nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2015‒12‒01
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Other-Regarding Preferences and Reciprocity: Insights from Experimental Findings and Satisfaction Data By L. Becchetti; V. Pelligra; S.F. Taurino
  2. Top Incomes and Human Well-Being Around the World By Richard V. Burkhauser; Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Nattavudh Powdthavee
  3. Income inequality and social well-being By Nanak Kakwani; Hyun H. Son
  4. Local-Level Immigration and Life Satisfaction: The EU Enlargement Experience in England and Wales By Ivlevs, Artjoms; Veliziotis, Michail
  5. Do Losses Bite More than Gains? Evidence from a Panel Quantile Regression Analysis of Subjective Well-being in Japan By Fang, Zheng; Niimi, Yoko

  1. By: L. Becchetti; V. Pelligra; S.F. Taurino
    Abstract: We measure satisfaction about experimental outcomes, personal and other participants’ behaviour after a multiperiod ‘hybrid contribution’ multiplayer prisoner’s dilemma (the Vote-with-the-Wallet game). Our work shows that participants who cooperated above median (which we define as strong cooperators) are significantly more satisfied with the game in proportion to their cooperative choice, irrespective of the material pay- off they obtain. On the contrary, their satisfaction for the other players’ behavior is negatively correlated with the extent of their own cooperative behavior and the non-cooperative behavior of the latter. The satisfaction of strong cooperators for their behavior in the game depends in turn on the share of their own cooperative choices. We document that a broader utility function including heterogeneity in expectations on other players’ behavior, other-regarding preferences, and a negative reciprocity argument may account for the combination of the behavioral and self-reported data.
    Keywords: Subjective Well-Being, social preferences, Vote-with-the-Wallet, lab experiment
    JEL: C72 C92 I31
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Richard V. Burkhauser; Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Nattavudh Powdthavee
    Abstract: The share of income held by the top 1 percent in many countries around the world has been rising persistently over the last 30 years. But we continue to know little about how the rising top income shares affect human well-being. This study combines the latest data to examine the relationship between top income share and different dimensions of subjective well-being. We find top income shares to be significantly correlated with lower life evaluation and higher levels of negative emotional well-being, but not positive emotional well-being. The results are robust to household income, individual's socio-economic status, and macroeconomic environment controls.
    Keywords: Top income, life evaluation, well-being, income inequality, World Top Income Database, Gallup World Poll
    JEL: D63 I3
    Date: 2015–11
  3. By: Nanak Kakwani (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia); Hyun H. Son (Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines)
    Abstract: Deepening inequality has become the subject of intense debates, particularly on growth, poverty, and development. This paper shows that inequality has a bearing on well-being, which comprises a set of capabilities indicating the extent of freedom individuals have in leading their lives. It examines inequality in different dimensions of well-being across Brazilian municipalities and measures the impact of income inequality on well-being. Findings reveal that Brazil has improved outcomes related to material well-being, health, education, living conditions, and labor market activities, and has reduced disparities in these areas. The study finds that income inequality hampers growth in well-being, except for indicators closely associated with education and human capital development. Findings suggest that while the impacts of income inequality differ across various dimensions of well-being, reducing inequality will generally help improve the well-being of a society
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Ivlevs, Artjoms (University of the West of England, Bristol); Veliziotis, Michail (University of the West of England, Bristol)
    Abstract: The 2004 European Union enlargement resulted in an unprecedented wave of 1.5 million workers relocating from Eastern Europe to the UK. We study how this migrant inflow affected life satisfaction of native residents in England and Wales. Combining the British Household Panel Survey with the Local Authority level administrative data from the Worker Registration Scheme, we find that higher local level immigration increased life satisfaction of young people and decreased life satisfaction of old people. This finding is driven by the initial 'migration shock' – inflows that occurred in the first two years after the enlargement. Looking at different life domains, we also find some evidence that, irrespective of age, higher local level immigration increased natives' satisfaction with their dwelling, partner and social life.
    Keywords: immigration, life satisfaction, United Kingdom, 2004 EU enlargement
    JEL: F22 J15 I31
    Date: 2015–11
  5. By: Fang, Zheng; Niimi, Yoko
    Abstract: This paper conducts an empirical analysis of the distributional effects of the determinants of happiness by applying quantile regression techniques to panel data from the “Preference Parameters Study” of Osaka University, a nationally representative survey conducted in Japan. The key question examined in the paper is whether we observe an asymmetry between the effects of positive and negative changes on individual happiness, and if it exists, whether it is observed uniformly across the happiness distribution. Such an asymmetry is referred to as loss aversion in prospect theory. Loss aversion effects are analyzed with respect to relative income as well as expected future income changes. We find that feeling relatively poor has a greater negative effect on happiness than the positive effect of feeling relatively rich, i.e., losses bite more than gains. However, no evidence for loss aversion is detected with respect to expected future income changes as individual happiness is found to be more sensitive to gains than to losses, though the happiness of the least happy group is found to be affected more by losses than by equivalent gains.
    Keywords: Happiness; Japan; Loss Aversion; Panel Quantile Regression; Subjective Well-being
    JEL: C31 I31
    Date: 2015–11–25

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