nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒07‒25
ten papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Anthropometric Dividends of Czechoslovakia’s Break Up By Joan Costa-i-Font; Lucia Kossarova
  2. Investigating the Relationship between Happiness and Personality by Text Mining By Hyung Jun Ahn; Hyun Hee Woo
  4. What does contribute to successful integration of social media in higher education? By Young Ju Joo; Yoon Jeon Kim; You Jin Jung; Eugene Lim; Kwanghi Lee
  5. Historical Analysis of National Subjective Wellbeing using Millions of Digitized Books By Hills, Thomas; Proto, Eugenio; Sgroi, Daniel
  6. Does Worker Wellbeing Affect Workplace Performance? By Alex Bryson; John Forth; Lucy Stokes
  7. Accounting for Adaptation in the Economics of Happiness By Miles Kimball; Ryan Nunn; Dan Silverman
  8. How was the Weekend? How the Social Context Underlies Weekend Effects in Happiness and other Emotions for US Workers By John F. Helliwell; Shun Wang
  9. How does fiscal decentralization affect within-regional disparities in well-being? Evidence from health inequalities in Italy By Cinzia Di Novi; Massimiliano Piacenza; Silvana Robone; Gilberto Turati
  10. Measurement Scales and Welfarist Social Choice By Michael Morreau; John A Weymark

  1. By: Joan Costa-i-Font; Lucia Kossarova
    Abstract: Processes of transition to democracy and country break up stand out as ideal experiments to estimate the impact of wide institutional reform on well-being. Changes in population heights are regarded as virtuous pointers of well-being improvements in psycho-social environments, which improve with democracy. We analyzed a unique dataset containing individual heights in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to measure the retrospective wellbeing effects of the two transitions to liberal democracy and capitalism after the split up of Czechoslovakia. An additional year spent under democracy increases height by 0.286cm for Slovaks and 0.148cm for Czechs. Results were robust to using an alternative dataset and suggest that although transition paths differ across the two countries, the absolute height gap between Slovaks and the Czechs did not change. Slovaks benefited more than the Czechs in the bottom and mid tercile.
    Keywords: height, democracy, transition, secession, Czechoslovakia, Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition, height dimorphism
    Date: 2015–06
  2. By: Hyung Jun Ahn (Hongik University); Hyun Hee Woo (Hongik University)
    Abstract: Despite the growing interest in happiness in social science, empirical understanding of how the individual definition and perception of happiness affect experiential consumption is still limited. Prior studies have found that the specific meaning of happiness individuals adopt determines the choices they make. An individual’s definition of happiness affects choice; defining happiness more as excitement (calm) increases the tendency to choose an exciting (calm) option over a calm (exciting) option. Extending this stream of research, we used the Big Five scale which is widely used in social science and marketing research. To address the research problem, we adopted computational text mining method. Over a thousand of Internet blog texts that express the happy mood of the authors were analyzed using LIWC, a text mining program. The analysis uncovered the differences in the authors’ style of happy experience depending on the personality features of them that were also discovered from the texts.
    Keywords: Happiness, Experiential Consumption, Big Five Personality, Emotion, Text- Mining
    Abstract: The purpose of this study is to determine the level of service orientation as a personality trait of logistics employees in the logistics industry and to investigate the impact of service orientation on job satisfaction and intention to leave. In this study, a casual model was offered to test the effects of logistics employees’ service orientation as a personality trait on job satisfaction and intention to leave. The scales developed previously were used to measure the independent variable, service orientation, and the dependent variables, job satisfaction and intention to leave. In this study, purposive sampling method was used and the logistics employees of logistics companies in Türkiye were included in the field research. Data were gathered from hotel employees by means of a questionnaire. Frequencies, descriptive statistics, factor analysis, correlation, and regression analysis were used to analyze the data.
    Keywords: Service orientation, job satisfaction, intention to leave, logistics employees, logistics
  4. By: Young Ju Joo (Ewha Womans University); Yoon Jeon Kim (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); You Jin Jung (Ewha Womans University); Eugene Lim (Ewha Womans University); Kwanghi Lee (Suwon Science College)
    Abstract: Social media has become an important communication channel in higher education and provides unique affordances to support effective and rich collaboration among learners (Bogdanov et al., 2012). While accumulating evidence supports educational affordances of social media (e.g., Fouser, 2010; Shin & Chon, 2013), there is still insufficient knowledge regarding instructional strategies to increase learners’ satisfaction and continued intention to use social media for learning. In the present study, we adapted the Information System Success Model (DeLone & McLean, 2003) and investigated how features of social media (i.e., system quality and service quality) and learners’ experience (i.e., sense of community and flow) influence learners’ satisfaction and continued intention to use. The data was collected from a large lecture class (N = 310) in a 4-year university in South Korea, where students collaboratively worked as a small group (7—8 per group) throughout the semester, and the instructor encouraged them to use social media of their choice (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). All instruments use 5-point Likert type scale, and they demonstrated acceptable reliability supported by the Cronbach’s alpha values of .91 for sense of community, .87 for system quality, .78 for service quality, .90 for satisfaction, .79 for intention to use, and .90 for flow. Following the two-step approach (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988), we examined the measurement model of the model (i.e., how adequately the measurements capture the underlying construct), and it demonstrated an acceptable fit (TLI = .99, CFI = .99, and RMSEA = .04). The final model obtained from removing a couple of non-significant paths indicates that sense of community, system and service quality of social media positively influence learners’ flow experience, which also mediates satisfaction. System and service quality of social media directly influence learners’ satisfaction while only system quality affects learners’ continued intention to use social media. Learners’ satisfaction also positively influences their intention to use social media. We can drive instructional strategies that facilitate successful integration of social media. First, the instructor needs to carefully consider various instructional strategies of how to increase sense of community and choose social media with high levels of system and service quality to enhance learners’ flow experience and satisfaction. Second, the selected social media should offer various functions that can be readily used to promote collaborative learning (e.g., sharing resources and group discussions).
    Keywords: Sense of community, System quality, Service quality, Flow, Satisfaction, Intention to use
  5. By: Hills, Thomas (Department of Psychology, University of Warwick); Proto, Eugenio (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, CAGE and IZA); Sgroi, Daniel (Department of Economics, University of Warwick and CAGE)
    Abstract: We present the first attempt to construct a long-run historical measure of subjective wellbeing using language corpora derived from millions of digitized books. While existing measures of subjective wellbeing go back to at most the 1970s, we can go back at least 200 years further using our methods. We analyse data for six countries (the USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain). To highlight some results, we need a positive short-run effect for GDP and life expectancy on subjective wellbeing. An increase of 1% life expectancy is equivalent to more than 5% increase in yearly GDP. One year of internal conflict costs the equivalent of a 50% drop in GDP per year in terms of subjective wellbeing. Public debt, on the other hand, has a short-run positive effect. Our estimated index of subjective wellbeing generally does not feature any positive trend, which is consistent with the Easterlin paradox, although we caution against long term analysis given the historical variation of written texts (which parallel similar issues with historical GDP statistics).
    Keywords: Historical Subjective Wellbeing ; Big Data ; Google Books ; GDP ; Conflict JEL Classification: N3 ; N4 ; O1 ; D6
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Alex Bryson; John Forth; Lucy Stokes
    Abstract: This paper uses linked employer-employee data to investigate the relationship between employees' subjective well-being and workplace performance in Britain. The analyses show a clear, positive and statistically-significant relationship between the average level of job satisfaction at the workplace and workplace performance. This finding is present in both cross-sectional and panel analyses and is robust to various estimation methods and model specifications. In contrast, we find no association between levels of job-related affect and workplace performance.
    Keywords: Subjective well being, job satisfaction, job-related affect, workplace performance
    JEL: J28
    Date: 2015–07
  7. By: Miles Kimball; Ryan Nunn; Dan Silverman
    Abstract: Reported happiness provides a potentially useful way to evaluate unpriced goods and events; but measures of subjective well-being (SWB) often revert to the mean after responding to events, and this hedonic adaptation creates challenges for interpretation. Previous work tends to estimate time-invariant effects of events on happiness. In the presence of hedonic adaptation, this restriction can lead to biases, especially when comparing events to which people adapt at different rates. Our paper provides a flexible, extensible econometric framework that accommodates adaptation and permits the comparison of happiness-relevant life events with dissimilar hedonic adaptation paths. We present a method that is robust to individual fixed effects, imprecisely-dated data, and permanent consequences. The method is used to analyze a variety of events in the Health and Retirement Study panel. Many of the variables studied have substantial consequences for subjective well-being - consequences that differ greatly in their time profiles.
    JEL: C1 D6 I31
    Date: 2015–07
  8. By: John F. Helliwell; Shun Wang
    Abstract: In this paper we estimate the size of weekend effects for seven emotions and then explore their main determinants for the working population in the United States, using the Gallup/Healthways US Daily Poll 2008-2012. We first find that weekend effects exist for all emotions, and that these effects are not explained by sample selection bias. Full-time workers have a larger weekend effects than do part- time workers for all emotions except sadness, for which weekend effects are almost identical for all workers. We then explore the sources of weekend effects and find that workplace trust and workplace social relations, combined with differences in social time spent with family and friends, together almost fully explain the weekend effects for happiness, laughter, enjoyment and sadness, for both full-time and part-time workers, with significant but smaller proportions explained for the remaining three emotions - worry, anger and stress.
    JEL: I31 J81
    Date: 2015–07
  9. By: Cinzia Di Novi (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari, Italy); Massimiliano Piacenza (University of Torino, Department of Economics, Social Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics (ESOMAS), Italy; Italian National Research Council, Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth (CNR-IRCrES), Moncalieri (TO), Italy.); Silvana Robone (University of Insubria, Department of Economics, Italy;); Gilberto Turati (University of Torino, Department of Economics, Social Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics (ESOMAS), Italy)
    Abstract: This paper aims at investigating empirically the impact of fiscal decentralization reforms on inequality in well-being. In particular, we look at the effects on health inequalities following the assignment of larger tax power to the Italian Regions for financing their health expenditure, starting from the end of the Nineties. Exploiting large differences in the size of the tax base across Regions, we find that fiscal decentralization processes that attribute a greater tax power to lower government tiers, besides reducing inefficiencies of healthcare policies, seem to be effective in reducing also within-regional disparities in health outcomes. However, the degree of economic development – on which depends the actual fiscal autonomy from Central government – significantly affects the effectiveness of these reforms and highlights the importance to take properly into account the specific features of the context where the decentralization of power is implemented.
    Keywords: fiscal decentralization, regional governments, healthcare policy, health inequalities.
    JEL: H75 I14 I18 R50
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Michael Morreau (UiT - The Arctic University of Norway); John A Weymark (Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: The social welfare functional approach to social choice theory fails to distinguish between a genuine change in individual well-beings from a merely representational change due to the use of dierent measurement scales. A generalization of the concept of a social welfare functional is introduced that explicitly takes account of the scales that are used to measure well-beings so as to distinguish between these two kinds of changes. This generalization of the standard theoretical framework results in a more satisfactory formulation of welfarism, the doctrine that social alternatives are evaluated and socially ranked solely in terms of the well-beings of the relevant individuals. This scale-dependent form of welfarism is axiomatized using this framework. The implications of this approach for characterizing classes of social welfare orderings are also considered.
    Keywords: grading; measurement scales; social welfare functionals; utility aggregation; welfarism
    JEL: D7 D6
    Date: 2015–07–13

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