nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒08‒27
four papers chosen by

  1. Top incomes and subjective well-being By Michal Brzezinski
  2. Deep-Rooted Culture and Economic Development: Taking the Seven Deadly Sins to Build A Well-Being Composite Indicator By Luis Cesar Herrero-Prieto; Ivan Boal-San Miguel; Mafalda Mafalda Gomez-Vega
  3. The shorter workweek and worker wellbeing: Evidence from Portugal and France By Anthony Lepinteur
  4. Unintended Consequences of China’s New Labor Contract Law on Unemployment and Welfare Loss of the Workers By Akee, Randall; Zhao, Liqiu; Zhao, Zhong

  1. By: Michal Brzezinski (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: We use data from the World Wealth & Income Database, the European Values Surveys and World Values Surveys to estimate the relationship between top income shares and subjective well-being in a sample of 35 countries observed between 1980s and 2010s (139 surveys and more than 200,000 respondents). Results show that top 1% income shares are positively associated with happiness, but not with life satisfaction. The effect is present in a subsample of Western countries. We discuss possible explanations for the positive association between top income shares and happiness.
    Keywords: top incomes, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, happiness, income inequality, World Wealth & Income Database
    JEL: D63 I31
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Luis Cesar Herrero-Prieto (Department of Applied Economics, University of Valladolid); Ivan Boal-San Miguel (Department of Applied Economics, University of Valladolid); Mafalda Mafalda Gomez-Vega (Department of Applied Economics, University of Valladolid)
    Abstract: This work involves undertaking a reappraisal of the Seven Deadly Sins in order to construct synthetic indicators of well-being aimed at measuring spatial economic disparities and their link to economic development. The Seven Deadly Sins constitute a way of describing vices vis-Ã -vis Christian moral education. Yet they might also be viewed as general norms of social behaviour and interpreted today as notions related to the concept of well-being. For example, the level of concentration of wealth (greed), sustainability of resources (gluttony), safety index (wrath), problems adapting to the labour market or workplace absenteeism (sloth), etc. The Seven Deadly Sins have also yielded emblematic examples of artistic iconography and cultural production. How they are perceived and expressed may also differ depending on each group’s cultural idiosyncrasy, in the sense of a series of beliefs and attitudes forged over the centuries. Based on these premises, the current work first seeks to compile variables that reflect each conceptual dimension so as to later construct a synthetic indicator of well-being with territorial disaggregation. This enables us to explore spatial disparities and the extent to which they relate to economic development. This is applied to a group of countries in the European Union with NUTS 2 territorial disaggregation (regions). The sources of information are basically Eurostat. The method involves applying Data Envelopment Analysis to construct the synthetic indicator, and spatial econometrics to pinpoint spatial dependence effects.
    Keywords: cultural identity, welfare indicators, economic development, synthetic indicators, Deadly Sins, Europe
    JEL: Z11 Z13 R12 O12
    Date: 2018–07
  3. By: Anthony Lepinteur (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Mandatory reductions in the workweek can be used by governments to attempt to reduce unemployment, and are usually assumed to improve the well-being of workers. Nevertheless, the net impact of shorter workweeks on worker welfare is ambiguous ex ante and little empirical effort has been devoted to identify how worker satisfaction changes with mandatory reductions in working time. Using data from the European Community Household Panel, this paper evaluates the impact of the exogenous reductions in weekly working hours induced by reforms implemented in Portugal and France. Difference-in-difference estimation results suggest that reduced working hours generated significant and robust increases in job and leisure satisfaction of the workers affected in both countries, with the rise in the former mainly being explained by greater satisfaction with working hours and working conditions.
    Keywords: job satisfaction,Working-hours reductions
    Date: 2016–10
  4. By: Akee, Randall; Zhao, Liqiu; Zhao, Zhong
    Abstract: China's new Labor Contract Law, which intended to strengthen the labor protection for workers, went into effect on January 1, 2008. The law stipulated that the maximum cumulative duration of successive fixed-term (temporary) labor contracts is 10 years, and employees working for the same employer for more than 10 consecutive years are able to secure an open-ended (permanent) labor contract under the new law, which is highly desirable to employees. However, in order to circumvent the new Labor Contract Law, some employers may have dismissed workers, after the passage of the new law, who had worked in the same firm for more than 10 years. Using data from the 2008 China General Social Survey, we find strong evidence that firms did in fact dismiss their formal-contract employees who have been employed for more than 10 years. Additionally, using a regression discontinuity design based on this exogenous change in unemployment status for this particular group of workers, we show that the dismissed workers suffered significant welfare loss in terms of happiness. Our results are robust to various specifications and placebo tests.
    Keywords: Labor Contract Law,Unemployment,Happiness,Regression Discontinuity Design,China
    JEL: J41 J64 I31
    Date: 2018

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