nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒11‒15
three papers chosen by

  1. Minding the Happiness Gap: Political Institutions and Perceived Quality of Life in Transition By Nikolova, Milena
  2. The “Costs” of Informal Care: An Analysis of the Impact of Elderly Care on Caregivers' Subjective Well-being in Japan By Niimi, Yoko
  3. Boss Competence and Worker Well-being By Artz, Benjamin; Goodall, Amanda H; Oswald, Andrew J

  1. By: Nikolova, Milena (IZA)
    Abstract: Along with political and economic changes, the fall of the socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union brought about fundamental institutional reforms. Several studies have examined the causes of the increasing unhappiness which accompanied the transition process, including deteriorating public goods, rising inequality, income volatility, stagnating labor market conditions, and changing norms. Yet, few papers have sought explanations for the life satisfaction differentials between transition and non-transition economies. In this paper, I specifically examine the life satisfaction gap between post-socialist and advanced countries and the role of political institutions in explaining this gap. My results imply that both macroeconomic factors and the rule of law explain the overall life satisfaction differential between the advanced and transition societies. The rule of law had an additional role of reducing the happiness gap in the 1990s and may have even reversed it in the post-crisis years. As institutions and macroeconomic conditions continue to improve, post-socialist countries may complete their transformation processes and achieve quality of life levels comparable with those in the West.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, institutions, transition economies
    JEL: D02 E02 I31 P20
    Date: 2015–11
  2. By: Niimi, Yoko
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of providing informal care to elderly parents on caregivers' subjective well-being using unique data from the "Preference Parameters Study" of Osaka University, a nationally representative survey conducted in Japan. The estimation results indicate heterogeneous effects: while informal elderly care does not have a significant impact on the happiness level of married caregivers regardless of whether they take care of their own parents or parents-in law and whether or not they reside with them, it has a negative and significant impact on the happiness level of unmarried caregivers who take care of their parents outside their home. These findings shed light on the important role that formal care services could play in reducing the burden on caregivers, particularly unmarried caregivers who presumably receive less support from family members.
    Keywords: Aging; Caregiving; Elderly Care; Happiness; Informal Care; Japan; Long-term Care Insurance; Parental Care; Subjective Well-being
    JEL: D10 I18 I31 J14
    Date: 2015–11–12
  3. By: Artz, Benjamin (University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh); Goodall, Amanda H (Cass Business School, City University London, and IZA); Oswald, Andrew J (Department of Economics University of Warwick, CAGE and IZA)
    Abstract: Nearly all workers have a supervisor or ‘boss’. Yet little is known about how bosses influence the quality of employees’ lives. This study is a cautious attempt to provide new formal evidence. First, it is shown that a boss’s technical competence is the single strongest predictor of a worker’s job satisfaction. Second, it is demonstrated in longitudinal data -- after controlling for fixed effects -- that even if a worker stays in the same job and workplace a rise in the competence of a supervisor is associated with an improvement in the worker’s well-being. Third, a variety of robustness checks, including tentative instrumental-variable results, are reported. These findings, which draw on US and British data, contribute to an emerging literature on the role of expert leaders in organizations. Finally, the paper discusses potential weaknesses of existing evidence and necessary future research.
    Keywords: bosses ; expert leaders ; leadership ; job satisfaction ; happiness
    JEL: I31 J28 M54
    Date: 2015

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