nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2016‒03‒17
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Misery and mental health By Sarah Flèche; Richard Layard
  2. Research and conceptual development related to well-being at work: between evaluation and intervention By Vincent Grosjean; Nadja Formet; Virginie Althaus; Jean-Luc Kop; Eric Brangier
  3. Migrants, Health, and Happiness: Evidence that Health Assessments Travel with Migrants and Predict Well-Being By Ljunge, Martin
  4. Heterogeneous intergenerational altruism By Antony Millner
  5. Can “happiness data” help evaluate economic policies? By Robert MacCulloch

  1. By: Sarah Flèche; Richard Layard
    Abstract: Mental illness is a far bigger source of human misery than poverty or unemployment, according to research by Sarah Flèche and Richard Layard. They argue that we need to move beyond a purely materialistic conception of misery - and call for increased public spending on mental health. Their study finds that dissatisfaction with life can have many causes - but mental illness is the most important. If people cannot enjoy life, they are just as deprived whether the cause is outside themselves or within.
    Keywords: Mental health, life-satisfaction, wellbeing, poverty, unemployment
    JEL: I1 I3 I31 I32
    Date: 2016–02
  2. By: Vincent Grosjean (Département Homme au Travail - Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS)); Nadja Formet (Département Homme au Travail - Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS)); Virginie Althaus (Département Homme au Travail - Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS)); Jean-Luc Kop (INTERPSY - Laboratoire de psychologie de l'interaction et des relations intersubjectives - UL - Université de Lorraine); Eric Brangier (INTERPSY - Laboratoire de psychologie de l'interaction et des relations intersubjectives - UL - Université de Lorraine)
    Abstract: INRS initiated in 2003 a research theme around well-being at work. This axis of research was coherent with the work of the European institution on health and safety. The term “well-being” is also a possible strategy for enterprises to develop their performance with a paradigm shift from stress and fear management. It is more inclusive for elderly workers, people suffering of a disability, etc. The work carried out in INRS has been built under a common conceptual umbrella. A new paradigm has emerged which seems in phase with emerging risk and corporate governance evolutions. We can notice these common characteristics of well-being approaches: -less emphasis on risk objectivation, as far as psychosocial phenomenon are concerned with the subjective relation to work; -the reducton of bundaries between risk management and other corporate questions such as ages management, motivation, competencies; -the necessity of early action and the relative lose of weight of diagnosis; -the central role of workers in the identification of their difficulties and as actors of change. Two main tools have been developed in INRS : The first one called "Satin" has been built around a health questionnaire developed in partnership with the University of Lorraine, France. It is adapted to the medium or large companies, where it addresses the level of teams. The second approach is based on the systemic paradigm and is more suitable for SMEs-SMIs. It has also beneficied of a partnership with the University of Lorraine.
    Abstract: Ce t article vise à pré-senter les apports principaux des études menées à l'INRS sur le bien-être au travail depuis 2003. Ceux-ci participent aux efforts de recherche et de développement menés par cet institut sur le stress, puis sur les risques psychosociaux. Ces travaux sur le bien-être se situent également dans la continuité de recherches sur les approches intégrées de la pré-vention des risques professionnels, approches qui considèrent que la prise en compte des risques fait partie intégrante de la conduite de l'entreprise [1]. C'est d'ailleurs à la même époque que le bien-être au travail a été mis en avant par les instances européennes qui l'ont positionné aussi dans ce cadre inté-gré. En effet, les orientations straté-giques européennes préconisent en 2002 « une approche globale du bien-être au travail, prenant en compte les changements du monde du travail et l'émergence de nouveaux risques, notamment psychosociaux, et [vi-sant] ainsi à améliorer la qualité du travail » [2]. L'Europe préconise donc d'inciter les dirigeants à opter pour une meilleure prise en compte des aspirations des travailleurs, elle-même protectrice des risques psychosociaux (RPS). Cette prise en compte est vue comme une voie de développement économique pour la société européenne axée sur la qualité du travail en lieu et place de l'intensification. Le travail serait accompli plus efficacement dès lors que chacun serait et se sentirait pris en compte dans la singularité de ses TC 148
    Keywords: Methodologie,Satisfaction au travail,Bien-être au travail,RPS,Souffrance au travail,Burn out
    Date: 2014–10–01
  3. By: Ljunge, Martin (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: Health assessments correlate with health outcomes and subjective well-being. Immigrants offer an opportunity to study persistent social influences on health where the social conditions are not endogenous to individual outcomes. This approach provides a clear direction of causality from social conditions to health, and in a second stage to well-being. Natives and immigrants from across the world residing in 30 European countries are studied using survey data. The paper applies within country analysis using both linear regressions and two stage least squares. Natives’ and immigrants’ individual characteristics have similar predictive power for health, except Muslim immigrants who experience a sizeable health penalty. Average health reports in the immigrant’s birth country have a significant association with the immigrant’s current health. Almost a quarter of the birth country health variation is brought by the immigrants, while conditioning on socioeconomic characteristics. There is no evidence of the birth country predictive power declining neither as the immigrant spends more time in the residence country nor over the life course. The second stage estimates indicate that a one standard deviation improvement in health predicts higher happiness by 1.72 point or 0.82 of a standard deviation, more than four times the happiness difference of changing employment status from unemployed to employed. Studying life satisfaction yields similar results. Health improvements predict substantial increases in individual happiness.
    Keywords: Health status; Self-reported health; Subjective well-being (SWB); Happiness; Life satisfaction; Immigrant health
    JEL: F22 I12 I31 J15
    Date: 2016–02–25
  4. By: Antony Millner
    Abstract: Agents exhibit pure intergenerational altruism if they care not just about the consumption utility experienced by future generations, but about their total wellbeing. If all generations are altruistic, each generation’s wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of its descendants. Thus pure intergenerational altruism causes generations’ preferences to be interdependent. While existing models study the relationship between pure intergenerational altruism and conventional time preferences, they assume that altruistic preferences are homogeneous across society. In effect, agents impose their own preferences on future generations, whether they share them or not. By contrast, we study pure intergenerational altruism when agents’ preferences are heterogeneous and fully non-paternalistic, i.e. they evaluate the wellbeing of future agents according to their own sovereign intergenerational preferences. We demonstrate that homogeneous models of intergenerational altruism over (under) estimate the weight an agent places on future utilities if she is less (more) altruistic than average. Moreover, all non-paternalistic agents agree on the appropriate long-run utility discount rate, regardless of their preferences. In general, existing derivations of exponential or quasi-hyperbolic time preferences from homogeneous models of pure intergenerational altruism are not robust to heterogeneity.
    Date: 2016–02
  5. By: Robert MacCulloch (University of Auckland)
    Abstract: Imagine a government confronted with a controversial policy question, like whether it should cut the level of unemployment benefits. Will social welfare rise as a result? Will some groups be winners and other groups be losers? Will the welfare gap between the employed and unemployed increase? “Happiness data” offer a new way to make these kinds of evaluations. These data allow us to track the well-being of the whole population, and also sub-groups like the employed and unemployed people, and correlate the results with relevant policy changes.
    Keywords: wellbeing, happiness data, unemployment benefit policy
    JEL: P16 E62
    Date: 2016–02

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