nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒02‒12
three papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. On the Equilibrium and Welfare Consequences of Getting Ahead of the Smiths By Frédéric Gavrel; Thérèse Rebière
  2. Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study By Clark, Andrew E.; Lee, Tom
  3. Living conditions and well-being: Evidence from African countries By Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D’Ambrosio

  1. By: Frédéric Gavrel (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Thérèse Rebière (LIRSA - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM], Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper provides an analysis of the social consequences of people seeking to get ahead of the Smiths. All individuals attempt to reach a higher rank than the Smiths, including the Smiths themselves. This attitude gives rise to an equilibrium in which all individuals have equal utilities but unequal (gross) incomes. Due to a rat-race effect, individuals devote too much energy to climbing the social scale.However, laissez-faire equilibrium is an equal-utility constrained social optimum. Conversely, a utilitarian social planner would not choose utility equality. Unexpectedly, this social ambition theory fairly well accounts for empirical intermediate wage inequality.
    Keywords: Efficiency ,Inequalities,Well-being,Getting ahead of the Smiths,Social interactions
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Clark, Andrew E.; Lee, Tom
    Abstract: We here use data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) to provide one of the first analyses of the distal (early-life) and proximal (later-life) correlates of older-life subjective well-being. Unusually, we have two distinct measures of the latter: happiness and eudaimonia. Even after controlling for proximal covariates, outcomes at age 18 (IQ score, parental income and parental education) remain good predictors of well-being over 50 years later. In terms of the proximal covariates, mental health and social participation are the strongest predictors of both measures of well-being in older age. However, there are notable differences in the other correlates of happiness and eudaimonia. As such, well-being policy will depend to an extent on which measure is preferred
    Keywords: life-course; well-being; eudaimonia; health; happiness
    JEL: I31 I38
    Date: 2017–11–01
  3. By: Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D’Ambrosio
    Abstract: We here use five rounds of Afrobarometer data covering more than 100,000 individuals over the 2004-2016 period to explore the link between self-assessed measures of living conditions and objective measures of individual well-being (access to basic needs). These latter are picked up by various indices of deprivation, satisfaction and inequality. We find some evidence of comparisons to those who are better off and to those who are worse off, in terms of access to basic needs, in the evaluation of current living conditions. Overall, however, subjective well-being is mostly absolute in African countries. There is notable heterogeneity by level of development, with the effect of lack of access to basic needs being more pronounced in poorer countries. Equally, comparisons to the better-off are associated with better living conditions in poorer countries, suggesting the existing of a tunnel effect: this latter disappears with economic development.
    Date: 2017

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