikte und die Gesamtkriminalitätsrate beobachten wir geringere Effekte. Die Ergebnisse werden weder durch Wohnortwechsler beeinflusst noch sind sie auf urbane Regionen begrenzt, sondern sind vielmehr durch weniger dicht besiedelte Regionen getrieben. Im Gegensatz zur Literatur zur Angst vor Kriminalität beobachten wir, dass Männer, höher Gebildete und Alleinstehende sensibler auf Veränderungen in der regionalen Gewaltverbrechensrate reagieren. Eine Erklärung hierfür könnte sein, dass diejenigen, die mehr Angst vor Kriminalität haben, entsprechende Coping-Strategien entwickelt haben und daher auch weniger auf Veränderungen in der Kriminalitätsrate reagieren.
    Keywords: fear of crime,spillover effect,mental health,vulnerability,neighborhood effects,panel data
    JEL: C23 I18 K42 R23
    Date: 2015
  9. By: Schmidt, Christoph M.; aus dem Moore, Nils
    Abstract: Der Wohlstand einer Gesellschaft lässt sich nicht allein mit Hilfe ökonomischer Größen messen - weder sein Niveau noch die jüngste Entwicklung. Für die statistische Berichterstattung wird daher deutlich mehr benötigt, als lediglich die Wirtschaftsleistung zu erfassen. Bereits im Jahr 2013 hat eine vom Deutschen Bundestag eingesetzte Enquete-Kommission ein neues System für die Wohlstandsmessung in Deutschland vorgeschlagen, die W3-Indikatoren. Diesen Indikatorensatz sollte die Große Koalition jetzt nutzen, wenn sie das Thema Gutes Leben in den Mittelpunkt ihrer Regierungsarbeit stellt. Der W3-Indikatorensatz umfasst in drei gleichberechtigten Säulen die Dimensionen Materieller Wohlstand, Soziales und Teilhabe sowie Ökologie. Ein durchdachtes System aus Leitindikatoren und Warnlampen berücksichtigt sowohl die Vielschichtigkeit der menschlichen Existenz als auch die Anforderungen an eine einfache Kommunizierbarkeit. Eine Gewichtung, welche Kriterien für den Wohlstand des Einzelnen am wichtigsten sind, überlässt der Indikatorensatz bewusst dem jeweiligen Betrachter. Denn eine politische Normierung der individuellen Vorstellungen von Lebensqualität ist weder machbar noch wünschenswert.
    Abstract: Societal well-being cannot be measured by means of economic parameters alone - neither its level nor its recent development. Thus, much more is needed for an adequate statistical reporting than simply collecting data on economic performance. As early as 2013, the study commission on Growth, Wellbeing and Quality of Life, set up by the German Bundestag, proposed a new indicator system for comprehensive welfare measurement - the so called W3-indicators. Germany´s grand coalition should now build on this indicator system when putting the topic Good Life at the centre of its governmental activities. The W3-indicator system rests on three equal pillars and covers the dimensions material wellbeing, social wealth and ecology. A well thought-out dashboard of headline indicators and warning lights considers both the complexity of human existence and the requirements towards an easy communicability. With intent and by construction, this indicator system does not lend itself to a prioritization as for what criteria might be the most important in terms of the individual´s welfare. This weighting hast to rest with the individual beholder. For a political standardization of individual perceptions of quality of life is neither feasible nor desirable.
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Lasierra, Jose Manuel; Molina, Jose Alberto; Ortega, Raquel
    Abstract: Our purpose is to analyze job satisfaction and motivation of public employees in Spain to respond two questions. First, whether there is divergence between different public occupations and, second, what are the distinguishing features of that diversity? Using data from the Spanish Survey of Labor Conditions (ECVT, Encuesta de Condiciones y Vida en el Trabajo) 2006-2010, we estimate regressions for each of the 17 public occupations, with job satisfaction and motivation as the dependent variables, and a number of economic and socio-demographic determinants as exogenous variables. Our results, which can be considered contributions to the study of public management, reveal that the importance that public employees assign to the performance of their work, that is to say, to the idea of public service, is clearly a source of job satisfaction. These results do not fully support certain criticisms that require management philosophies to be closer to the private model, assuming that this can be more efficient for public employees.
    Keywords: Job satisfaction, Motivation, Public employees, Occupations, Spain
    JEL: J28 J30
    Date: 2015–06–10
  11. By: Alfred Michael Dockery (Sherry Bawa; School of Economics and Finance, Curtin Business School)
    Abstract: Whether or not working from home or ‘telecommuting’ helps workers to balance work and family commitments, as opposed to providing an avenue for work to intrude on family life remains a contentious issue. On balance it seems the flexibility to work some hours from home is a positive for workers. This was confirmed for a representative sample of Australian employees drawn from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA) from 2001 to 2011, but with the reservation that working from home was associated with longer working hours and hence had the potential to exacerbate work-to-family conflict. A limitation of that study and much of the existing literature is that measures of work-family conflict have been based on subjective assessments by the workers themselves, who may be unlikely to reflect negatively on their own choice of work arrangements. In contrast, this study analyses the effect of employees working from home on their spouses’ and children’s assessments of family functioning in Australia using HILDA data from 2001-2013. Some evidence is found that working from home contributes to better relationships and a more equitable division of household responsibilities for couples with children.Limited evidence of negative externalities on other family members is observed, namely women whose employee-partners work a substantial number of hours from home are less satisfied with the division of tasks within the home. The findings therefore contribute to the weight of evidence that working from home is conducive to families achieving a better work-life balance.
    Keywords: Time allocation and labour supply, Working conditions, Job satisfaction
    JEL: J22 J81 J28
    Date: 2015–04
  12. By: Robert Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto; Hayford Ayerakwa
    Abstract: Every person desires some level of inner fulfilment at different stages of life and this could come from a combination of several factors including material and resource acquisition and social prestige. The challenge, however, is whether happiness levels across the different social strata are the same, especially among the poor and the neglected. Using data from the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty survey in Ghana, we analyse the factors that influence happiness among the extreme poor. The positive and negative factors are discussed in the paper.
    Keywords: Poverty, Measurement (Poverty), Quality of life
    Date: 2015
  13. By: Wisdom Akpalu; Aaron Christian; Samuel Codjoe
    Abstract: Understanding the relationship between food insecurity and subjective evaluation of well-being is critical in designing social welfare policies, especially in developing countries. Surprisingly, literature on the topic is scarce. This study adopted Van Praag’s theoretical framework and used household survey data from Ghana to investigate the monetary income which households facing severe food insecurity require to reach a given level of verbal qualification of well-being. We found that households that are food insecure require a higher monetary income to reach the same level of verbal qualification of well-being than their counterparts who are food secure. Furthermore, per capita household income levels positively correlate with monetary income requirements, indicating a weak correlation between food security and per capita household income. Households that receive support from others require a lower level of income than either those who give support or those who neither give nor receive support.
    Keywords: Food security, Quality of life, Welfare economics
    Date: 2015
  14. By: Christian Krekel; Alexander Zerrahn
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of the physical presence of wind turbines on residential wellbeing in Germany, using panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and a unique novel panel data set on more than 20,000 wind turbines for the time period between 2000 and 2012. Using a Geographical Information System (GIS), we calculate the proximity between households and the nearest wind turbine as the most important determinant of their disamenities, e.g. visual interference into landscape aesthetics. Our unique novel panel data set on wind turbines, which was collected at the regional level, includes their exact geographical coordinates and construction dates. This allows estimating the causal effect of the physical presence of wind turbines on residential wellbeing, using a difference-in-differences design. To ensure comparability of the treatment and control group, we apply propensity-score and novel spatial matching techniques based on exogenous weather data and geographical locations of residence, respectively. We show that the construction of a wind turbine within a treatment radius of 4,000 metres around households has a significantly negative effect on life satisfaction. For larger treatment radii, no negative externalities can be detected. Moreover, the effect is transitory, vanishing after five years at the latest. As wind turbines are addressed at avoiding negative externalities of local pollutant and global greenhouse gas emissions, they fulfil an important role in the de-carbonization of electricity systems world-wide. Comparing the imposed spatially and temporally limited externalities with the avoided externalitiesfrom emissions, the positive impact of wind turbines is by several magnitudes higher than the negative.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, social acceptance, wind power, wind turbines, renewables, externalities, SOEP, GIS, spatial analysis
    JEL: C23 Q42 Q51 R20
    Date: 2015
  15. By: Lasierra, Jose Manuel; Molina, Jose Alberto; Ortega, Raquel
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore differentials in the job satisfaction and the organizational commitment of Baby Boomers and Generation X. In light of multiple age segments in the workforce, and the ageing population, human resource management strategies aimed at attracting, engaging, and retaining employees of all ages are of strategic importance. Through the use of the large-scale Quality of Life at Work, 2006-2010 survey (Spain), we have carried out an empirical approach that points to real and significant differences between these two generations, with respect to wages, leisure time, co-worker relationships, occupations, and human relationships. The findings of our study suggest that management will increasingly be required to take the generational diversity of the workforce into account. The value of this paper is to show several marked differences between generation groups in the labour market and, subsequently, it concludes by considering the implications of our results for work management both in theory and in practice.
    Keywords: Generational groups, work organization, job satisfaction, employee commitment, human resources
    JEL: M12 M51 M54
    Date: 2015–06–03
  16. By: Abdullah Sürücü (Necmettin Erbakan University Ahmet Kelesoglu Education Faculty); Atila Y (Necmettin Erbakan University Ahmet Kelesoglu Education Faculty); Ali Ünal (Necmettin Erbakan University Ahmet Kelesoglu Education Faculty)
    Abstract: What is expected from schools is to provide a safe learning environment which is suitable for raising socialized adults who will be the producing members of the society. School safety is a safe environment where mainly students and teachers and directors at school feel at home and continue their education without experiencing any anxieties and fears. Subjective well-being is a general evaluation with regard to the life satisfactions and positive - negative sensations of the individuals. This evaluation includes the individuals’ emotional reactions to the events, moods, life satisfactions, cognitive judgments about life satisfactions and satisfactions in living areas such as marriage and work. People experience a high subjective well-being whenever they feel many pleasant and a few unpleasant feelings, whenever they are involved in interesting activities, whenever they experience much happiness and a little sorrow and whenever they are satisfied from their lives. The purpose of this research is to determine school safety and subjective well-being levels based on the opinions of the teachers and students who work at the public high schools in the central districts of Konya province. This research is considered important in terms of determining the opinions of those who spend most of their time at schools in order to provide a safe environment, revealing the existing problems and bringing solution suggestions. The research was carried out in survey model due to its conformity with the subject and purposes. Comparison type survey method was used in the solution of the data. The population of the research consists of all secondary education teachers and students within the borders of Konya province. The schools, teachers and students which are included in the sampling group were determined randomly. “Subjective Well-Being Scale” which was developed by Tuzgöl Dost (2005) and “School Safety Scale” which was developed by Goldberg (2008) and adapted into Turkish by Çankaya and Arabac
    Keywords: School Safety, Subjective Well-Being, Teachers and Students.
    JEL: I29

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