nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒05‒14
six papers chosen by

  1. Critical analysis of human progress: Its negative and positive sides in the late-capitalism By Mario Coccia; Matteo Bellitto
  2. On the Role of Migration on the Satisfaction of European Researchers: Evidence from MORE2 By Jewell, Sarah; Kazakis, Pantelis
  3. Digit ratio (2D:4D) predicts pro-social behavior in economic games only for unsatisfied individuals By Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
  4. Multidimensional Nation Wellbeing, More Equal yet More Polarized: An Analysis of the Progress of Human Development since 1990 By Gordon Anderson; Alessio Farcomeni; Maria Grazia Pittau; Roberto Zelli
  5. Finding meaning through work: eudaimonic well-being and job type in the US and UK By Andrew Bryce
  6. Emigration, remittances and the subjective well-being of those staying behind By Artjoms Ivlevs; Milena Nikolova; Carol Graham

  1. By: Mario Coccia; Matteo Bellitto
    Abstract: The concept of progress has characterized human society from millennia. However, this concept is elusive and too often given for certain. The goal of this paper is to suggest a general definition of human progress that satisfies, whenever possible the conditions of independence, generality, epistemological applicability and empirical correctness. This study proposes, within a pragmatic approach, human progress as an inexhaustible process driven by an ideal of maximum wellbeing of purposeful people which, on attainment of any of its goals or objectives for increasing wellbeing, then seek another consequential goal and objective, endlessly, which more closely approximates its ideal fixed in new socioeconomic contexts over time and space. The human progress, in the global, capitalistic, and post-humanistic Era, improves the fundamental life-interests represented by health, wealth, expansion of knowledge, technology and freedom directed to increase wellbeing throughout the society. These factors support the acquisition by humanity of better and more complex forms of life. However, this study shows the inconsistency of the equation economic growth= progress because human progress also generates, during its continuous process without limit, negative effects for human being, environment and society.
    Date: 2018–04
  2. By: Jewell, Sarah; Kazakis, Pantelis
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to disentangle the role of international migration on the job satisfaction of academic researchers. Using a relatively novel database, MORE2, that tracks the migratory behaviour of European researchers, and correcting for potential sorting behaviour of individuals via a multinomial treatment model, we find that more migratory groups tend to demonstrate higher levels of satisfaction regarding pecuniary outcomes. They also present higher levels of satisfaction regarding career advancement and social status, both crucial components in the lives of PhD holders. Our results survive in a battery of robustness checks, corroborating our main findings.
    Keywords: subjective-well-being; high-skilled migration; job satisfaction; European researchers
    JEL: J28 J61 R23
    Date: 2017–11
  3. By: Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
    Abstract: Prenatal exposure to hormones, and to sex hormones in particular, exerts organizational effects on the brain and these have observable behavioral correlates in adult life. There are reasons to expect that social behaviors—which are fundamental for the evolutionary success of humans—might be related to biological factors such as prenatal sex hormone exposure. Nevertheless, the existing literature is inconclusive as to whether and how prenatal exposure to testosterone and estrogen, proxied by the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D), may predict non-selfish behavior. Here, we investigate this question using economic experiments with real monetary stakes and analyzing five different dimensions of social behavior in a comparatively large sample of Caucasian participants (n=560). For both males and females, our results show no robust association between right- or left-hand 2D:4D and generosity, bargaining, or trust-related behaviors. Since 2D:4D is thought to be a marker for status, we set-up and test the hypothesis that 2D:4D explains prosocial behavior only for people with low subjective wellbeing who are in need for status. Using two different measures of subjective wellbeing, we find considerable support for our hypothesis, especially among males. These results contribute to the debate regarding the context-dependent interpretation of the effect of prenatal hormone exposure on behavior by suggesting that important moderating factors may explain the differing results in the literature. In particular, we uncover the importance of accounting for the subjective nature of need for status, which has been largely overlooked in previous work.
    Keywords: Social Preferences, Economic Games, Digit Ratio, Life Satisfaction
    JEL: C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2018–04–10
  4. By: Gordon Anderson; Alessio Farcomeni; Maria Grazia Pittau; Roberto Zelli
    Abstract: Mounting concern regarding inadequacies of per capita GDP or GNI as a source of nation wellbeing classi cation and comparison lead to the employment of multidimensional approaches with attendant concerns regarding their arbitrary and complex nature. Here, based upon commonalities in multidimensional behavior of nations, feasible, less arbitrary, classi cation methodologies and techniques for assessing wellbeing within and between groups are proposed. Implementation in a three dimensional study of 164 countries from 1990 to 2014 in a Human Development Index (HDI) framework reveals substantive multi-dimensional growth in a slowly evolving, relatively immobile three group world exhibiting simultaneous increases in equality and polarization with a growing Lower HD class and shrinking Middle and High HD classes.
    Keywords: Wellbeing, Human Development Index, Multi-dimensional Mixture Models, Class membership, Inequality, Polarization, Mobility.
    JEL: C14 I32 O1
    Date: 2018–05–04
  5. By: Andrew Bryce (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: Eudaimonic well-being is an important component of utility that reflects people’s preferences for having purpose and meaning in their lives. This paper presents analysis from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the UK Annual Population Survey (APS) to show that the extent to which people find their work meaningful is significantly determined by the type of job they have. Much of the existing literature in this area provides theoretical or qualitative evidence, or evidence from small scale surveys, to identify the aspects of a job most conducive to eudaimonic well-being. This paper is the first to establish large scale quantitative evidence of the effects of job type on eudaimonic well-being across the whole population, based on two large national datasets. I find that jobs that combine professional autonomy with having a direct social impact within the context of a trusting relationship are found to be the most meaningful and worthwhile, controlling for selection into these jobs. These findings have some interesting implications for how wages are set in different labour markets.
    Keywords: subjective well-being; eudaimonic well-being; meaningful work
    JEL: B5 C1 J2
    Date: 2018–04
  6. By: Artjoms Ivlevs (University of the West of England); Milena Nikolova (University of Maryland, College Park); Carol Graham (The Brookings Institution)
    Abstract: Despite growing academic and policy interest in the subjective well-being consequences of emigration for those left behind, existing studies have focused on single origin countries or specific world regions. Our study is the first to offer a global perspective on the well-being consequences of emigration for those staying behind using several subjective well-being measures (evaluations of best possible life, positive affect, stress, and depression). Drawing upon Gallup World Poll data for 114 countries during 2009-2011, we find that both having family members abroad and receiving remittances are positively associated with evaluative well-being (evaluations of best possible life) and positive affect (measured by an index of variables related to experiencing positive feelings at a particular point in time). Our analysis provides novel results showing that remittances are particularly beneficial for evaluative well-being in less developed and more unequal contexts; in richer countries, only the out-migration of family members is positively associated with life evaluations, while remittances have no additional association. We also find that having household members abroad is linked with increased stress and depression, which are not offset by remittances. The out-migration of family members appears more traumatic in contexts where migration is less common, such as more developed countries, and specific world regions, such as Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as among women. Relying on subjective well-being measures, which reflect both material and non-material aspects of life and are broad measures of well-being, allows us to provide additional insights and a more well-rounded picture of the possible consequences of emigration on migrant family members staying behind relative to standard outcomes employed in the literature, such as the left-behind’s consumption, income or labor market responses.
    Keywords: migration, remittances, depression, stress, Cantril ladder of life, happiness, Gallup World Poll
    JEL: F22 F24 I30 O15 J61
    Date: 2018–05

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