nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2017‒05‒28
three papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. She's Leaving Home: A Large Sample Investigation of the Empty Nest Syndrome By Alan Piper; Ian Jackson
  2. Friendship network composition and subjective wellbeing By Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Smyth, Russell
  3. Female Suicide and the Concept of the Midlife Crisis By Oswald, Andrew J.; Tohamy, Ahmed

  1. By: Alan Piper; Ian Jackson
    Abstract: This study considers life satisfaction in relation to the empty nest syndrome, which is a situation where there are feelings of loss or loneliness for mothers and/or fathers following the departure of the last child from the parental home. In particular, the investigation considers the significance of Identity Economics when applied to parents experiencing a reduction in well-being following an extended period of child-rearing. The origins of the empty nest syndrome are first considered briefly before conducting an economic analysis of life satisfaction using the German Socio-Economic Panel. Our particular focus is the change in the subjective well-being of the individuals who become empty nesters, taking advantage of the richness of this dataset. As a result, this is the first large sample economic analysis of its kind to use identity to evaluate the effects of becoming “empty nest” parents in a systematic way.
    JEL: D64 I31
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Smyth, Russell
    Abstract: Using data from the UK Community Life Survey, we present the first study to examine the relationship between heterogeneity in one’s friendship network and subjective wellbeing. We measure network heterogeneity by the extent to which one’s friends are similar to oneself with regard to ethnicity and religion. We find that people who have friendship networks with characteristics dissimilar to themselves have lower levels of subjective wellbeing. Specifically, our two-stage least squares (2SLS) estimates, using measures of ethnic and religious diversity based on the Herfindahl-type fractionalization index that are flipped between adjoining rural/urban areas as instruments, suggest that a standard deviation increase in the proportion of one’s friends from different ethnic (religious) groups is associated with a decrease of 0.276 (0.451) standard deviations in subjective wellbeing.
    Keywords: friendship,heterogeneity,social capital,networks,wellbeing
    JEL: Z12 J15 I31
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick); Tohamy, Ahmed (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: The idea that humans – especially females – are prone to some form of 'midlife crisis' has typically been viewed with extreme skepticism by social scientists. We point out the potential equivalence between an age U-shape in a new well-being literature and a matching hill-shape in especially female suicide risk (evident in 28 countries and visible in the United States even 30 years ago). This concordance between two currently separate kinds of evidence, including a result on non-human primates, is apparently not known to many researchers or public commentators. It may be necessary to reconsider traditional thinking on the midlife crisis.
    Keywords: happiness, aging, suicide, well-being, GHQ, mental-health, depression, life-course
    JEL: I12 I31
    Date: 2017–05

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