nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒08‒25
seven papers chosen by

  1. Limited Self-Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness By Alois Stutzer; Armando N. Meier
  2. Religious Responses to “Selling Happiness”: Consequences for Attitude toward the Ad and the Advertised Brand By Jamel Khenfer; Steven Shepherd; Aaron Kay
  3. Trust, Well-Being and Growth: New Evidence and Policy Implications By Yann Algan; Pierre Cahuc
  4. Rising Aspirations Dampen Satisfaction By Andrew E. Clark; Akiko Kamesaka; Teruyuki Tamura
  5. Taking the Well-being of Future Generations Seriously : Do People Contribute More to Intra-temporal or Inter-temporal Public Goods? By Gilles Grolleau; Angela Sutan; Radu Vranceanu
  6. Crime Victimisation and Subjective Well-Being: Panel Evidence from Australia By Mahuteau, Stéphane; Zhu, Rong
  7. Sensitivity of the Index of Economic Well-Being to Different Measures of Poverty: LICO vs LIM By Brendon Andrews

  1. By: Alois Stutzer; Armando N. Meier
    Abstract: Is obesity the consequence of an optimally chosen lifestyle or do people consume too much relative to their long-term preferences? The latter perspective accepts that people might face self-control problems when exposed to the immediate gratification from food. We exploit unique survey data for Switzerland in multinomial logit and ordered probit regressions to study i) the covariates of obesity including indicators of self-control, and ii) the consequences of obesity on the subjective well-being of people with limited willpower. Our main finding is that obesity decreases the well-being of individuals who report having limited self-control, but not otherwise.
    Keywords: obesity; revealed preference; self-control problem; subjective well-being
    JEL: D12 D91 I12 I31
    Date: 2015–08
  2. By: Jamel Khenfer (AMU - Aix-Marseille Université); Steven Shepherd (Duke University (Durham, USA)); Aaron Kay (Duke University (Durham, USA))
    Abstract: Many brands sell their products with the promise that the consumer will experience happiness. Intuitively, appealing to people's desire to be happy should be universally well received. In two studies, we show that it is not necessarily the case by examining the moderating role of consumer religiosity. We further show that the moderating role of religiosity on how people respond to these kinds of ads depends (1) on the motivational foundations of religious activity (intrinsic vs. extrinsic), and (2) on the salience of one’s religiousness at the time of ad exposure.
    Date: 2015–02–26
  3. By: Yann Algan (ECON - Département d'économie - Sciences Po); Pierre Cahuc (ECON - Département d'économie - Sciences Po)
    Abstract: This survey reviews the recent research on trust, institutions, and economic development. It discusses the various measures of trust and documents the substantial heterogeneity of trust across space and time. The conceptual mechanisms that explain the influence of trust on economic performance and the methods employed to identify the causal impact of trust on economic performance are reviewed. We document the mechanisms of interactions between trust and economic development in the realms of finance, innovation, the organization of firms, the labor market, and the product market. The last part reviews recent progress to identify how institutions and policies can affect trust.
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Akiko Kamesaka (Aoyama Gakuin University, ESRIN - European State Research Institute - ESA); Teruyuki Tamura (Sophia University - Sophia University)
    Abstract: It is commonly-believed that education is a good thing for individuals. Yet its correlation with subjective well-being is most often only weakly positive, or even negative, despite the many associated better individual-level outcomes We here square the circle using novel Japanese data on happiness aspirations. If reported happiness comes from a comparison of outcomes to aspirations, then any phenomenon raising both at the same time will have only a muted effect on reported well-being. We find that around half of the happiness effect of education is cancelled out by higher aspirations, and suggest a similar dampening effect for income.
    Date: 2015–03
  5. By: Gilles Grolleau (Unité MIAJ - INRA - Mathématiques et Informatique Appliquées - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA)); Angela Sutan (ESC Dijon Bourgogne - ESC Dijon Bourgogne); Radu Vranceanu (ESSEC - Economics Department - Essec Business School)
    Abstract: We investigate the dynamics of cooperation in public good games when contributions to the public good are immediately redistributed across contributors (intra-temporal transfers) and when contributions to the public good by the current group are transferred over time to a future group (inter-temporal transfers). We show that people are more cooperative in inter-temporal contexts than in intra-temporal contexts. We also find that subjects invest more on average in public goods when they know in advance their inheritance from the past.
    Abstract: Nous étudions un jeu du bien public avec transferts inter temporels. Les résultats indiquent une forme d'altruisme intergénérationnel.
    Date: 2013–09–25
  6. By: Mahuteau, Stéphane (NILS, Flinders University); Zhu, Rong (NILS, Flinders University)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of physical violence and property crimes on subjective well-being in Australia. Our methodology improves on previous contributions by (i) controlling for the endogeneity of victimisation and (ii) analysing the heterogeneous effect of victimisation along the whole distribution of well-being. Using fixed effects panel estimation, we find that both types of crimes reduce reported well-being to a large extent, with physical violence exerting a larger average effect than property crimes. Furthermore, using recently developed panel data quantile regression model with fixed effects, we show that the negative effects of both crimes are highly heterogeneous, with a monotonic decrease over the distribution of subjective well-being.
    Keywords: victimisation, subjective well-being, panel quantile regression
    JEL: C21 I31
    Date: 2015–08
  7. By: Brendon Andrews
    Abstract: This report uses an exercise similar to comparative statics to show that the growth rate of the Index of Economic Well-being (IEWB) for 1981-2011 was much greater when poverty was measured using Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs) than it was when poverty was measured using Statistics Canada’s Low Income Measures (LIMs). The LICO, an absolute definition of poverty, also exhibited greater cyclical variation than the LIM, a relative definition of poverty. The IEWB appears to reflect these trends. Real income growth was determined to be a key factor in explaining these trends because absolute poverty lines remain fixed while relative poverty lines shift in response to changes in real income. The report concludes that there is a significant difference in the growth rate of the IEWB between measures, although not as large as it would be in the absence of linear scaling methodology. Consequently, the use of the LIM instead of the LICO results in a downward bias on economic well-being growth in Canada. The choice of the ‘appropriate poverty measure’ therefore has significant consequences for the discussion of trends in economic well-being.
    Keywords: Poverty, Poverty Gap, LICO, LIM, Poverty Ratio, Well-Being, Economic Security, Equality, Index, Canada, Provinces
    JEL: I30 I32 I31 I39 N32
    Date: 2015–08

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.