nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2017‒07‒09
six papers chosen by

  1. Bride price and the wellbeing of women By Sara Lowes; Nathan Nunn
  2. IKIGAI: Reflection on Life Goals Optimizes Performance and Happiness By Schippers, M.C.
  3. Health Inequalities for Immigrants in Canada : Quebec versus the Rest of Canada By LEBIHAN, Laetitia; MAO TAKONGMO, Charles Olivier; McKELLIPS, Fanny
  4. Time use surveys and experienced well-being in France and the United States By Sarah Flèche; Conal Smith
  5. Population Structure and the Human Development Index By Carmen Herrero Blanco; Ricardo Martínez; Antonio Villar Notario
  6. Reliability and Validity of the Happiness Approach to Measuring Preferences By van Hoorn, Andre

  1. By: Sara Lowes; Nathan Nunn
    Abstract: Bride price, which is payment from the groom and/or the groom’s family to the bride’s family at the time of marriage, is a common cultural practice in many African societies. It is often argued that the practice may have negative effects for girls and women because it may: incentivize early marriage and lead to higher fertility; promote the view that husbands have ‘purchased’ their wives, resulting is worse treatment of wives; and trap women in unhappy marriages due to the common requirement that some of the bride price be paid back upon divorce. We provide evidence towards a better understanding of the effects of bride price by examining the empirical relationship between bride price payments and various outcomes of interest. Examining a sample of 317 couples from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we find no evidence that a larger bride price payment is associated with earlier marriage or with higher fertility. We also find that larger bride price payments are actually associated with better-quality marriages as measured by beliefs about the acceptability of domestic violence, the frequency of engaging in positive activities as a couple, and the self-reported happiness of the wife. We also examine the effect of the requirement for the bride price to be paid back upon divorce and find no evidence that this requirement is associated with women being less happy in their marriages on average. However, we do find that the combination of a very high bride price (over US$1,000) and a requirement to pay back the bride price upon divorce is associated with lower levels of happiness for wives.
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Schippers, M.C.
    Abstract: In her inaugural address, Michaéla discusses the role of self-regulatory behaviors that people can employ in order to live a full-filling life. These behaviors include reflection and personal goal setting, in order to formulate a direction or purpose in life (Ikigai). In the inaugural address, an evidence-based goal-setting intervention is discussed. This relatively brief intervention has shown to have lasting results: not only does it increase well-being of students, the intervention also boosted academic performance of students by over 20%. Moreover, the intervention significantly decreased the gender and ethnic minority performance gap. The goal setting is shown in a broader perspective with examples in education, business and operations management. The perspective presented in this address emphasizes taking control of one’s life in order to optimize performance and happiness.
    Keywords: Goal setting, Study success, Reflection, Self-regulatory behaviour, Well-being and happiness, Gender and ethnicity gap, Personality, Team reflexivity, Behavioural operations management, Performance management
    JEL: M10 L2 M12 L12
    Date: 2017–06–16
  3. By: LEBIHAN, Laetitia; MAO TAKONGMO, Charles Olivier; McKELLIPS, Fanny
    Abstract: Little is known about immigrant health inequalities in Canada by province. To address this knowledge gap, we compare multiple health indicators among immigrants in Quebec, immigrants in the rest of Canada and Canadian-born individuals. The literature emphasizes that it is more difficult for immigrants in Quebec to integrate into the job market compared to immigrants in other Canadian provinces. There is an important link between the labour market situation of immigrants and their mental and physical health. Our results---obtained from data in the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)---show that well-being and health indicators worsen significantly for immigrants in Quebec compared to their counterparts in the rest of Canada and Canadian-born individuals. This is particularly true for mental health and life satisfaction.
    Keywords: immigrants, Canadian-born, well-being, health, Quebec.
    JEL: I14 I30 J10
    Date: 2017–01
  4. By: Sarah Flèche; Conal Smith
    Abstract: The last decade has seen a sustained surge of interest in measures of subjective well-being on the part of economists and other social scientists. The vast majority of the academic literature on subjective well-being focuses on measures of life evaluation, as does most discussion of how measures of subjective well-being can be applied to policy. However, measures of life evaluation have well-known limitations, and other measures of subjective well-being, including experienced well-being (i.e. people’s time use and emotional state over time), can be an important complement to measures of life evaluation. As of 2016, however, few countries have included experienced well-being in their official time use surveys, and there is relatively little understanding of how different methodological approaches to measuring experienced well-being affect the results obtained. This paper presents results using data from the US and the French time use surveys, showing that the different approaches adopted by these two countries have quite different implications for the data collected. Results highlight the sensitivity of experienced well-being measures – particularly the U-index – to the choice of affective states included, and shed light on the differing results found in the literature on how unemployment impacts upon experienced well-being.
    Keywords: experienced well-being, measurement, time use survey, U-index
    JEL: C8 I31 J22
    Date: 2017–07–06
  5. By: Carmen Herrero Blanco (Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas - Ivie); Ricardo Martínez (Brown University); Antonio Villar Notario (Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas - Ivie)
    Abstract: This paper provides an alternative way of measuring human development that takes explicitly into account the differences in the countries' population structures. The interest of this proposal stems from two complementary elements. First, that there is an enormous diversity in the population structures of those countries analysed in the Human Development Reports, particularly the shares of old people in the population. Second, that demographic characteristics are relevant in the evaluation of development possibilities. We propose to change the way of measuring health, education and material wellbeing, in order to take into account those differences in the population structures. We analyse empirically the effect induced by these changes in the evaluation of human development by comparing this way of measurement with the conventional HDI for 168 countries.
    Keywords: Human development, health, education, income, life potential, education potential.
    JEL: D63 O15 R23
    Date: 2017–07
  6. By: van Hoorn, Andre
    Abstract: While the use of happiness data to estimate “utility” functions has some interesting advantages over stated and revealed preferences methods and is growing in popularity, evidence on the reliability and validity of the happiness approach to measuring preferences is lacking. Moving beyond the intuitive appeal of estimating happiness functions, I draw on the literature in psychology on so-called psychometric quality to examine the following two features of the happiness approach to measuring preferences: (i) do repeated samples and different measures of happiness or subjective well-being (SWB) render similar preferences (what is called reliability)?; and (ii) do SWB-based preference measures relate to other measures that capture similar constructs in a logical way (what is called construct validity)? Empirical evidence indicates that SWB-based preferences exhibit high intertemporal, test-retest stability and are highly consistent when measured using alternative indicators of SWB (reliability). Similarly, SWB-based preferences relate to stated and revealed preferences measures of similar constructs in expected ways (construct validity). Overall, I conclude that estimating happiness (“utility”) functions provides a reliable and valid means for measuring people’s preferences.
    Keywords: Heterogeneous preferences; revealed preferences; stated preferences; attitudes; subjective well-being; happiness
    JEL: D60 I30
    Date: 2016

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