nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2016‒08‒07
six papers chosen by

  1. The Human Development Index in Canada: Ranking the Provinces and Territories Internationally, 2000-2014 By James Uguccioni
  2. Income support, (un-)employment and well-being By Hetschko, Clemens; Schöb, Ronnie; Wolf, Tobias
  3. The Host with the Most? The Effects of the Olympic Games on Happiness By Paul Dolan; Georgios Kavetsos; Christian Krekel; Dimitris Mavridis; Robert Metcalfe; Claudia Senik; Stefan Szymanski; Nicolas R. Ziebarth
  4. Without my Medal on my Mind: Counterfactual Thinking and Other Determinants of Athlete Emotions By Laura Kudrna; Georgios Kavetsos; Chloe Foy; Paul Dolan
  5. Happiness and Development By Nikolova, Milena
  6. Happy Hosts? International Tourist Arrivals and Residents' Subjective Well-being in Europe By Ivlevs, Artjoms

  1. By: James Uguccioni
    Abstract: We develop internationally comparable estimates of the Human Development Index (HDI) for the Canadian provinces and territories over the 2000-2014 period. The HDI is a composite index composed of three dimensions (life expectancy, education and income) measured by four indicators (life expectancy at birth, average years of education, expected years of schooling and GNI per capita). We first replicate the Canadian estimates from the most recent Human Development Report (HDR) using data from Statistics Canada. Next, we generate estimates for the provinces and territories following the same methodology and using the same Canadian data sources. We make these estimates internationally comparable by scaling each province or territory’s estimate to Canada’s in the most recent HDR. This allows the provinces and territories to be ranked in the most recent HDR international rankings for all four component variables as well as the overall HDI. The highest HDI score in 2014 among the provinces and territories belongs to Alberta, which would be fourth in the international rankings, while the lowest ranking region is Nunavut, which would be in 46th place. Overall, our report highlights the diverse human development experiences of Canadians that are concealed by Canada’s overall HDI.
    Keywords: Human Development Index, Economic Development, Well-Being, HDI, HDR, Canada, Provinces, Education, Income, Life Expectancy
    JEL: O18 O15 O51 O57
    Date: 2016–07
  2. By: Hetschko, Clemens; Schöb, Ronnie; Wolf, Tobias
    Abstract: Using specific panel data of German welfare benefit recipients, we investigate the non-pecuniary life satisfaction effects of in-work benefits. Our empirical strategy combines difference-in-difference designs with synthetic control groups to analyze transitions of workers between unemployment, regular employment and employment accompanied by welfare receipt. Working makes people generally better off than being unemployed, but employed welfare recipients do not reach the life satisfaction level of regular employees. This implies that welfare receipt entails non-compliance with the norm to make one´s own living. Our findings allow us to draw cautious conclusions on employment subsidies paid as welfare benefits.
    Keywords: life satisfaction,subsidized employment,unemployment,income support,in-work benefits,social norms
    JEL: I31 I38 J60 J68
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Paul Dolan; Georgios Kavetsos; Christian Krekel; Dimitris Mavridis; Robert Metcalfe; Claudia Senik; Stefan Szymanski; Nicolas R. Ziebarth
    Abstract: We show that hosting the Olympic Games in 2012 had a positive impact on the life satisfaction and happiness of Londoners during the Games, compared to residents of Paris and Berlin. Notwithstanding issues of causal inference, the magnitude of the effects is equivalent to moving from the bottom to the fourth income decile. But they do not last very long: the effects are gone within a year. These conclusions are based on a novel panel survey of 26,000 individuals who were interviewed during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2013, i.e. before, during, and after the event. The results are robust to selection into the survey and to the number of medals won.
    Keywords: subjective wellbeing, life satisfaction, happiness, Olympic Games, natural experiment
    JEL: I30 I31 I38 L83 Z20 Z28
    Date: 2016–07
  4. By: Laura Kudrna; Georgios Kavetsos; Chloe Foy; Paul Dolan
    Abstract: How achievement makes people feel depends upon counterfactual thoughts about what could have been. One body of evidence for this comes from studies of observer ratings of Olympians’ happiness, which suggests that category-based counterfactual thoughts affect the perceived happiness of Olympians. Silver medallists are less happy than bronze medallists, arguably because silver medallists think about how they could have won gold, and bronze medallists feel lucky to be on the podium at all. We contribute to this literature by showing that the effect of category-based counterfactual thoughts on Olympians’ happiness depends on the margin by which athletes secured their medal. Although gold and bronze medallists appeared happier the better they performed, silver medallists were less happy when they were closer to winning gold. This suggests silver medallists feel disappointed relative to gold medallists but that bronzes do not feel particularly fortunate relative to non-medal winners. Teams were rated as happier than individual athletes and Olympians happier than Paralympians. Observers’ ethnic and gender similarity to athletes negatively influence happiness ratings; whilst observers’ self-reported happiness has a negligible effect on ratings. We integrate these findings with prior literature on counterfactual thinking and the determinants of happiness, and suggest avenues for future research.
    Keywords: Counterfactual thinking, Close calls, Relative status, Happiness, Olympic Games
    JEL: D60 I31
    Date: 2016–07
  5. By: Nikolova, Milena (IZA)
    Abstract: Subjective well-being (SWB) indicators, such as positive and negative emotions, life evaluations, and assessments of having purpose and meaning and life are increasingly used alongside income, employment, and consumption measures to provide a more comprehensive view of human progress. SWB measures have several advantages but also challenges which development scholars and practitioners need to carefully consider before introducing such metrics in the policy arena. This article provides an overview of the SWB approach and offers insights into whether and how SWB measures can inform development theory and practice.
    Keywords: development policy, subjective well-being, happiness, measurement
    JEL: I31 O10
    Date: 2016–07
  6. By: Ivlevs, Artjoms (University of the West of England, Bristol)
    Abstract: While there has been a growing interest in the relationship between perceived tourism impacts and residents' quality of life, little is known about how residents' well-being is affected by actual tourist arrivals. This paper studies the effect of international tourist arrivals on the subjective well-being – happiness and life satisfaction – of residents in European countries. Data come from the six waves of the European Social Survey, conducted in 32 countries in 2002-2013. The results suggest that tourist arrivals reduce residents' life satisfaction. This negative relationship tends to be more pronounced in countries where tourism intensity is relatively high, as well as among people living in rural areas. In addition, tourist arrivals have a greater negative relationship with the evaluative component of subjective well-being (life satisfaction) than its affective component (happiness).
    Keywords: life satisfaction, happiness, tourist arrivals, Europe
    JEL: L83 Z3
    Date: 2016–07

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