nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒09‒11
four papers chosen by

  1. “. . . Do it with joy!†– Subjective well-being outcomes of working in non-profit organizationsGerman laser industry By Martin Binder
  2. Gratitude and athletes’ life satisfaction: a intra-individual analysis on the moderation of ambivalence over emotional expression By Lung Hung Chen; Chia-Huei Wu; Shouming Chen
  3. Happiness in the Air: How Does a Dirty Sky Affect Subjective Well-being? By Zhang, Xin; Zhang, Xiaobo; Chen, Xi
  4. Fertility and Life Satisfaction in Rural Ethiopia. By Conzo, Pierluigi; Fuochi, Giulia; Mencarini,Letizia

  1. By: Martin Binder (Martin BinderBard College Berlin, Platanenstr. 24, 13156 Berlin, Germany)
    Abstract: Working in non-profit organizations has been shown to be good for individuals'satisfaction with their jobs despite lower incomes. This paper explores the impact of non-profit work on life satisfaction more general for the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and finds a significant positive impact the size about more than a fourth of that of getting widowed. This effect is quite uniform across the subjective well-being distribution, and thus exists also for those who are already happy. Shadow prices peg this effect at around 22.000 GBP p.a., nearly the average amount of equivalent net household income in the sample analyzed (which is roughly 27.000 GBP p.a.). The positive effect can be explained by third sector workers enjoying their day-to-day activities more, being more happy (affectively) and feeling that they are playing a useful role in their lives.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, non-profit organization, life satisfaction, BHPS, job satisfaction
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2015–09–09
  2. By: Lung Hung Chen; Chia-Huei Wu; Shouming Chen
    Abstract: Research on gratitude usually focus on how trait gratitude can contribute to higher subjective well-being, but rarely focus on the role of state gratitude in shaping one’s subjective well-being at a given moment. Focusing on intra-individual differences, the first aim of this study is to examine whether state gratitude will contribute to higher state life satisfaction. Nevertheless, state gratitude may not always contribute to higher state life satisfaction. The second aim of this study is to determinate that when ambivalence over emotional expression in a given moment becomes higher, the association between state gratitude and state life satisfaction will become weaker. Twenty-nine elite student athletes were recruited and completed weekly questionnaires measuring gratitude, life satisfaction, and ambivalence over emotional expression across 10 weeks. Results of hierarchical linear modeling support hypotheses, showing that weekly gratitude positively predicted weekly life satisfaction, but this association was weaker when weekly ambivalence over emotional expression was higher than lower. Contributions to gratitude studies are discussed.
    Keywords: broaden-and-build theory; positive psychology; affect trait; altruism; emotional conflicts
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2015–08
  3. By: Zhang, Xin (Peking University); Zhang, Xiaobo (Peking University); Chen, Xi (Yale University)
    Abstract: Existing studies that evaluate the impact of pollution on human beings understate its negative effect on cognition, mental health, and happiness. This paper attempts to fill in the gap via investigating the impact of air quality on subjective well-being using China as an example. By matching a unique longitudinal dataset at the individual level, which includes self-reported happiness and mental well-being measures, with contemporaneous local air quality and weather information according to the exact date of interview, we show that worse air quality reduces shorter-term hedonic happiness and increases the rate of depressive symptoms. However, life satisfaction, an evaluative measure of happiness, is largely immune from immediate bad air quality.
    Keywords: hedonic happiness, life satisfaction, mental well-being, air quality, China
    JEL: I31 Q51 Q53
    Date: 2015–08
  4. By: Conzo, Pierluigi; Fuochi, Giulia; Mencarini,Letizia (University of Turin)
    Abstract: There is a growing number of studies focusing on the role of fertility in subjective well-being in developed countries while developing countries have been rarely taken into account. We investigate the empirical relationship between fertility and life satisfaction in rural Ethiopia, the largest landlocked country in Africa providing the unique opportunity of panel data availability. Our results suggest that older men benefit the most in terms of life satisfaction from the investment in children, the latter being instead detrimental for women’s subjective well being in reproductive age. In particular, consistently with the related socio-economic theories, we find that the number of children ever born plays a positive role for men’s life satisfaction in older age. Conversely, a new birth produces the opposite effect especially for young women. We argue that this mismatch has two complementary explanations: on the one hand, rather than a source of (labour) support young children represent a burden which traditionally falls on women’s shoulders in the short run; on the other hand, in poor rural areas children can be thought as a valuable long-term investment in a lifecycle perspective. Endogeneity issues are addressed by controlling for lagged life satisfaction in OLS regressions, through fixed effects and the IV approach.
    Date: 2015–06

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.