nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2017‒10‒15
three papers chosen by

  1. I Can't Sleep! Relative Concerns and Sleep Behavior By Akay, Alpaslan; Martinsson, Peter; Ralsmark, Hilda
  2. Television, sustainability and happiness in Peru By Monica Guillen-Royo
  3. Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics; Are Same-sex Relationships Different? By Chen, Shuai; van Ours, Jan

  1. By: Akay, Alpaslan (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Martinsson, Peter (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Ralsmark, Hilda (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of relative concerns with respect to income on the quantity and quality of sleep using a long panel dataset on the sleep behavior of people in Germany. We find that relative income has a substantial negative effect on number of hours of sleep on weekdays and overall satisfaction with sleep, i.e., sleep quality, whereas absolute income has no particular effect on sleep behavior. The findings are robust to several specification checks, including measures of relative concerns, reference group, income inequality, and local price differences. The paper also investigates the importance of the potential channels including working hours, time-use activities, and physical and mental health to explain how relative concerns relate to sleep behavior. The results reveal that while all of these channels partially contribute to the effect, it appears to be mainly driven by physical and mental health and overall and financial well-being/stress. We also use a subjective well-being valuation approach to calculate the monetary value of sleep lost due to income comparisons. The total cost is as high as about 2.6 billion euro/year (1.8% of the overall monetary value of sleep and 1.3% of total health expenditures) among the working-age population in Germany.
    Keywords: Relative Income; Sleeping Satisfaction; Hours of Sleep
    JEL: C35 C90 D60
    Date: 2017–10
  2. By: Monica Guillen-Royo (TIK Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Earlier studies have concluded that television consumption is detrimental to environmental sustainability and people’s wellbeing, due to its promotion of consumerism and materialistic goals. However, recent evidence indicates that, in contexts of relative deprivation, television can be a source of wellbeing, a main provider of entertainment and information. However, this might present a conflict between the wellbeing of present and future generations, and poses a challenge for sustainability policy in developing countries. This article contributes to the emergent debate on the role of television in sustainability policy, by presenting a study of the effects of television viewing in a heterogeneous Peruvian sample (n=500). Regression analysis results indicate that television consumption is negatively associated with sustainable attitudes, partially through the promotion of goals linked to materialism. The relationship between television consumption and happiness is not significant but becomes marginally positive when materialistic goals are accounted for. This study finds that in countries like Peru, television need not limit the wellbeing of present and future generations if materialistic messages are reduced and the content of environmental programmes is critically revised.
    Date: 2017–10
  3. By: Chen, Shuai (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research); van Ours, Jan (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: Partnered individuals are happier than singles. This can be because partnership leads to more satisfactory subjective well-being or because happier people are more likely to find a partner. We analyze Dutch panel data to investigate whether there is a causal effect of partnership on subjective well-being. Our data allow us to distinguish between marriage and cohabitation and between same-sex partnerships and opposite-sex ones. Our results support the short-term crisis model and adaptation theory. We find that marital partnership improves well-being and that these benefits are homogeneous to sexual orientation. The well-being gains of marriage are larger than those of cohabitation. Investigating partnership formation and disruption, we discover that the well-being effects are symmetric. Finally, we find that marriage improves well-being for both younger and older cohorts while cohabitation only benefits younger cohort.
    Keywords: subjective well-being; Happiness; marriage; Cohabitation; sexuel orientation
    JEL: I31 J12 J16
    Date: 2017

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