nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒10‒17
eight papers chosen by

  1. National Well-being Policy and a Weighted Approach to Human Feelings By Oswald, Andrew J; O’Donnell, Gus
  2. Height, Weight and Well-Being for Rural, Urban and Migrant Workers in China By Lee, Wang-Sheng; Zhao, Zhong
  3. Smoking Bans, Cigarette Prices and Life Satisfaction By Reto Odermatt; Alois Stutzer
  4. Labour Force Participation, Human Capital and Wellbeing among Older New Zealanders By Michael P. Cameron; Peggy Koopman-Boyden; Matthew Roskruge
  5. How does fiscal decentralization affect within-regional disparities in well-being? Evidence from health inequalities in Italy By Di Novi, C.;; Piacenza, M.;; Robone, S.;; Turati, G.;
  6. Pianoforte Group: Una storia di successo dei marchi Carpisa - Yamamay - Jaked ispirati alle origini del pensiero economico dell'Economia Civile By Marco Franco; Maurizio Benedetti; Massimo Folador; Roberto Manzi
  7. The Hidden Cost of Globalization: Import Competition and Mental Distress By Colantone, Italo; Crinò, Rosario; Ogliari, Laura
  8. The triad of job satisfaction, work engagement and employee loyalty – The interplay among the concepts By Nina Pološki Vokić; Tomislav Hernaus

  1. By: Oswald, Andrew J (Department of Economics University of Warwick, CAGE and IZA); O’Donnell, Gus (House of Lords, Frontier Economics)
    Abstract: Governments are becoming interested in the concept of human well-being and how truly to assess it. As an alternative to traditional economic measures, some nations have begun to collect information on citizens’ happiness, life satisfaction, and other psychological scores. Yet how could such data actually be used? This paper is a cautious attempt to contribute to thinking on that question. It suggests a possible weighting method to calculate first-order changes in society’s well-being, discusses some of the potential principles of democratic ‘well-being policy’, and (as an illustrative example) reports data on how sub-samples of citizens believe feelings might be weighted.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction ; anxiety ; happiness ; national well-being ; mental health
    JEL: I31 I38 Z18
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Lee, Wang-Sheng (Deakin University); Zhao, Zhong (Renmin University of China)
    Abstract: In general, the happiness literature has paid little attention to the relationship between physical appearance and well-being. In this paper, we examine the link between weight, height and well-being for three distinct samples in China given that attractiveness effects likely vary greatly across sociocultural contexts. As China has recently undergone rapid economic transformation in the urban areas, this empirical exercise is particularly interesting because it can highlight how changing social norms have affected the relationship between physical appearance and subjective well-being. For the rural and migrant samples, we find that for both men and women, big and tall individuals have higher levels of well-being. This is consistent with the notion that the strong are better off when more labor intensive work is the norm. For the urban sample and for urban males in particular, no well-being penalty is found for being obese, unlike previous results based on Western samples. It is very likely that the unique Chinese cultural practice of network building banquets and feasting is behind this finding.
    Keywords: China, subjective well-being, height, weight, semi-parametric
    JEL: I10 I30
    Date: 2015–10
  3. By: Reto Odermatt; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: The consequences of tobacco control policies for individual welfare are difficult to assess, even more so when related consumption choices challenge people's willpower. We therefore evaluate the impact of smoking bans and cigarette prices on subjective well-being by analyzing data for 40 European countries and regions between 1990 and 2011. We exploit the staggered introduction of bans and apply an imputation strategy to study the effect of anti-smoking policies on people with different propensities to smoke. We find that higher cigarette prices reduce the life satisfaction of likely smokers. Overall, smoking bans are barely related to subjective well-being, but increase the life satisfaction of smokers who would like to quit smoking. The latter finding is consistent with cue-triggered models of addiction and the idea of bans as self-control devices.
    Keywords: Smoking bans; cigarette prices; life satisfaction; addiction; self-control
    JEL: D03 D62 H25 H30 I18
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Michael P. Cameron (University of Waikato); Peggy Koopman-Boyden (University of Waikato); Matthew Roskruge (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Along with many other countries, New Zealand is experiencing a rapid rise in the population of older people, both in absolute terms and also as a percentage of the overall population. Older people are increasingly likely to participate in formal employment beyond the age of pension eligibility (65 years in New Zealand). Earlier research has showed that working full-time reduces life satisfaction among New Zealanders 65 years and older, and that this relationship is robust to the inclusion of measures of job satisfaction or the desire to work more or fewer hours. In this paper we investigate the relationship between labour force participation and life satisfaction among older New Zealanders, with specific focus on the mediating role of human capital in the relationship. We utilise data from several waves of the New Zealand General Social Survey (n=5856), and account for the bias due to selection effects and endogeneity using instrumental variables analysis, and control for mental and physical health. Our identification strategy is to use gender, regional-level employment rates, and migration rates as instruments for labour force status. Our results suggest that, should improving wellbeing for older people become an explicit government priority, investing in reducing the push factors for older people to remain in the full-time employment may improve wellbeing.
    Keywords: labour force participation; retirement; subjective wellbeing; life satisfaction; human capital; New Zealand
    JEL: I31 J14 J21 J24
    Date: 2015–09–30
  5. By: Di Novi, C.;; Piacenza, M.;; Robone, S.;; Turati, G.;
    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, thedegree 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 I1 R50
    Date: 2015–09
  6. By: Marco Franco; Maurizio Benedetti; Massimo Folador; Roberto Manzi
    Abstract: Following the path taken with LIUC Paper nr. 275 last year, the present work aims to go deeply in the analysis of the origins of the social science called Civil Economics and the cultural background where it was generated in the mid of the 18th century. The economic model proposed by this School, born in the Naples’ area, was the outcome of a series of studies in the field of philosophy, politics and law lead by illuministic representatives like Vico and Filangieri. This cultural background allowed A. Genovesi to launch the first faculty of Economics in the world. Filangieri, in particular, proved the necessity of limiting the State intervention in economy and business organization to few laws directed to avoid unfair behaviors. Genovesi asserted the importance of values like mutual confidence, respectful relationships and ethical behavior to create the favorable background for individual and general development. Both of them recognized the relevance of the human being and its social behavior in the organization of Economic policies, in order to find out the best rules and ways of creating general well-being. Quite a big difference in respect of the prevailing role played by financial markets and globalization in today’s economy. In line with this “social” approach to Economics, the paper goes further in analyzing the relationship between economic development and individual or collective happiness and the importance of investing in human capital and highly qualified competences for a sustainable economic development. The study tried then to answer to the following question: can these theoretical assumptions and findings have a positive application to the present economic and business organization? We found out that some medium-large companies originally established in the center-south regions of Italy had a greater success when they moved their headquarters to the north. A meaningful example is represented by Pianoforte Holding, owner of well-known trademarks like Yamamay, Carpisa and Jaked (lingerie, suitcases, sport garments), with several points of sale all over the world. Created in the Naples’ area by two families of entrepreneurs, this company represents a sort of meltdown of the tradition, culture and creativity of that area - where Civil Economics was born - and the opportunities offered by the soft and hard infrastructure of services developed in Lombardy, where the main operations are now situated. Preserving the original soul and values, but investing also in innovation and individual commitment, for example through a high level corporate Academy, this Group represents today a good case of valorization of cultural and knowledge diversities, in an ongoing search of shared excellence.
    Date: 2015–10
  7. By: Colantone, Italo; Crinò, Rosario; Ogliari, Laura
    Abstract: We study the effect of import competition on workers’ mental distress. To this purpose, we source information on the mental health of British workers from the British Household Panel Survey, and combine it with measures of import competition in more than 100 industries over 2001-2007. We find an increase in import competition to have a positive, statistically significant, and large impact on mental distress. The effect is strikingly robust to controlling for a wide range of individual, household, and industry characteristics. We show that part of the effect is due to import competition worsening the current labor market situation of individuals, in terms of higher probability of job displacement and lower wage growth. Additionally, and most importantly, we show that import competition worsens mental health also for individuals witnessing no change in observable labor market conditions, by increasing stress on the job and worsening expectations about the future.
    Keywords: Individual-level panel data; Subjective well-being; Trade adjustment costs
    JEL: F1
    Date: 2015–10
  8. By: Nina Pološki Vokić (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb); Tomislav Hernaus (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb)
    Abstract: Job satisfaction, work engagement and employee loyalty are popular human resource (HR) concepts that significantly contribute to individual and organizational performance. While they have been widely studied, their interplay was rarely explored. Therefore, a field study was conducted on the sample of 567 employees from a large-sized Croatian organization. We have examined the interaction among job satisfaction, work engagement and employee loyalty. The correlation analysis revealed significant positive relationships between explored HR concepts. Single and multiple regressions showed that job satisfaction is a significant predictor of work engagement, while work engagement strongly predicts employee loyalty. Furthermore, a mediation analysis confirmed that work engagement mediates the relationship between job satisfaction and employee loyalty.
    Keywords: job satisfaction, work engagement, employee loyalty, Croatia, mediation analysis
    JEL: M5
    Date: 2015–10–07

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