nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2016‒12‒18
eight papers chosen by

  1. Do Victories and Losses Matter? Effects of Football on Life Satisfaction By Radek Janhuba
  2. Diversity and Neighbourhood Satisfaction By Monica Langella; Alan Manning
  3. Expectations, Satisfaction, and Utility from Experience Goods: A Field Experiment in Theaters By Ayelet Gneezy; Uri Gneezy; Joan Llull; Pedro Rey-Biel
  4. The Self-Concordance Model: The Effects of Autonomy, Effort and Goal Progress on Subjective Well-Being in the Us and Russia By Dmitry D. Suchkov
  5. The externality cost of neighbour’s at work: Social norm induced effects on well-being By Howley, P.; Knight, S.
  6. Macroeconomic Conditions and Well-being: Do Social Interactions Matter? By Emilio, Colombo; Valentina, Rotondi; Luca, Stanca;
  7. Exploring Job Satisfaction and Happiness for those in Alternative Work Arrangements By Cheryl Carleton; Mary Kelly
  8. Optimality of Social Choice Systems: Complexity, Wisdom, and Wellbeing Centrality By John C. Boik

  1. By: Radek Janhuba
    Abstract: Every week during the autumn season, millions of Americans attend football games and even more watch the sport on TV. In addition to generating entertainment revenues, previous research has also shown that sports events lead to changes in emotions in minds of fans. This study examines whether sports infl uence the subjective well-being of the population. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ordered logit model estimates effects of a local college football team's results on the life satisfaction of local citizens. The analysis suggests that unexpected wins have positive effects on life satisfaction. Surprisingly, no effect is found for cases of unexpected losses or outcomes which can not be labeled as surprising based on the pre-game betting market.
    Keywords: life satisfaction; sports; football;
    JEL: I18 Z29 C25
    Date: 2016–12
  2. By: Monica Langella; Alan Manning
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of ethnic diversity on individuals' overall satisfaction with and other aspects of their neighbourhood. It uses panel data and a variety of empirical methods to control for potential endogeneity of diversity and of the location choices. We find that a higher white share in the neighbourhood raises overall satisfaction with the neighbourhood in our (overwhelming white) sample, but has no significant impact on generalised trust or other commonly-used measures of social capital. We suggest that part of the impact of diversity on overall neighbourhood satisfaction may be through an effect on a fear of crime and the quality of social life.
    Keywords: neighbourhood satisfaction, social capital, diversity, deprivation
    JEL: Z1
    Date: 2016–12
  3. By: Ayelet Gneezy; Uri Gneezy; Joan Llull; Pedro Rey-Biel
    Abstract: Understanding what affects satisfaction from consumption is fundamental to studying economic behavior. However, measuring subjective hedonic experiences is not trivial, in particular when studying experience goods in which quality is difficult to observe prior to consumption. We report the results of a field experiment with a theater show in which the audience pays at the end of the show under pay-what-you-want pricing. Using questionnaires, we measure expected enjoyment before the show, as well as the realized enjoyment after. Correlating the amounts paid with the expected and realized enjoyment, we find that individuals with a larger gap between reported expectations and enjoyment pay significantly more. Once we account for the satisfaction gap, the level of expected enjoyment or realized enjoyment has no significant effect in predicting payments.
    Keywords: experience goods; pay-what-you-want; expectations
    JEL: C72 C91 D81
    Date: 2016–11
  4. By: Dmitry D. Suchkov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: How one perceives one’s own level of autonomy has important consequences for motivational features of goal pursuit and well-being during this process. We tested the hypothesis, inspired by Self-Determination Theory, and the Self-Concordance model, that pursuit of self-concordant goals, emanating from autonomous motivation results in an increase of well-being. This study employed a prospective design assessing several variables related to the goal: intended effort, actual effort, and progress in achieving. In accordance with the self-concordance model, these variables mediated the influence of the autonomy of the goal on well-being during the process of achievement. We replicated the model using SEM methodology, on both the US (N = 200) and the Russian (N = 410) samples. The additional modifications we made in the model kept the main logic of the previous research. Implications and future directions are discussed.
    Keywords: self-determination theory, self-concordance, motivation, goal pursuit, autonomous motivation, controlled motivation
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Howley, P.; Knight, S.
    Abstract: This article tests for social-norm effects in labour market status. We extend previous research which has examined the relationship between aggregate unemployment and well-being as a mechanism for uncovering social-norm effects, by using a more spatially disaggregated (neighbourhood as opposed to regional) measure of unemployment. Our fixed effects regression results indicate that while unemployment hurts, it hurts much less when individuals live in neighbourhoods where the prevailing rate of unemployment is high. In keeping with the social-norm hypothesis, we also find that unemployment hurts less when individuals think of themselves as being similar to their neighbours.
    Keywords: social norms; unemployment; well-being;
    JEL: I30 J01
    Date: 2016–12
  6. By: Emilio, Colombo; Valentina, Rotondi; Luca, Stanca;
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role played by social interactions in explaining the effects of macroeconomic conditions on well-being. Using survey data for a representative sample of Italian individuals, we find that social interactions play a dual role as both moderators and mediators of the effects of macroeconomic conditions. On the one hand, the well-being of people who spend more time with their friends or go out more often is less sensitive to the effects of macroeconomic fluctuations. On the other hand, social interactions are negatively affected by worsening macroeconomic conditions, thus playing a relevant role in the transmission of macroeconomic shocks to subjective well-being. More specifically, the negative impact of macroeconomic downturns on frequency of going out and active participation in associations contributes to explain the adverse effects of recessions on satisfaction with life and with individual life domains.
    Keywords: macroeconomic fluctuations, unemployment, subjective well-being
    JEL: E32 I31 I38
    Date: 2016–12–13
  7. By: Cheryl Carleton (Department of Economics, Villanova School of Business, Villanova University); Mary Kelly (Department of Economics, Villanova School of Business, Villanova University)
    Abstract: There has been a rise in alternative work arrangements in recent years, with much variation in who selects these work arrangements and the reasons for doing so. Studies suggest that there is significant growth potential for workers in alternative work arrangements in the years ahead. These alternative work arrangements include independent contractors, self-employed workers, temp agency workers, on-call workers, and those who work for contractors who provide services to others. The growth in these jobs has been at both ends of the job spectrum: in professional occupations that require a high level of skill and knowledge, and in jobs at the other end of the job spectrum where the needed investments in human capital are much less. The impact on well-being of such work arrangements can thus vary by the type of work arrangement and by whether the occupation is professional or nonprofessional. Given the still prevalent difference in roles in the home, the impact may also vary by gender. This study explores variations in overall happiness and job satisfaction by work arrangement, by occupation, and by gender for respondents to the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Quality of Life Work Modules from the General Social Survey. Significant differences in overall happiness and job satisfaction are found for each of these groups. The changing nature of the job market makes studies of work and its impact on happiness and job satisfaction more complex. The growth in alternative work arrangements may stem in part from individual’s needs which are not met in more traditional jobs and is reflected in the impact they have on happiness and job satisfaction.
    Keywords: Job Satisfaction; Happiness; Alternative Work Arrangements; Well-being; Quality of Work Life
    JEL: J28 J16 J46
    Date: 2016–12
  8. By: John C. Boik (Principled Societies Project)
    Abstract: Since circa 1900, civilization has experienced radical changes including changes in the size and distribution of populations, the power of technologies, the magnitude of energy and materials use, and the depth of scientific knowledge. With these have come increasingly complex challenges and elevated risks, and thus a heightened need for wise decision making. Accordingly, the need has grown for efficient and functional decision-making systems, also called social choice systems. I use these terms to refer to economic, governance, and legal systems. The seeming inability of societies, both individually and collectively, to effectively mitigate excessive climate change, poverty, income inequality, pollution, habitat loss, and other major problems suggests that underlying social choice systems are sub-optimal relative to need. I raise two overarching questions: (1) What characteristics would more optimal social choice systems exhibit? (2) How could research and development of more optimal systems best proceed? The answers I explore in this paper are based on the premise that the relative optimality of a social choice system is a measure of its relative capacity to help groups solve problems and organize activities such that collective wellbeing is elevated. The characteristics of complex adaptive systems, successful problem-solving systems found in nature, are explored in order to suggest useful design motifs and monitoring indicators. I emphasize the need for research and development of new social choice system designs, and argue that field testing of these can best occur at the local (e.g., community, city, or county) level. Efforts in this direction by the science and technology sectors and academic community are still nascent. The work described here suggests a new multidisciplinary program that I term wellbeing centrality: the design, testing, promotion, and operation of social choice systems that place wellbeing measurement, evaluation, forecasting, and deliberation at the center of decision-making activities.
    Keywords: LEDDA, sustainability, complexity, wellbeing centrality, wellbeing, simulation, local currency, community currency, complementary currency, digital currency, democracy, economic democracy, economic direct democracy
    JEL: B59 C63 E51 I31 J31 O10 P40 Q50 P50
    Date: 2016–12

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.