nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2016‒10‒16
ten papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Health Perception Impact on Happiness : in gender relative perspective By Soohyun Choi
  2. Gender, Subjective well-being and capabilities: an application to the Moroccan Youth By Mehdi Khouaja; Noémie Olympio; Gwendoline Promsopha
  3. College Better: Parimutuel Betting Markets as a Commitment Device and Monetary Incentive By Lester Lusher
  4. Multi-dimensional Living Standards: A Welfare Measure Based on Preferences By Romina Boarini; Fabrice Murtin; Paul Schreyer; Marc Fleurbaey
  5. Poverty Measurement: We Know Less than Policy Makers Realize By John Gibson
  6. Open innovative governance, transparency and citizens´ quality of life: An application to Portuguese municipalities. By João Laitão; Helena Alves; Dina Pereira
  7. Birth and Death By Dasgupta, P.
  8. Intensive Mothering and Well-being: The Role of Education and Child Care Activity By Jose Ignacio Gimenez Nadal; Almudena Sevilla
  9. Intensive Mothering and Well-being: The Role of Education and Child Care Activity By Pedro S. Martins
  10. 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

  1. By: Soohyun Choi (Seoul National University)
    Abstract: The paper attempts to identify the relationship between health perception and happiness in gender relative perspective. Even there are large volume of research, devoted to analyze gender happiness disparity, most of them neglected health aspect. Moreover, although it sounds quite obvious that happiness and health perception are correlated, it’s rather clear that happiness disparity can be explained by health disparity. The results, based on World Value Survey panel data and IV regression, verifies that health perception gender ratio has positive impact on gender happiness ratio, which implies that relatively better health perception can improve corresponding gender’s relative happiness. It can be interpreted as balanced health perception between gender will lessen the gender happiness disparity.
    Keywords: happiness; health perception; gender happiness disparity
    JEL: I14 I31 J16
  2. By: Mehdi Khouaja (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille 1 - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Noémie Olympio (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille 1 - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, ESPE AMU - Ecole supérieure du professorat et de l'éducation - Aix Marseille - AMU - Aix Marseille Université); Gwendoline Promsopha (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille 1 - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Our paper investigates how gender shapes youth's aspirations, subjective well-being and capabilities in Morocco. We compare two different informational basis in analysing gender inequalities: the subjective well-being framework, and the capability approach. To do so we propose to operationalize capabilities through mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) based on: 1. Qualitative data that we collected in Morocco and 2. An innovative dataset collected by the Office of Economic Cooperation for Mediterranean and Middle East (OCEMO), among 1333 young Moroccan individuals aged 15-35 living in rural and urban areas of the Marrakesh region. Our results suggest that subjective well-being poorly reflects gender inequalities among Moroccan youths, as it does not consider adaptive preferences. Capabilities indicators perform much better as they account for both the capability to choose a lifestyle, and the ability to fulfill one's choice; i.e. spaces of freedom. The paper also reveals the striking significance of adaptive preferences among rural young women; as well as the frustrations among young educated men resulting from an inability to fulfill a chosen lifestyle. Gender justice and capabilities-as the freedom to choose and to turn opportunities into valuable outcome-indeed appear significant in understanding the structural transformations of the Moroccan society.
    Keywords: gender, happiness economics,Capabilities, subjective well-being, youth, Morocco
    Date: 2016–08–26
  3. By: Lester Lusher
    Abstract: Procrastination, an issue linked to poor performance and decreased well-being, is a pervasive problem in education. This paper examines the role of commitment and motivation by evaluating a program called which acts as a commitment device and monetary incentive to help college students battle problems of present bias. The zero-sum mechanism is based off a parimutuel betting market, where students join a pool by placing a monetary wager on themselves to achieve the pool's "commitment challenge." Students who successfully commit to the challenge 1) recover their wagers and 2) split losing wagers proportionally. Through a series of lab and field experiments, I find that students interested in the mechanism were low-achieving, overconfident, self-identified procrastinators, while traditional measures of time-preferences were weak predictors of selection. Across all pools, students randomly selected to participate were more likely to achieve the commitment challenge than students who applied for a spot but were randomly excluded. Consistent with loss aversion, having the student risk their own money is a principal contributor to the effectiveness of the mechanism.
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Romina Boarini; Fabrice Murtin; Paul Schreyer; Marc Fleurbaey
    Abstract: We compute a distribution-adjusted welfare measure that aggregates outcomes in three dimensions of well-being, namely income, employment and longevity. Aggregation weights reflect preferences of people on these dimensions. The welfare measure is calculated for 26 OECD countries and selected emerging economies, and covers about three decades. Relying on a single theoretical model of a hypothetical representative agent, we combine life satisfaction regressions to capture the full welfare losses of unemployment with a calibration approach to capture the value of longevity. We test for robustness of results over a series of datasets and specifications and find that the resulting estimated shadow prices of (one percentage point of) unemployment and one year of longevity average 2% and 6% of income respectively. While we assume an identical utility function for all individuals, shadow prices of unemployment and longevity vary both across countries and within countries across income groups. We find that economic growth differs significantly from the growth of our welfare measure. The latter grew faster than GDP thanks to the gains that countries experienced on longevity, but was also more volatile due to changes in unemployment. Rising income inequality exerts a negative effect on our welfare measure. Gains in longevity have almost the same impact on welfare as income growth, while the long-term impact of employment was smaller. Nous calculons une mesure de niveau de vie ajustée pour le degré d’inégalité et agrégeant le revenu, l’emploi et l’espérance de vie. Les poids associés à ces dimensions reflètent les préférences des populations. Cette mesure de niveau de vie qui couvre trois décennies est calculée pour 26 pays de l’OCDE et une sélection de pays émergeants. En nous basant sur un modèle théorique unique d’un agent représentatif hypothétique, nous combinons des régressions de satisfaction envers la vie pour capter le coût social du chômage avec une approche de calibration pour rendre compte de la valeur monétaire de la longévité. Nous testons la robustesse des résultats à l’aide d’un ensemble de bases de données et de spécifications différentes, et nous trouvons que les prix fictifs estimés d’un point de pourcentage de chômage et d’une année d’espérance de vie sont en moyenne respectivement égaux à 2% et 6% du revenu des ménages. Alors qu’une fonction d’utilité unique est utilisée pour tous les individus, les prix fictifs du chômage et de l’espérance de vie varient à la fois entre pays et entre groupes de revenu à l’intérieur des pays. Nous montrons que la croissance économique diffère significativement de la croissance de notre mesure de niveau de vie. Celle-ci a crû plus vite que le PIB en vertu des gains d’espérance de vie, mais a été également plus volatile à cause des variations du taux de chômage. L’augmentation des inégalités de revenu a exercé un effet négatif sur notre mesure de niveau de vie. Les gains d’espérance de vie ont eu pratiquement le même impact sur le niveau de vie que la croissance économique, alors que l’impact de long-terme de l’emploi a été plus faible.
    Keywords: living standards, welfare, well-being, measurement
    JEL: I18 I31 I32 I38 J17 J18
    Date: 2016–10–11
  5. By: John Gibson
    Abstract: There is a widespread policy interest in poverty estimates at both national and global level. There has been an explosion of poverty measurement in the last two decades enabled by the growing availability of household survey data. These measurements are used by policy-makers to assess progress towards national and global goals for inclusive growth and poverty reduction. But the evidence base rests on shaky foundations, and policy-makers may have undue confidence in poverty and inequality estimates. Many household surveys are poorly designed to measure monetary living standards and poverty in an era of rising affluence and urban transition. Some key problems in measuring food consumption, housing services and the cost of living are discussed here. Alternatives to monetary measurement, such as using questions on life satisfaction and happiness, also rest on shaky foundations.
    Keywords: household surveys, inequality, poverty, prices, shared prosperity
    Date: 2016–10–10
  6. By: João Laitão; Helena Alves; Dina Pereira
    Abstract: The new paradigm for public administration is founded on different meanings for distinct dimensions of open innovative governance. Thus, "open" may mean: open governance; open data; open information; and open innovation; which stand for new types of open relationships between citizens, firms and municipalities. In the context of citizens’ rights, open innovative governance is approached as the right to participate in the innovation process of agenda-setting and decision-making. The chapter discusses the effects of open innovative governance and municipalities’ transparency on citizens’ quality of life. To do so, we test different specifications of probit models, by taking as a reference a population of 308 Portuguese municipalities and using the data collected through the Local Authority site, integrated in the Local Government Integrity for Portugal initiative, in the period 2013-2014. To assess the effects on quality of life, a proxy for citizens’ well-being is considered, taking into account the positive variation of the citizens’ purchasing power index. The main results reveal a positive and significant influence of open innovative governance on citizens’ quality of life, regarding two dimensions: Plans and planning; and Taxes, fees, prices and regulations. Moreover, a positive and significant association between higher education institutions and citizens’ quality of life is revealed, although this could be counterbalanced by the negative effects associated with the condition of being a low density municipality and variation in purchasing power.
    Keywords: Open Governance; Public Innovation; Quality of Life; Transparency.
    JEL: R1 R12
    Date: 2016–10
  7. By: Dasgupta, P.
    Abstract: It has long been known that in finite economies Classical Utilitarianism commends policies that encourage large populations. It has been known also that the stronger is the aversion to risk and inequality in the standard of living, the lower is the optimum living standard, and that the latter tends in the limit to Sidgwick's "hedonistic zero". A version of that extreme feature of the theory was subsequently named the Repugnant Conclusion (RC). Most escape routes from RC have invoked the language of "gains" and "losses", which are familiar notions in social cost-benefit analysis. Those notions have been found to lead to paradoxes involving the Non-Identity Problem. In this paper I start with Sidgwick's theory in its pristine form - the criterion for evaluating states of affairs is the sum of personal utilities - but recast it in a contemporary language: the ground of binding reason is taken to be "well-being", not "happiness", nor "agreeable consciousness". Sidgwick erred in his interpretation of the hedonistic zero, which may explain why the seeming pro-natalism inherent in his theory has been found to be repugnant by philosophers. Problems with Sidgwick's Utilitarianism lie elsewhere. An example is presented which invites an additional but relatively mild notion of person-hood into any theory that says that personal well-beings should be the sole basis for ranking states of affairs. A weak version of Agent-Relative theories is drawn from the example, which in the context of population ethics may be called Generation-Relative Utilitarianism. It has however been suggested that the theory is incoherent because it does not yield a binary relation between states of affairs. I show that the incoherence would arise only if states of affair were to be evaluated from nowhere, and that it is an essential feature of Generation-Relative Utilitarianism that the state of affairs from which other states of affairs are viewed, matters. The theory is then put to work in a model economy facing an indefinite future and a finite flow of resources. Empirical studies of Earth's life support system are then used to justify the choice of the model. I make use of contemporary global statistics to get a feel for the theory's implications for both population size and the standard of living. Population size is found to be smaller and the living standard higher than they would be under Sidgwick's Utilitarianism. Population ethics is then used to understand the nature of loss that would be suffered in the face of human extinction. Generation-Relative Utilitarianism is shown to arrive at the view that each generation is a trustee of the capital it inherits from its predecessor.
    Date: 2016–10–07
  8. By: Jose Ignacio Gimenez Nadal; Almudena Sevilla
    Abstract: We use data from the 2012, and 2013 Well-being Module of the American Time Use Survey to understand maternal momentary well-being, and how these vary by educational attainment. We document that even after controlling for a wide set of maternal characteristics, higher educated mothers report lower levels of happiness and meaning, and higher levels of fatigue when engaging in child-related activities than mothers with lower educational attainment. Further analysis reveals that there is no education gap in momentary wellbeing among fathers and non-mothers. These findings are consistent with more educated mothers feeling the pressures from the ideology of intensive mothering, whereby mother’s continuous time and attention is understood as being crucial for child development.
    Keywords: Mothering. Momentary well-being, Child care, Ideology of intensive mothering, Time use
    JEL: J31 J63
    Date: 2016–10
  9. By: Pedro S. Martins
    Abstract: According to theory, wage rigidity may increase the scope for employment protection legislation (EPL) to have negative effects on employment. In this paper, we study this issue by analysing the extent to which entry wages respond to EPL. We exploit a recent reform in Portugal, in the midst of a recession, that reduced severance pay for new hires alone. Our main analysis is based on a regression-discontinuity approach using long monthly data on entry wages. We find no evidence of wage adjustments following the change in EPL, even when considering many different specifications and samples. This result highlights the potential of greater flexibility in EPL over the business cycle to reduce employment fluctuations.
    Keywords: Employment law, Seasonality, Wage rigidity, Severance
    JEL: J65 J31 E24
    Date: 2016–10
  10. By: Paul Dolan (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, Centre for Economic Performance - LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science); Georgios Kavetsos (Queen Mary University of London - Queen Mary University of London, Centre for Economic Performance - LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science); Christian Krekel (DIW Berlin - DIW Berlin, PSE - Paris School of Economics); Dimitris Mavridis (OECD - OECD - OECD); Robert Metcalfe (University of Chicago); Claudia Senik (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), PSE - Paris School of Economics, UP4 - Université Paris-Sorbonne); Stefan Szymanski (University of Michigan (USA)); Nicolas R. Ziebarth (Cornell University)
    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: Olympic Games,natural experiment,subjective wellbeing,life satisfaction,happiness
    Date: 2016–07

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