nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2017‒04‒16
eight papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Forced gifts: The burden of being a friend: By Bulte, Erwin; Wang, Ruixin; Zhang, Xiaobo
  2. Long Term Effects of Buddhist Temples, Jizo Bodhisattvas and Shrines on a School Rute: The Effects on Income, Happiness and Health Thorough Social Capital By Takahiro Ito; Kohei Kubota; Fumio Ohtake
  3. Wellbeing of the Elderly in East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan By ICHIMURA Hidehiko; Xiaoyan LEI; Chulhee LEE; Jinkook LEE; Albert PARK; SAWADA Yasuyuki
  4. Back to Bentham, Should We? Large-Scale Comparison of Experienced versus Decision Utility By Akay, Alpaslan; Bargain, Olivier B.; Jara, H. Xavier
  5. Happiness in the Air: How Does a Dirty Sky Affect Mental Health and Subjective Well-being? By Zhang, Xin; Zhang, Xiaobo; Chen, Xi
  6. Mapping the Dimensions of Social Capital By Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
  7. Are students happy?: PISA 2015 results: students’ well-being By OECD
  8. What Matters for Life Satisfaction among the Oldest-Old? Evidence from China By Ng, Sor Tho; Tey, Nai Peng; Asadullah, Niaz

  1. By: Bulte, Erwin; Wang, Ruixin; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: In many developing countries, gift expenses account for a substantial share of total household expenditures. As incomes rise, gift expenses are escalating in several developing countries. We develop a theoretical model to demonstrate how (unequal) income growth may trigger “gift competition†and drive up the financial burden associated with gift exchange. We use unique census-type panel data from rural China to test our model predictions and demonstrate that (1) the value of gifts responds to the average gift in the community, (2) the escalation of gift giving may have adverse welfare implications (especially for the poor), and (3) escalating gift expenses crowd out expenditures on other consumption items.
    Keywords: CHINA; EAST ASIA; ASIA, household expenditure; developing countries; income; rural communities; welfare, gift competition; reciprocity; subjective well-being; inequality, O10 Economic Development: General; I30 Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: General; D10 Household Behavior: General,
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Takahiro Ito; Kohei Kubota; Fumio Ohtake
    Abstract: This study examines the effects of social capital, such as general trust, reciprocity, and altruism, on labor market outcomes, such as income, occupational status, and promotion, and health and happiness by conducting a survey among individuals. To cope with the endogeneity of social capital, we used indicator variables to map temples, Jizo bodhisattvas, and shrines on the individuals’ school route or near their home during elementary school days. The results show that instrumental variables work well and that social capital does not affect labor market outcomes but increases happiness and health levels.
    Date: 2017–03
  3. By: ICHIMURA Hidehiko; Xiaoyan LEI; Chulhee LEE; Jinkook LEE; Albert PARK; SAWADA Yasuyuki
    Abstract: East Asia is undergoing a rapid demographic transition and "super" aging. As a result of steadily decreasing fertility and increasing life expectancy, the elderly proportion of the population and the old-age dependency ratio are rising across all countries in East Asia, particularly China, Republic of Korea, and Japan. In this paper, we empirically investigate the wellbeing of the elderly in these three countries, using comparable micro-level data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), the Korean Longitudinal Study on Aging (KLoSA), and the Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR). Specifically, we examine the depressive symptom scale as a measure of wellbeing and estimate the impact of four broad categories: demographic, economic, family-social, and health. The decomposition and simulation analysis reveals that although much of the difference in mean depression rates among countries can be explained in differences in the characteristics of the elderly in the three countries, there remain significant differences across countries that cannot be explained. In particular, even after accounting for a multitude of factors, the elderly in Korea are more likely to be depressed than in China or Japan.
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Akay, Alpaslan; Bargain, Olivier B.; Jara, H. Xavier
    Abstract: Subjective well-being (SWB) data is increasingly used to perform welfare analyses. In- terpreted as 'experienced utility', SWB has recently been compared to 'decision utility' using specific experiments, most often based on stated preferences. Results point to an overall congruence between these two types of welfare measures. We question whether these findings hold in the more general framework of non-experimental and large-scale data, i.e. the setting commonly used for policy analysis. For individuals in the British household panel, we compare the ordinal preferences either "revealed" from their labor supply decisions or elicited from their reported SWB. The results show striking similari- ties on average, reflecting the fact that a majority of individuals made decisions that are consistent with SWB maximization. Di¤erences between the two welfare measures arise for particular subgroups, lending themselves to intuitive explanations that we illustrate for specific factors (health and labor market constraints, 'focusing illusion', aspirations).
    Keywords: decision utility,experienced utility,labor supply,subjective well-being
    JEL: C90 I31 J22
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Zhang, Xin; Zhang, Xiaobo; Chen, Xi
    Abstract: Previous studies evaluating the welfare cost of air pollution have not paid much attention to its potential effect on mental health and subjective well-being (SWB). This paper attempts to fill the gap by investigating the impact of air pollution on several key dimensions, including mental health status, depressive symptoms, moment-to-moment happiness, and evaluative happiness. We match a nationwide longitudinal survey in China with local air quality and rich weather conditions according to the exact time and place of survey. By making use of variations in exposure to air pollution for the same individuals over time, we show that air pollution reduces hedonic happiness and increases the rate of depressive symptoms, while life satisfaction has little to do with the immediate air quality. Our results shed light on air pollution as an important contributor to the Easterlin paradox that economic growth may not bring more happiness.
    Keywords: mental health,depression,hedonic happiness,life satisfaction,air pollution,Easterlin paradox
    JEL: I31 Q53 Q51
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
    Abstract: We provide a novel survey dataset of a representative sample of the Polish population (n = 1000), allowing for a detailed quantification of Bourdieu's (1986) definition of social capital as the aggregate of resources accessible to individuals through their social networks. Based on this data, we create an empirical 'map' of four distinct dimensions of social capital: network degree (number of social ties), network centrality, bridging social capital (ties with dissimilar others), and bonding social capital (ties with similar others, primarily with kin). Construction of the 'map' is based on mutual correlations among the four social capital dimensions as well as their diverse links with immediate outcomes – individuals' social trust and willingness to cooperate - and ultimate outcomes: individual incomes, life satisfaction and happiness.
    Keywords: social capital, social network structure, social trust, willingness to cooperate, new survey dataset
    JEL: D85 J31 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  7. By: OECD
    Abstract: Schools are not only places where students acquire academic skills; they are also social environments where children can develop the social and emotional competencies that they need to thrive. Yet despite the global interest in students’ well-being, there is no consensus on which policies or curriculum changes are needed to improve adolescents’ quality of life at school. The data from PISA 2015 show that students differ greatly, both between and within countries, in how satisfied they are with their life, in their motivation to achieve, in how anxious they feel about their schoolwork, in their participation in physical activities, in their expectations for the future, in their experiences of being bullied by their peers, and in their perceptions of being treated unfairly by their teachers. Many of these differences are related to students’ feelings about the disciplinary climate in the classroom and about the support their teachers give them. PISA 2015 data show that schoolwork-related anxiety is common among adolescents. Often, this anxiety is students’ reaction to, and interpretation of, the mistakes they make – or are afraid to make. Students whose motivation to do well at school mostly originates from fear of disappointing others or the desire to do better than their peers are more likely to report anxiety at school. It is important that schools identify those students who suffer from severe anxiety and teach these students methods to learn from mistakes and manage their stress.
    Date: 2017–04–19
  8. By: Ng, Sor Tho (University of Malaya); Tey, Nai Peng (University of Malaya); Asadullah, Niaz (University of Malaya)
    Abstract: This study investigates the determinants of life satisfaction among the oldest-old (i.e. individuals aged 80 or over) in China. We use the 2011/2012 Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey data (n = 6530) for this paper. Logistic regression is used to analyse the effects of socio-demographic, economic, health, instrumental activities of daily living, family and community factors on life satisfaction and depression among the oldest-old in China. Our analysis confirms the significance of many factors affecting life satisfaction among the oldest-old in China. Factors that are correlated with life satisfaction include respondent's sex, education, place of residence, self-rated health status, cognitive ability (using mini mental state examination), regular physical examination, perceived relative economic status, access to social security provisions, commercialized insurances, living arrangements, and number of social services available in the community (p
    Keywords: ageing, depression, happiness, health, inequality, well-being, China
    JEL: O12 I30 I31
    Date: 2017–03

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