nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2016‒09‒18
eight papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Without my medal on my mind: counterfactual thinking and other determinants of athlete emotions By Laura Kudrna; Georgios Kavetsos; Chloe Foy; Paul Dolan
  2. Measuring change in subjective wellbeing: Methods to quantify recall bias and recalibration response shift By Blome, Christine; Augustin, Matthias
  3. Migration as a Test of the Happiness Set Point Hypothesis: Evidence from Immigration to Canada By John F. Helliwell; Aneta Bonikowska; Hugh Shiplett
  4. Reliability and validity of the happiness approach to measuring preferences By van Hoorn, Andr
  5. Happiness, unemployment and self-esteem By van der Meer, Peter H.; Wielers, Rudi
  6. The Gross Domestic Product. History, relevance and limitations in its interpretation By Georgescu, George
  7. Income or Consumption: Which Better Predicts Subjective Wellbeing? By Thomas Carver; Arthur Grimes
  8. Happiness and victimization in Latin America By Catalina Gómez Toro; Carolina Ortega Londoño; Daniel Gómez Mesa; Lina Cardona Sosa

  1. 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: 2016–06
  2. By: Blome, Christine; Augustin, Matthias
    Abstract: We propose to use subjective well-being (SWB) measures to determine patient-relevant treatment benefit. Benefit can be measured either prospectively (pre-post) or retrospectively, but both approaches can be biased: Prospective evaluation may be subject to response shift; retrospective evaluation may be subject to recall bias. As prospective and retrospective evaluations often differ in effect size and since there is no gold standard to compare against, the extent of the two biases needs to be determined. Response shift includes reprioritization, reconceptualization, and recalibration. We argue that in SWB measures only recalibration, but not reprioritization and reconceptualization are validity threats. We review approaches to quantify recall bias, response shift, or both in the measurement of health-related quality of life. We discuss which of these approaches are most suitable for application to SWB measurement, where only recall bias and recalibration are to be quantified, ignoring the other two response shift types. Some approaches of bias detection will not be applicable to SWB measurement, because they do not distinguish between recalibration and other types of response shift, or quantify reprioritization and/or reconceptualization alone. For other approaches, it is unclear whether underlying assumptions apply to SWB measurement. Anchor recalibration, structural equation modelling, and ROSALI are most suitable, the latter two with some limitations. Anchor recalibration was considered by its developers to be too difficult for participants to understand in its current form. Refining the anchor recalibration method may provide the most promising way to quantify both scale recalibration and recall bias.
    Keywords: health-related quality of life,thentest,response shift,recall bias,scale recalibration,subjective well-being
    Date: 2016
  3. By: John F. Helliwell; Aneta Bonikowska; Hugh Shiplett
    Abstract: Strong versions of the set point hypothesis argue that subjective well-being measures reflect each individual’s own personality and that deviations from that set point will tend to be short-lived, rendering them poor measures of the quality of life. International migration provides an excellent test of this hypothesis, since life circumstances and average subjective well-being differ greatly among countries. Life satisfaction scores for immigrants to Canada from up to 100 source countries are compared to those in the countries where they were born. With or without various adjustments for selection effects, the average levels and distributions of life satisfaction scores among immigrants mimic those of other Canadians rather than those in their source countries and regions. This supports other evidence that subjective life evaluations, especially when averaged across individuals, are primarily driven by life circumstances, and respond correspondingly when those circumstances change.
    JEL: F22 I31 J61
    Date: 2016–09
  4. By: van Hoorn, Andr (Groningen University)
    Date: 2016
  5. By: van der Meer, Peter H.; Wielers, Rudi (Groningen University)
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Georgescu, George
    Abstract: Despite theoretical and methodological improvements by national accounts framework revisions, not without disputes and confrontations of views, the growing complexity of economic and social phenomena under globalization circumstances has led to increasing difficulties in the design, monitoring and implementation of specific policies depending on GDP indicator. The paper focuses on the analysis of the GDP relevance and limitations in its interpretation, including a retrospective view. Some inconsistencies as regards the metrics of GDP (illegal activities, unobserved economy, self-consumption in rural households, owner’s imputed rents) are highlighted. Because the GDP does not take into account the impact of important factors of progress (depletion of natural resources, environmental factors, urban concentration and rural depopulation etc.) and does not reflects neither the citizens wellbeing (starting from Easterlin Paradox), efforts to develop new statistical standards in order to complement/substitute GDP with other indicators and/or building composite indicators that integrates various aspects of quality of life have been made, but without meeting a general consensus at the global level. In the end of the paper other derived indicators (GNP, GNI, AIC) are discussed and some considerations regarding the time horizon of Romania’s real convergence with the EU, including the accession to Eurozone are added.
    Keywords: System of National Accounts; GDP limitations; International Comparison Program; wellbeing; Romania EU convergence
    JEL: B15 B41 C82 E01 N10 O11
    Date: 2016–09–10
  7. By: Thomas Carver (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Arthur Grimes (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)
    Abstract: The positive relationship between income and subjective wellbeing has been well documented. However, work assessing the relationship of alternative material wellbeing metrics to subjective wellbeing is limited. Consistent with the permanent income hypothesis, we find that a consumption measure out-performs income in predicting subjective wellbeing. When objective measures of consumption are combined with self-assessments of a household’s standard of living, income becomes insignificant altogether. We obtain our result utilising household-level data from Statistics New Zealand’s ‘New Zealand General Social Survey’ which contains a measure of material wellbeing called the ‘Economic Living Standard Index’ that combines measures of consumption flows and self-assessments of material wellbeing.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, Subjective Wellbeing, Consumption, Permanent Income Hypothesis, Material Wellbeing
    JEL: D12 D63 E21 I31
    Date: 2016–09
  8. By: Catalina Gómez Toro; Carolina Ortega Londoño; Daniel Gómez Mesa; Lina Cardona Sosa
    Abstract: In recent decades, studies on economics have identified happiness as a life quality indicator that not only accounts for individuals’ socioeconomic improvement but also accounts for their interactions with institutions and public goods, such as personal safety and protection of life. This study examines the determinants of individual happiness of Latin American citizens by focusing on whether the individual had been a victim of a crime in the last twelve months. To do this, a generalized ordered logit with partial constraints is used to analyze data obtained from the Americas Barometer Survey of 2014. The individual self- reported level of life satisfaction is used to study its relationship with having been a victim of a crime during the previous year. The results suggest the existence of a negative relationship between having been a victim of a crime in the past twelve months and being very satisfied with life.
    Keywords: crime, happiness, life satisfaction, generalized ordered logit
    JEL: I3 K42 D62
    Date: 2016–09–01

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