nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒11‒05
eleven papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Happiness at Different Ages: The Social Context Matters By John F. Helliwell; Max B. Norton; Haifang Huang; Shun Wang
  2. The Effects of a Parenting Program on Maternal Well-Being: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial By Camehl, Georg; Hahlweg, Kurt; Spieß, C. Katharina
  3. Work and family as factors determining Individual Subjective Well-Being in Spain By Lasierra, Jose Manuel
  4. Well-being Effects of Self-employment: A Spatial Inquiry By Abreu, Maria; Öner, Özge; Brouwer, Aleid; van Leeuwen, Eveline
  6. Alternative Values-Based 'Recipes' for Life Satisfaction: German Results with an Australian Replication By Headey, Bruce; Wagner, Gert G.
  7. Are Retirees More Satisfied? Anticipation and Adaptation Effects of Retirement on Subjective Well-Being: A Panel Analysis for Germany By Merz, Joachim
  8. Micro-Entrepreneurship and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Rural Bangladesh By Faress Bhuiyan, Muhammad; Ivlevs, Artjoms
  9. Sustainable consumption and wellbeing: does on-line shopping matter? By Mònica Guillen-Royo
  10. Estimating the Effect of Physical Exercise on Juveniles' Health Status and Subjective Well-Being in China By J. Guan; J.D. Tena
  11. Subjective well-being and social comparison: A comparative study on rural Thailand and Vietnam. By Thi Kim Cuong Pham; Phu Nguyen-Van; Huu Thanh-Tam Nguyen; Thi Anh-Dao Tran; Kone Noukignonb

  1. By: John F. Helliwell; Max B. Norton; Haifang Huang; Shun Wang
    Abstract: This paper uses a variety of individual-level survey data from several countries to test for interactions between subjective well-being at different ages and variables measuring the nature and quality of the social context at work, at home, and in the community. While earlier studies have found important age patterns (often U-shaped) and social context effects, these two sets of variables have generally been treated as mutually independent. We test for and find several large and highly significant interactions. Results are presented for life evaluations and (in some surveys) for happiness yesterday, in models with and without other control variables. The U-shape in age is found to be significantly flatter, and well-being in the middle of the age range higher, for those who are in workplaces with partner-like superiors, for those living as couples, and for those who have lived for longer in their communities. A strong sense of community belonging is associated with greater life satisfaction at all ages, but especially so at ages 60 and above, in some samples deepening the U-shape in age by increasing the size of the life satisfaction gains following the mid-life low.
    JEL: I31 J12 J32 R13
    Date: 2018–10
  2. By: Camehl, Georg; Hahlweg, Kurt; Spieß, C. Katharina
    Abstract: This paper evaluates how the Triple P parenting program affects maternal well-being. We analyze data from a randomized controlled trial and a separate sample of mothers from a deprived neighborhood without a control group. For the latter, we generate a control group using SOEP survey data and evaluate the validity of this procedure. Overall, our results show a positive effect of Triple P on maternal well-being – with the largest effects appearing three years after treatment. Thus, we illustrate that maternal well-being is an additional channel through which parenting programs, as examples of early childhood interventions, benefit families.
    Keywords: parenting program,family well-being,instrumental variables estimation,Triple P
    JEL: I31 J13 C21 C26
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Lasierra, Jose Manuel
    Abstract: We investigate the degree of satisfaction with life carried by individuals for the Spanish case and which are some of the most influential work and personal factors, all according to their family structure: single, single parent, couples with children and childless couples, and two periods in the recent economic cycle. In this paper, the subjective individual well-being level is analyzed as an indicator of inequality. We use factors from two of the areas in which the individual develops most part of his life: work and family. It is an empirical analysis with not too many precedents in the literature, using these family models and incorporating only labour and personal factors and not considering other variables such as health, to better highlight the relevance of labor considerations. The results indicate substantial differences in the degree of individual well-being depending on family type and cycle. Furthermore, of the explanatory variables, job satisfaction, and good labour relations and social relations on the job were found to be the most important and significant in relation to well-being. The research could serve to orient human resource policies in companies and also public policies to improve the plight of those least satisfied with the lives they lead, here single parents and couples with children.
    Keywords: Individual well-being; Family structure; Job satisfaction; Public policy; Social inequality
    JEL: J12 J13 J18 J22 J28
    Date: 2018–10–01
  4. By: Abreu, Maria (University of Cambridge); Öner, Özge (University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economy); Brouwer, Aleid (University of Groningen); van Leeuwen, Eveline (Urban Economics Group)
    Abstract: Our paper presents an empirical analysis of entrepreneurial well-being using a large-scale longitudinal household survey from the UK that tracks almost 50,000 individuals across seven waves over the period 2009–2017, as well as a number of exploratory case studies. We contribute to the existing literature by investigating how entrepreneurial well-being varies across locations along the urban-rural continuum, and across wealthy-deprived neighbourhoods. We use a Coarsened Exact Matching (CEM) approach to compare the well-being outcomes of individuals who switch into self-employment from waged employment, and show that entrepreneurial well-being, in the form of job satisfaction, is significantly higher for those living in semi-urban locations, relative to those living in urban and rural locations. We argue that semi-urban locations provide an optimal combination of ease of doing business and quality of life. Our results also show that individuals in wealthy neighbourhoods who switch into self-employment experience higher job satisfaction than otherwise comparable individuals living in materially deprived neighbourhoods, although the latter experience greater levels of life satisfaction following the switch.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Well-being; Self-employment; Urban-rural; Neighbourhood effects
    JEL: E24 I13 L26 P25 R20 R23
    Date: 2018–10–30
  5. By: Ekaterina Kodja (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Nadezhda Lebedeva (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Recent geopolitical changes in Crimea initiated the process of massive identity transformation among ethnic majority and minority groups. Current study was aimed at examining the role of multiple identities and acculturation strategies in the psychological well-being of Crimean Tatar minority (N=80). The study revealed high motivation for ethno-cultural continuity among Crimean Tatars. The combination of ethnic, religious and place identities positively predicts both life-satisfaction and self-esteem. These combined identities also positively predict integration strategy and negatively assimilation strategy. Combined national and Russian ethno-linguistic identitiy positively predicts integration and assimilation strategies and negatively predicts separation strategy. The findings indicate the importance of taking historical, political, social context into account in the studies on minority issues
    Keywords: multiple identities, acculturation strategies, ethnic minorities, subjective well-being, motivation for ethno-cultural continuity.
    JEL: F22
    Date: 2018
  6. By: Headey, Bruce (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research); Wagner, Gert G. (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)
    Abstract: In most research on Life Satisfaction (LS), it is assumed that the covariates of high and low LS are the same for everyone, or at least everyone in the West. In this paper, analysing data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, with a limited replication based on Australian panel data, we estimate models of alternative 'recipes' for LS. There appear to be at least four distinct 'recipes', which are primarily based on the values of different population sub-sets. These values are: altruistic values, family values, materialistic values and religious values. By a 'recipe' for LS we mean a linked set of values, behavioural choices and domain satisfactions, which appear to be held together by a person's values, and which prove to have substantial effects on LS. Our German and Australian evidence indicates that individuals who follow recipes based on altruistic, family or religious values record above average long term LS, whereas the materialistic values 'recipe' is associated with below average LS.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, alternative recipes, values/life priorities, behavioural choices, domain satisfactions, panel data, SOEP
    JEL: I31 Z13
    Date: 2018–09
  7. By: Merz, Joachim (Leuphana University Lüneburg)
    Abstract: Quality of life and satisfaction with life are of particular importance for individuals as well as for society concerning the "demographic change" with now longer retirement periods. This study will contribute to the life satisfaction discussion and quantifies life satisfaction and pattern of explanation before and after such a prominent life cycle event, the entrance into retirement. In particular, with the individual longitudinal data and 33 waves of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and the appropriate microeconometric causal fixed effects robust panel methods we ask and quantify if actual life satisfaction indeed is decreasing before retirement, is increasing at the entrance into retirement, and is decreasing then after certain periods back to a foregoing level. Thus, we ask if such an anticipation and adaptation pattern – as known from other prominent events – is also to discover for life satisfaction before and after retirement in Germany.
    Keywords: retirement, life-satisfaction, happiness, retirement, anticipation and adaptation effects, fixed-effect regression, Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), Germany
    JEL: I31 J26 J14 J17 A13 C23
    Date: 2018–09
  8. By: Faress Bhuiyan, Muhammad (Carleton College); Ivlevs, Artjoms (University of the West of England, Bristol)
    Abstract: Microcredit has long been hailed as a powerful tool to promote livelihoods and reduce poverty through entrepreneurship. However, its impacts on people's subjective well-being remain underexplored. We present a unified theoretical framework for analyzing the effect of microcredit-enabled entrepreneurship on overall life satisfaction – a key manifestation of subjective well-being. Empirically, we apply an instrumental variable approach to a unique census-like household survey conducted in three villages of Bangladesh in 2013. In spite of having no direct effects, we find that microcredit borrowing has an indirect negative effect on overall life satisfaction, through increased worry. On a positive note, we find that female micro-borrowers experience an increase in satisfaction with financial security and achievement in life. We also provide evidence that micro-borrowers with higher levels of assets experience an increase in satisfaction with financial security.
    Keywords: microcredit, entrepreneurship, life satisfaction, happiness, depression, worry, female empowerment, Bangladesh
    JEL: I31 J16 L26
    Date: 2018–09
  9. By: Mònica Guillen-Royo (TIK Centre, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Although sustainable consumption is frequently associated with lower quality of life, empirical evidence indicates that practices linked to reducing the environmental impact of travelling, heating, cooling and food consumption are compatible with high levels of wellbeing. More and more people are shopping on-line, which increases the efficiency of consumption, expands choice and information – while also intensifying exposure to consumerism and materialistic messages. This article explores the relationship between sustainable consumption and wellbeing and the role of on-line shopping, analysing survey data from a representative sample in Norway. Wellbeing is addressed in its affective (happiness), cognitive (satisfaction) and eudaimonic dimensions (subjective vitality). Sustainable consumption practices are investigated through a variable that captures the extent to which respondents choose sustainable alternatives as regards travel, household energy use and food. Results based on regression analysis indicate that sustainable consumption practices and wellbeing are positively associated in Norway, but that the relationship weakens when psychological and lifestyle factors are taken into account. The study also shows that internet shopping does not reduce the strength of the relationship, and might even increase life satisfaction by lowering the costs of engaging in sustainable consumption practices.
    Date: 2018–10
  10. By: J. Guan; J.D. Tena
    Abstract: This study estimates the causal effect of physical exercise on health and happiness for Chinese junior high school students. We use a longitudinal database from the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS) which allows us to deal with the potential endogeneity of physical exercise by considering the use of instrumental variables and propensity score matching. Our findings suggest that physical exercise has a significantly positive effect on health, and also marginally improves students' happiness. Moreover, these improvements affect all types of students, even those relatively unhappy or in poor health. It is also found that the positive impact on health is higher for females, rural and low-income students and for students attending to schools subjected to high academic pressure.
    Keywords: health;happiness;endogeneity;Instrumental Variables;Propensity score;China
    Date: 2018
  11. By: Thi Kim Cuong Pham; Phu Nguyen-Van; Huu Thanh-Tam Nguyen; Thi Anh-Dao Tran; Kone Noukignonb
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of the households’ welfare perception using a survey database on rural areas in Thailand and Vietnam which have similar economic and social conditions. Welfare perception corresponds to the households’ subjective assessment of their general situations. We focus on the social comparison and take into account geographical isolation, relative poverty, harsh living conditions, economic and environmental risks as well as the households’ degree of risk acceptance. Our study shows that households, in both countries, are sensitive to income and relative poverty, but only Thai households are concerned with wealth comparison. In particular, this comparison is asymmetric. Environmental risks as well as households’ attitude to risks differently affect the households’ well-being in both countries. However, we observe a similarity in the effect of the risks’ monetary consequences.
    Keywords: environmental risks, economic risks; rural area, social comparison; subjective well-being.
    JEL: I31 O12 Q56
    Date: 2018

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