nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2016‒04‒23
three papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Money, Social Capital and Materialism. Evidence from Happiness Data By Piekalkiewicz, Marcin
  2. Suicide, age, and wellbeing: an empirical investigation By Anne Case; Angus Deaton
  3. Happiness and Preferences in a Legality Social Dilemma: Comparing the Direct and Indirect Approach By Leonardo Becchetti; Germana Corrado; Vittorio Pelligra; Fiammetta Rossetti

  1. By: Piekalkiewicz, Marcin
    Abstract: Are unhappiness, high concern for money and scarcity of social capital different faces of the same phenomenon? Economists tend to treat these variables as distinct correlates of well-being. On the contrary, positive psychologists argue that they all relate to materialism, a system of personal values ascribing great importance in life to extrinsic motivations and low priority to intrinsic motivations. Using data from two European cross-sectional surveys and the German Socio-Economic Panel, I test the hypothesis that material interests, proxied by the effects of individual and reference income on well-being, are associated with low levels of social capital. The results suggest that people with scarce social capital tend to have greater material interests, whereas the negative effect of income comparisons on well-being is eliminated for individuals exhibiting the highest levels of social capital. The implication of such finding is that promoting social capital reduces people's material concerns and has positive impact on their well-being. The results from a country-level analysis additionally show that, since social capital moderates the importance of income for well-being on individual level, the well-being gap between income groups is significantly smaller in countries with higher social capital.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, life satisfaction, social capital, materialism, relative income, social comparisons, happiness inequality
    JEL: D31 I31 Z13
    Date: 2016–03–23
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:70522&r=hap
  2. By: Anne Case (Princeton University); Angus Deaton (Princeton University)
    Abstract: Suicide rates, life evaluation, and measures of affect are all plausible measures of the mental health and well being of populations. Yet in the settings we examine, correlations between suicide and measured well being are at best inconsistent. Differences in suicides between men and women, between Hispanics, blacks, and whites, between age groups for men, between countries or US states, between calendar years, and between days of the week, do not match differences in life evaluation. By contrast, reports of physical pain are strongly predictive of suicide in many contexts. The prevalence of pain is increasing among middle-aged Americans, and is accompanied by a substantial increase in suicides and deaths from drug and alcohol poisoning. Our measure of pain is now highest in middle age—when life evaluation and positive affect are at a minimum. In the absence of the pain epidemic, suicide and life evaluation are likely unrelated, leaving unresolved whether either one is a useful overall measure of population wellbeing.
    JEL: I3
    Date: 2015–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pri:cheawb:june2015&r=hap
  3. By: Leonardo Becchetti (CEIS, University of Rome Tor Vergata); Germana Corrado (DEF, University of Rome Tor Vergata); Vittorio Pelligra (University of Cagliari, CRENoS); Fiammetta Rossetti (DEF, University of Rome Tor Vergata)
    Abstract: We investigate players’ preferences in a multiplayer prisoner’s dilemma by comparing results from a direct (satisfaction based) and an indirect (choice based) approach. Both approaches provide strong evidence of preference heterogeneity, with players who cooperate above median being less affected in their choice by monetary payoffs vis-à-vis the public good component. The combination of a legality frame plus a conformity information design reduces further the relative preference (satisfaction) for the non-cooperative choice for such players. Our findings support the hypothesis that (part of the) players have, in addition to the standard self-interest component, an other-regarding preference argument that is further satisfied in the legality frame plus conformity design.
    Keywords: Analysis of Collective Decision-Making, Corruption, Laboratory Experiment, Legality Game, Redistribution, Conformity.
    Date: 2016–03–25
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:372&r=hap

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