nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒06‒20
eight papers chosen by

  1. Satisfactory time use elasticities of demand and measuring well-being inequality through superposed utilities By Okay Gunes; Armagan Tuna Aktuna-Gunes
  2. Can Having Internal Locus of Control Insure against Negative Shocks? Psychological Evidence from Panel Data By Hielke Buddelmeyer; Nattavudh Powdthavee
  3. Evaluating the efficacy of a general education university course in reducing stress and enhancing well-being By Susanna LAI-YEUNG
  4. Human development and well-being during the great recession. The non-profit sector as a capability enhancing workplace By Andrea Salustri; Federica Viganò
  5. Does Consuming More Make You Happier? Evidence from Chinese Panel Data By Haining Wang; Zhiming Cheng; Russell Smyth
  6. Crime Victimization, Neighbourhood Safety and Happiness in China By Zhiming Cheng; Russell Smyth
  7. China’s Imbalanced Sex Ratio and Satisfaction with Marital Relationships By Zhiming Cheng; Russell Smyth
  8. Labour Supply models By Rolf Aaberge; Ugo Colombino

  1. By: Okay Gunes (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS); Armagan Tuna Aktuna-Gunes (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: In this article, the satisfactory consumption and labor supply elasticities of demand are measured through a model of time allocation that includes eight time assignment equations by using the full time use (the temporal values of the monetary expenditure plus time spent) concept obtained by matching the Classic Family Budget survey with the Time Use survey for Turkey. The cross-sectional data covers the period of 2003-2006 in Turkey. The elasticity results show a clear picture of the relationship between satisfactory consumption and working with commodity demands for Turkey. As a contribution to the literature, we explore the reasons behind the demand for satisfactory consumption through working decisions by measuring well-being inequality for each consumption group. In order to increase the robustness of our result, overall well-being inequality is measured by introducing the axiom of superposed utility of preferences. As expected, overall well-being inequality declines to 0.26, which is 119 percentage points lower than the average rate of well-being inequality (0.57) in Turkey.
    Abstract: Dans cet article, les élasticités de consommation satisfaisante et de l'offre de travail de demande sont mesurées par un modèle d'allocation du temps qui comprend huit équations en utilisant du temps complet (les valeurs temporelles des dépenses monétaires plus les dépenses temporelles) obtenu par l'appariement statistique des enquêtes turques sur le Budget des Familles avec l'enquête sur l'Emploi du Temps. Les données transversales couvrent les années 2003-2006 en Turquie. Les résultats des élasticités montrent une image claire de la relation entre la consommation satisfaisante et l'offre du travail avec les demandes de bien pour la Turquie. Comme contribution à la littérature, nous explorons les raisons derrière de la demande de consommation satisfaisante grâce à la décision de travail en mesurant l'inégalité de bien-être dans chaque groupe de consommation. Afin d'augmenter la robustesse de nos résultats, l'inégalité du bien-être général est mesurée en introduisant l'axiome d'utilité superposée de préférences. Comme prévu, l'inégalité de bien-être général diminue à 0,26 qui est de 119 points de pourcentage moins que le taux moyen de l'inégalité de bien-être général (0,57) en Turquie.
    Date: 2015–02
  2. By: Hielke Buddelmeyer (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne); Nattavudh Powdthavee (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: We investigate whether the intensity of emotional pain following a negative shock is different across the distribution of a person’s locus of control – the extent to which individuals believe that their actions can influence future outcomes. Using panel data from Australia, we show that individuals with strong internal locus of control are psychologically insured against becoming a victim of property crime and death of a close friend, but not against the majority of other life events. The buffering effects vary across gender. Our findings thus add to the existing literature on the benefits of internal locus of control. Classification-D03, I19, J64
    Keywords: Locus of control, resilience, well-being, happiness, HILDA
    Date: 2015–06
  3. By: Susanna LAI-YEUNG (The Open University of Hong Kong)
    Abstract: The literature documents that a substantial percentage of university students experience considerable level of stress and psychological problems that negatively impact on their well-being. Though different student support programmes are often offered on campus, because of various reasons, such as limited number of places in the programmes, time constraint, and students' reluctance to seek-help; such programmes cannot adequately meet students' needs. To address this problem, the author has designed a general education course entitled "Stress and Well-Being" to teach students stress management skills and strategies to enhance their well-being. The course employed a holistic health framework which covers the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions of health. It lasted for 14 weeks with two 2-hour sessions each week. Perceived stress, social problem-solving orientations and depression scores were obtained from one hundred and ninety nine studentsat the end of the course. Comparison with a control group of seventy-four students taking another general education course unrelated to stress and well-being was made. It was found that students in the "treatment" group reported lower level of interpersonal stress and had lower depression scores than students in the control group, though the social problem-solving orientation scores of the two groups were similar. Implications of the present preliminary study and recommendations for future studies are discussed.
    Keywords: stress and well-being, stress management, general education course, university students
  4. By: Andrea Salustri (Fondazione Economia-Università Tor Vergata); Federica Viganò (Free University of Bozen)
    Abstract: The current financial crisis poses severe challenges to the economic system. Specifically, the increasing unemployment and the contraction of firms’ labor demand induce a higher social vulnerability, leading to capability deprivation of individuals (Sen 1999), new sources of poverty, and social exclusion. Consequently, labor productivity is reduced and, due to the fiscal pressure, labor costs increase. The analysis sheds a light on a perverse adjustment mechanism that might run the economic system into a vicious circle: enterprises during crises tend to reduce labor costs by firing employees; people run the risk of an economic marginalization and tend to abandon the labor force in favor of household production. In this scenario, the non-profit sector can exert a crucial role as, by lowering the monetary costs of labor and capital, it can offer employees a capability developing workplace context, where they can experience a reduction of their vulnerability by finding an alternative source of employment. Specifically, we propose a model aimed at regulating the interaction between the formal and the informal sector (NPOs, third sector, cooperatives). The main innovation regards the existence of n non-profit activities that can lower the monetary costs of labor and capital by paying a share of wages and dividends in real terms. In this perspective there is room for the public sector to assign a value to the economic activities that foster social capital, contribute to reduce inequality and increase individual and collective well-being. A statistical analysis of the Italian economic system based on this framework stresses the importance of citizens and firms’ participation at political, economic and social level in finding an equitable, sustainable and durable way out of the crisis. Specifically, we focus on the importance to restate the assessment measure of poverty: not only income and expenditures figures, but also contextual factors and capability development opportunity count for building equitable and sustainable life conditions.
    Keywords: Non-profit institutions, Welfare, well-being and poverty, Vulnerability and social exclusion, Cooperatives Enterprises, Informal Economy, Household Production
    JEL: L33 I3 P13 E26 D13
  5. By: Haining Wang; Zhiming Cheng; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship between consumption and happiness, using panel data from China Family Panel Studies (CFPS). We find that total consumption expenditure has a significant and positive effect on happiness, but we find no evidence of a non-linear relationship between consumption and happiness. There are heterogeneous effects of consumption on happiness across subsamples and for different types of consumption expenditure. We find that relative consumption matters, irrespective if the reference group is defined in terms of consumption at the community or county level or on the basis of age, education and gender. However, the extent to which comparison effects are upward looking, or asymmetric, depend on how the comparison group is defined. We also find that comparison with one’s past consumption has no significant effect on an individual’s happiness.
    Keywords: happiness, consumption, China
    Date: 2015–05
  6. By: Zhiming Cheng; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between happiness, crime victimization and neighbourhood safety in China. We find that being a victim of crime, and having an acquaintance who is a victim of crime, have a negative effect on happiness. The cost of compensating someone who is a victim of crime, such that they are returned to the same position as if they had not been victimized, is similar to the cost of compensating someone who has an acquaintance who is a victim of crime (around 60 per cent of annual household income). Females who are victims of crime, and victims of out-of-home theft and assault/threat, feel less victimized if they have an acquaintance who is also a victim of crime with whom to share their experience. Living in a safe neighbourhood has a positive effect on happiness. The amount needed to compensate someone for living in an unsafe, or neutral neighbourhood, as opposed to safe neighbourhood, is 1500 per cent of annual household income, which is much higher than the shadow price suggested by previous studies for the United States and United Kingdom.
    Keywords: China; Crime victimization; Neighbourhood safety; Happiness
    JEL: D60 I31 K42 O10
    Date: 2015–01
  7. By: Zhiming Cheng; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: China’s imbalanced sex ratio has increased the prevalence of hypergamous (marrying up) and hypogamous (marrying down) marriages. We explore the implications of this phenomena for satisfaction with one’s spouse in terms of sexual satisfaction along a range of dimensions, care received from one’s spouse, affection expressed to, and received from, one’s spouse and the prevalence of domestic violence in the home. The main argument that we develop in the paper is that assortative mating is associated with higher satisfaction levels with one’s spouse because those involved in homogamous marriages will have more shared values, have more empathy for each other and be better able to communicate with each other, both in terms of everyday living and in terms of their sex lives. We test this argument using data from the China Health and Family Life Survey. We find considerable support for the argument that marrying up, or down, lowers satisfaction with one’s spouse.
    Date: 2015–03
  8. By: Rolf Aaberge; Ugo Colombino (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: This paper is published as Chapter 7 of Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling edited by Cathal O’'Donoghue, and issued in the series Contributions to Economic Analysis by Emerald Publishing Group. The purpose of the paper is to provide a detailed discussion in relation to the development of the field of labour supply focused microsimulation models and methodological choices. The paper identifies three methodologies for modelling labour supply • *The Reduced Form Approach • *The Structural “Marginalist” Approach • *The Random Utility Maximisation Approach The paper considers issues associated with the reliability of structural models relative to (ex-post) experimental or quasi-experimental analysis. Recognising however the need to undertake ex-ante analysis, it questions, whether there are alternatives to structural models and how can we evaluate structural models and how they are compared with other approaches. The paper then describes approaches to utilising these models for policy simulation in terms of producing and interpreting simulation outcomes, outlining an extensive literature of policy analyses utilising the approach. Also labour supply is not only central to modelling behavioural response but also modelling optimal tax-benefit systems, with a focus on a computational approach, given some of the challenges of the theoretical approach. Combining labour supply results with welfare functions enables the social evaluation of policy simulations. Combining welfare functions and labour supply functions, the chapter then identifies how to model socially optimal income taxation.
    Keywords: inequality; poverty; deprivation; multidimensional well-being; capabilities and functionings
    JEL: D10 D31 H21 H24 J20
    Date: 2015–04

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