nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒08‒13
six papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons? By Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
  2. Universal childcare and long-term effects on child well-being: Evidence from Canada By Laetitia Lebihan; Catherine Haeck; Philip Merrigan
  3. Do More of Those in Misery Suffer from Poverty, Unemployment or Mental Illness? By Flèche, Sarah; Layard, Richard
  4. The Age-Happiness Puzzle: The Role of Economic Circumstances and Financial Satisfaction By Ingebjørg Kristoffersen
  5. Subjective well-being across the lifespan in Europe and Central Asia By Bauer,Jan Michael; Levin,Victoria; Munoz Boudet,Ana Maria; Nie,Peng; Sousa-Poza,Alfonso
  6. Does parenthood make happy people happier? A lifecycle analysis using panel quantile regression By Samoilova, Evgenia; Vance, Colin

  1. By: Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
    Abstract: Online social networks such as Facebook disclose an unprecedented volume of personal information amplifying the occasions for social comparisons. We test the hypothesis that the use of social networking sites (SNS) increases people's dissatisfaction with their income. After addressing endogeneity issues, our results suggest that SNS users have a higher probability to compare their achievements with those of others. This effect seems stronger than the one exerted by TV watching, it is particularly strong for younger people, and it affects men and women in a similar way.
    Date: 2015–07
  2. By: Laetitia Lebihan (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal); Catherine Haeck (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal); Philip Merrigan (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal)
    Abstract: Starting in 1997, the Canadian province of Quebec implemented a $5 per day universal childcare policy for children aged less than 5 years old. This reform significantly increased mothers' participation in the labor market as well as the proportion of children attending subsidized childcare. In this paper, we evaluate the long-term effects of the policy on child well-being (health, behavior, motor and social development) using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. We follow treated children for more than 9 years and investigate the impact well beyond the first few years of the policy. A nonexperimental evaluation framework based on multiple pre- and posttreatment periods is used to estimate the policy effects. We show that the reform had negative effects on preschool children's well-being, but these effects tend to disappear as the child gets older. We find that this pattern persist even ten years after the implementation of the reform.
    Keywords: universal childcare, child well-being, childcar policy, natural experiment
    JEL: J13 J18 I31 I20
    Date: 2015–07
  3. By: Flèche, Sarah (CEP, London School of Economics); Layard, Richard (London School of Economics)
    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 I31 I32
    Date: 2015–07
  4. By: Ingebjørg Kristoffersen (Business School, University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: Happiness and satisfaction is often found to be U-shaped in age. Using panel data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, this paper finds a significant age effect in life satisfaction data which appears to be robust and to reflect a genuine lifecycle effect. About half of this observed age effect is accounted for by variation in financial satisfaction. Finally, associations between income and financial satisfaction, between wealth and financial satisfaction, and between financial satisfaction and life satisfaction peak in midlife and decline thereafter. This provides strong support for the hypothesis that material concerns are key drivers of lifecycle effects in happiness and satisfaction.
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Bauer,Jan Michael; Levin,Victoria; Munoz Boudet,Ana Maria; Nie,Peng; Sousa-Poza,Alfonso
    Abstract: This paper uses data from the Integrated Values Survey, the Life in Transition Survey, and the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey to analyze the relation between age and subjective well-being in the Europe and Central Asia region. Although the results generally confirm the findings of previous studies of a U-shaped relation between subjective well-being and age for most of the lifecycle, the paper also finds that well-being declines again after people reach their 60s and 70s, giving rise to an S-shaped relation across the entire lifespan. This pattern generally remains robust for most of the cross-sectional and panel analyses. Hence, despite significant heterogeneity in the pattern of well-being across the lifespan in the Europe and Central Asia region, the paper does not observe high levels of cross-country or cross-cohort variation.
    Keywords: Science Education,Educational Sciences,Youth and Government,Scientific Research&Science Parks,Population&Development
    Date: 2015–07–28
  6. By: Samoilova, Evgenia; Vance, Colin
    Abstract: Drawing on panel data from Germany, this paper analyzes the correlates of happiness, with an eye toward isolating the role of parenthood over the lifecycle. The analysis couples a panel quantile regression with an empirical specification that captures different phases of parenthood, from the year preceding the birth of a child to the time when all adult children have left the household. Together, these features allow us to formally test for heterogeneity in the association of children with happiness according to the intrinsic happiness of the parent, the age mix of their children, and whether adult children reside at home. While the two years following the birth of the first child is associated with significantly higher happiness, this result fades away with age and with the presence of siblings. Moreover, the relationship between parenthood and happiness is relatively invariant to the parent's intrinsic level of happiness.
    Keywords: panel quantile regression,subjective well-being,GSOEP,parenthood
    JEL: J13 C22
    Date: 2015

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