nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒02‒26
nine papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Reducing inequalities and strengthening social cohesion through inclusive growth: A roadmap for action By Boarini, Romina; Causa, Orsetta; Fleurbaey, Marc; Grimalda, Gianluca; Woolard, Ingrid
  2. Austerity, Life Satisfaction and Expectations By Sarah Brown; Alexandros Kontonikas; Alberto Montagnoli; Mirko Moro; Luisanna Onnis
  3. Retirement and Unexpected Health Shocks By Apouey, Bénédicte; Guven, Cahit; Senik, Claudia
  4. Is the Impact of Employment Uncertainty on Fertility Intentions Channeled by Subjective Well-Being? By Daniele Vignoli; Letizia Mencarini; Giammarco Alderotti
  5. Self-employment, financial development and well-being: Evidence from China, Russia and Ukraine By Tho Pham; Oleksandr Talavera; Mao Zhang
  6. The Economic and Social Determinants of Migrants' Well-Being during the Global Financial Crisis By Danzer, Alexander M.; Dietz, Barbara
  7. Telework, the Timing of Work, and Instantaneous Well-Being: Evidence from Time Use Data By Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio; Molina, José Alberto; Velilla, Jorge
  8. How Does Terrorism Affect Individuals' Wellbeing? By Bryson, Alex; MacKerron, George
  9. Contemporary of every age: Gaetano Filangieri between public happiness and institutional economics By Balzano, Maria Silvia; Vecchione, Gaetano; Zamagni, Vera

  1. By: Boarini, Romina; Causa, Orsetta; Fleurbaey, Marc; Grimalda, Gianluca; Woolard, Ingrid
    Abstract: The authors propose a policy compact to achieve more inclusive growth in G20 countries so that economic growth regains the ultimate sense of improving all people's lives. Guiding principles are: 1) prosperity is not just about income but about all relevant outcomes of well-being and capabilities to overcome the initial social disadvantage; 2) it is also about including people in participatory decision-making to enhance their dignity and control over their lives; 3) excluding people from reaping the benefits of growth will thwart social cohesion and well-being; 4) integrated policy approaches are needed to achieve inclusive growth, across policy domains and between national and global actions, including responsible management of migratory movements. Concrete policy actions are described that span education, labor, fiscal instruments, public and private governance.
    Keywords: inclusive growth,social cohesion,inequalities,well-being
    JEL: D63 O40 E60
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Sarah Brown (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield); Alexandros Kontonikas (Essex Business School, University of Essex); Alberto Montagnoli (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield); Mirko Moro (Stirling Management School, University of Stirling); Luisanna Onnis (Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield)
    Abstract: This paper examines the linkages between fiscal austerity and life satisfaction across sixteen European countries using a sample of repeated cross-sections of individuals from 1983 to 2013 (N=853,482). Austerity is identified using changes in the cyclically-adjusted primary balance. Our dataset allows us to control for several individual-specific characteristics that are known to affect life satisfaction. In our empirical framework, we account for the role of macroeconomic developments and expectations. We find that austerity is inversely associated with life satisfaction, with the effect operating through an economic channel. Specifically, it is only the part of austerity correlated with macroeconomic developments, that is shown to empirically matter. Moreover, we show that the negative effect of austerity is mediated by expectations. Individuals with positive expectations about their future prospects are less affected, in terms of falling life satisfaction, by contractionary fiscal policies.
    Keywords: Expectations; Fiscal Austerity; Government Policy; Life Satisfaction
    JEL: E62 I31 D84
    Date: 2018–01
  3. By: Apouey, Bénédicte (Paris School of Economics); Guven, Cahit (Deakin University); Senik, Claudia (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: Do people form correct expectations about the impact of retirement on their health? This paper looks at unexpected health shocks that hit people after they retire. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey (waves 2001-2014), we construct measures of unexpected health shocks for each year, using information on respondents' views about the expected and past evolution of their health status. By definition, unexpected health shocks are immune to the problem of reverse causality (running from health condition to retirement). Our findings indicate that retirement increases the likelihood of positive health shocks and decreases the probability of negative shocks for men, with no clear results for women. These shocks are mirrored by variations in life satisfaction of the same nature (e.g. increased life satisfaction in case of unexpected positive health shocks). Other indicators of mental and physical health taken from the SF-36 vary in the same way, i.e. improve unexpectedly after retirement for men. These findings suggest that, at least in the case of men, people's desire to retire may not be based on perfectly correct expectations about the impact of this move, but is aligned with its actual consequence: retirement exerts a positive causal impact on health.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, health shocks, Australia, HILDA, health, retirement
    JEL: I12 I31 J26
    Date: 2017–12
  4. By: Daniele Vignoli (Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti", Università di Firenze); Letizia Mencarini (Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi); Giammarco Alderotti (Sapenza, Università di Roma)
    Abstract: This article combines two apparently distinct strands of contemporary research on fertility: the literature on employment uncertainty and fertility and the literature on subjective well-being and fertility. We advance the hypothesis that the impact of term-limited work contracts and precarious jobs on fertility intentions is channeled by an individual’s level of subjective well-being. To test this hypothesis, we adopt a formal framework for causal inference and apply techniques of mediation analysis to data from two rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS 2004 and 2010). Our analysis clearly suggested that the impact of employment uncertainty on fertility intentions depended on the level of subjective well-being: the negative effect was found only when subjective well-being was relatively low (i.e. life satisfaction levels equal or below 6). Detailed results show that parents and younger individuals reduced their fertility intentions more than the childless and older individuals when experiencing employment uncertainty and facing low subjective well-being. We also found that in 2010 – while the economic crisis was underway – it was especially the deterioration in men’s position in the labor market that inhibited fertility planning.
    Keywords: Economic Uncertainty; Subjective Well-being; Fertility Intentions; Europe; Mediation Analysis; Causal Inference; Great Recession
    JEL: J13 J00 J21
    Date: 2018–02
  5. By: Tho Pham (School of Management, Swansea University); Oleksandr Talavera (School of Management, Swansea University); Mao Zhang
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of financial development on entrepreneurs' well-being. Using longitudinal data from China, Russia and Ukraine, we find that Chinese and Russian entrepreneurs experience a higher level of well-being while the Ukrainian self-employed are prone to dissatisfaction. We also observe that the extent to which financial development can improve entrepreneurs' utility differs across countries. First, the development of formal financial sector does not affect Chinese entrepreneurs’ happiness. Second, greater financial development increases life satisfaction of Ukrainian self-employed but decreases Russian entrepreneurs' job satisfaction. The results suggest that financial development could affect well-being through both monetary and nonmonetary channels.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, self-employment, satisfaction, financial development.
    JEL: J24 O16
    Date: 2018–01–25
  6. By: Danzer, Alexander M. (Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt); Dietz, Barbara (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the economic and social determinants affecting the well-being of temporary migrants before, during and after the financial crisis. Exploiting unique panel data which cover migration spells from Tajikistan between 2001 and 2011, we find that migrants earn less but stay longer in the destination during the crisis; at the same time, they become more exposed to illegal work relations, harassment and deportation through the Russian authorities. Especially illegal employment has negative second order effects on wages. Despite the similarities in the demographics and jobs of migrant workers, we find substantial heterogeneity in how the financial crisis affects their well-being. Migrants who experience wage losses during the crisis rationally stop migrating.
    Keywords: migration, informal employment, deportation, harassment, financial crisis, well-being, Russia
    JEL: J15 I31
    Date: 2018–01
  7. By: Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio (University of Zaragoza); Molina, José Alberto (University of Zaragoza); Velilla, Jorge (University of Zaragoza)
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the time allocation decisions of teleworkers, and compare them with their commuter counterparts. Using data from the American Time Use Survey for the years 2003 to 2015, we analyze the time spent working, the timing of work, and the instant enjoyment experienced while working, of teleworkers and commuters. Results show that teleworkers devote 40% less time to market work activities than do commuters, and less than 60% of both male and female teleworkers work at 'regular hours', vs around 80% of similar commuters. A higher percentage of teleworkers than commuters are engaged in leisure and non-market work at the central hours of the day. Using additional information from the Well-being Module for the years 2012 and 2013, we find that male teleworkers experience higher levels of satisfaction while working than do commuters, net of differences in socio-demographic and job characteristics. Our results point towards male telecommuters being happier in their job tasks than commuters, which may lead to a higher productivity of the former, and explains why teleworkers are able to work fewer hours per day.
    Keywords: telework, market work time, instantaneous well-being, American Time Use Survey
    JEL: D13 J22
    Date: 2018–01
  8. By: Bryson, Alex (University College London); MacKerron, George (University of Sussex)
    Abstract: This paper is the first to exploit high-frequency data to measure the impact of terrorist-related incidents (TRIs) on individuals' momentary happiness and anxiety. We show the impact of TRIs varies with the nature of the incident, the individual's physical proximity to it, and the time that has elapsed since the incident. TRIs have a substantial effect on individuals' momentary happiness and anxiety levels, but the effect is short-lived and is largely confined to incidents that lead to the death of victims and incidents within a twenty kilometre radius.
    Keywords: happiness, anxiety, wellbeing, conflict, bombings, killings, shootings, terrorism, Northern Ireland
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2018–01
  9. By: Balzano, Maria Silvia; Vecchione, Gaetano; Zamagni, Vera
    Abstract: In the decades around the turn of the eighteenth century, Naples was capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and Europe’s third most populous city. From the early decades of the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century, the city spawned a school of intellectuals that, though predominantly juridical in cast, nevertheless displayed a surprisingly substantial openness to a new approach to the social sciences, which had developed above all in France, heavily influenced by the natural sciences and the experimental method. In harmony with Enlightenment thought, Gaetano Filangieri was the precursor, two centuries back, of the principles of indissoluble interaction between formal and informal institutions and economic development, between governance and social feedback, that are pillars of today’s school of institutional economics. His writings anticipated, in a number of respects, conceptual approaches adopted by later scholars. The present paper offers an institutional focus on his work, referring above all to Douglass North and his treatment of the role of the Glorious Revolution.
    Keywords: Gaetano Filangieri; Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; Institutional economics
    JEL: B2 B25 B31
    Date: 2018–01–10

This nep-hap issue is ©2018 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.