nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2017‒02‒05
five papers chosen by

  1. Uncertainty, financial crises, and subjective well-being By Tonzer, Lena
  2. A Well-Being Indicator for the Italian Provinces a By Giorgio Calcagnini; Francesco Perugini
  3. Does Job Support Make Workers Happy? By Böckerman, Petri; Bryson, Alex; Kauhanen, Antti; Kangasniemi, Mari
  4. The paradox of the Joneses: superstar houses and mortgage frenzy in suburban America By Clement Bellet
  5. Your Spouse is Fired! How Much Do You Care? By Milena Nikolova; Sinem Ayhan

  1. By: Tonzer, Lena
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the effect of uncertainty as reflected by financial market variables on subjective well-being. The analysis is based on Eurobarometer surveys, covering 20 countries over the period from 2000 to 2013. Individuals report lower levels of life satisfaction in times of higher uncertainty approximated by stock market volatility. This effect is heterogeneous across respondents: The probability of being unsatisfied is higher for respondents who are older, less educated, and live in one of the GIIPS countries of the euro area. Furthermore, higher uncertainty in combination with a financial crisis increases the probability of reporting low values of life satisfaction.
    Keywords: subjective well-being,uncertainty,financial crises
    JEL: D60 G01 I31
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Giorgio Calcagnini (Department of Economics, Society & Politics, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo); Francesco Perugini (Department of Economics, Society & Politics, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo")
    Abstract: In recent years a large amount of works has been carried out with the aim to provide alternative meausures of progress and well-being to GDP. Given the multidimensional aspect of the phenomenon, most of these studies differs in terms of their theoretical approach as well as their purpose and statistical methodology used to de ne what wellbeing is and how to measure it. In this paper we construct a well-being indicator for the Italian (NUTS-3) provinces, following the approach used in Segre et al. (2001) for the construction of the regional (NUTS-2) QUARS indicator. The resulted well-being indicator shows a high degree of heterogeneity not only between provinces located in the North and the South part of Italy, but also among adjacent territories. An empirical model has been tested against possible well-being determinants. Our ndings suggest that social capital, social security programs, income, and grant-making activities by Bank Foundations positively affect provincial well-being.
    Keywords: Well-being measure, Italian provinces, Civil society, Territorial disparities,Bank Foundation
    JEL: I31 R1 R11 G23
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Böckerman, Petri (Labour Institute for Economic Research); Bryson, Alex (University College London); Kauhanen, Antti (ETLA - The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy); Kangasniemi, Mari (Labour Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Using linked employer-employee data for Finland we examine associations between job design and ten measures of worker wellbeing. In accordance with Karasek's (1979) model we find positive correlations between many aspects of worker wellbeing and job control. However, contrary to the model, job demands have no adverse effects on worker wellbeing. We find a strong positive correlation between job support and all aspects of worker wellbeing that is independent of job controls and job demands, a finding that has not been emphasized in the literature. The effects are most pronounced in relation to supervisor support. We also find evidence of unemployment scarring effects: substantial experience of unemployment has long-term consequences for the wellbeing workers experience in their current jobs, even controlling for the quality of those jobs.
    Keywords: worker wellbeing, job control, job demands, job support, job design, supervisors, job satisfaction, stress, HRM, unemployment, scarring effects
    JEL: J28 J8 L23 M54
    Date: 2017–01
  4. By: Clement Bellet
    Abstract: Despite a major upscaling of suburban houses over the last decades, house satisfaction has remained steady in the United States. I show that upward comparison in size can explain this paradox, as top housing size mirrored the U-shaped pattern of top income inequality. Combining data from the American Housing Survey from 1984 to 2009 with an original dataset of three millions suburban houses built between 1920 and 2009, I find that suburban owners who experienced a relative downscaling of their home due to the building of bigger units in their suburb record lower satisfaction and house values. These homeowners are more likely to upscale and subscribe to new loans. Results are robust to household fixed effects and concentrated in counties with lower segregation, suggesting a causal link between inequality and mortgage debt. In the absence of keeping up with the Joneses, I estimate the mortgage debt to income ratio would have been 25 percentage points lower at the eve of the 2008 financial crisis.
    Keywords: inequality; social preferences; subjective well-being; housing; household debt
    JEL: D01 I30 R20
    Date: 2017–01
  5. By: Milena Nikolova; Sinem Ayhan
    Abstract: This study is the first to provide a causal estimate of the subjective well-being effects of spousal unemployment at the couple level. Using German panel data on married and cohabiting partners for 1991-2013 and information on exogenous job termination induced by workplace closure, we show that spousal unemployment reduces the life satisfaction of indirectly-affected spouses. The impact is equally pronounced among female and male partners. Importantly, the results are not driven by an income effect, but likely reflect the psychological costs of unemployment. Our findings are robust to a battery of sensitivity checks and imply that public policy programs aimed at mitigating the negative consequences of unemployment need to consider within-couple spillovers.
    Keywords: Unemployment, involuntary job loss, plant closure, spouses, well-being
    JEL: I31 J01 J65
    Date: 2016

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.