nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒12‒10
five papers chosen by

  1. Does relative deprivation induce migration? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Winters, P.; Kafle, K.; Benfica, R.
  2. The well-being transition : measuring what counts to protect what matters By Eloi Laurent; Jean Jouzel
  3. Is Envy Harmful to a Society's Psychological Health and Wellbeing? A Longitudinal Study of 18,000 Adults By Mujcic, Redzo; Oswald, Andrew J.
  4. The consumption-investment decision of a prospect theory household: A two-period model with an endogenous second period reference level By Hlouskova, Jaroslava; Fortin, Ines; Tsigaris, Panagiotis
  5. Farm-level factors influencing farmers satisfaction with their work. By Herrera, B.; Gerster-Bentaya, M.; Knierim, A.

  1. By: Winters, P.; Kafle, K.; Benfica, R.
    Abstract: This paper revisits the decades-old relative deprivation theory of migration. In contrast to the traditional view which portrays absolute income maximization as a driver of migration, we test whether relative deprivation induces migration in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Taking advantage of the internationally comparable longitudinal data from integrated household and agriculture surveys from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda, we use panel fixed effects to estimate the effects of relative deprivation on migration. We find that a household s migration decision is based not only on its wellbeing status but also on the relative position of the household in the wellbeing distribution of the local community. Results are robust to alternative specifications including pooled data across the five countries and the migration relative deprivation relationship is amplified in rural, agricultural, and male-headed households. Results imply a need to renew the discussion of relative deprivation as a cause of migration. Acknowledgement :
    Keywords: Labor and Human Capital
    Date: 2018–07
  2. By: Eloi Laurent (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques); Jean Jouzel (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette])
    Abstract: In this article we provide an analytical framework for a collective effort that we label “the well-beingtransition” away from growth and GDP towards human well-being and offer some insights as to what is needed to accelerate this dynamic, insisting on the need for a new positive narrative and institutional reforms. We first present the achievements and challenges of the well-being transition first by outlying why and how we can go beyond growth and GDP not just to see the world differently but to change it. We then spell out a possible narrative able to engage citizens and transform these new visions into social realities, linking sustainability and justice in a social-ecological approach of 21st century challenges. We finally propose specific institutional reforms to ground the well-being transition in public policy.
    Keywords: Well being; Sustainability; Growth; Gross domestric product
    JEL: I31 I32
    Date: 2018–10
  3. By: Mujcic, Redzo (University of Queensland); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Nearly 100 years ago, the philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell warned of the social dangers of widespread envy. One view of modern society is that it is systematically developing a set of institutions - such as social media and new forms of advertising - that make people feel inadequate and envious of others. If so, how might that be influencing the psychological health of our citizens? This paper reports the first large-scale longitudinal research into envy and its possible repercussions. The paper studies 18,000 randomly selected individuals over the years 2005, 2009, and 2013. Using measures of SF-36 mental health and psychological well-being, four main conclusions emerge. First, the young are especially susceptible. Levels of envy fall as people grow older. This longitudinal finding is consistent with a cross-sectional pattern noted recently by Nicole E. Henniger and Christine R. Harris, and with the theory of socioemotional regulation suggested by scholars such as Laura L. Carstensen. Second, using fixed-effects equations and prospective analysis, the analysis reveals that envy today is a powerful predictor of worse SF-36 mental health and well-being in the future. A change from the lowest to the highest level of envy, for example, is associated with a worsening of SF-36 mental health by approximately half a standard deviation (p
    Keywords: envy, age, SF-36, mental health, well-being, life satisfaction, longitudinal data
    JEL: I18 I31
    Date: 2018–10
  4. By: Hlouskova, Jaroslava (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria and Department of Economics, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada); Fortin, Ines (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria); Tsigaris, Panagiotis (Department of Economics, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the two-period consumption-investment decision of a household with prospect theory preferences and an endogenous second period reference level which captures habit persistence in consumption and in the current consumption reference level. In particular, we examine three types of household depending on how the household’s current consumption reference level relates to a given threshold which is equal to the average discounted endowment income. The first type of household has a relatively low reference level (less ambitious household) and can avoid relative consumption losses in both periods. The second type of household (balanced household) always consumes exactly its reference levels. The third type of household has a relatively high reference level (more ambitious household) and cannot avoid to incur relative consumption losses, either now or in the future. Note that these households may act very differently from one another and thus there will often be a diversity of behavior. For all three types we examine how the household reacts to changes in: income (e.g., income fall caused by recession or taxation of endowment income), persistence to consumption, the first period reference level and the degree of loss aversion. Among others we find that the household increases its exposure to risky assets in good economic times if it is less ambitious and in bad economic times if it is more ambitious. We also find that in some cases more income can lead to less happiness. In addition, the less ambitious household and the more ambitious household with a higher time preference will be less happy with a rising persistence in consumption while the more ambitious household with a lower time preference will be happier if it sticks more to its consumption habits. Finally, the household will be happiest for the lowest possible current consumption reference level, i.e., not comparing at all will lead to the highest level of happiness.
    Keywords: prospect theory, loss aversion, consumption-savings decision, portfolio allocation, happiness, income effects
    JEL: G02 G11 E20
    Date: 2018–11
  5. By: Herrera, B.; Gerster-Bentaya, M.; Knierim, A.
    Abstract: Well-being of farm workers is necessary in order to foster farming sustainability. We contribute with the research on well-being, exploring on what extent farm-level features influence farmers satisfaction with their work and with their quality of life, using a data sample of 1099 farms in nine European countries. Results suggest that satisfaction with the farm work has a significant and large influence on the satisfaction with the quality of life. Farm-level aspects such as working time, age of assets, financial situation of the farm and social engagement significantly influence farmers satisfaction with farming but their joint effect explains less than a quarter of it. Acknowledgement : We acknowledge FLINT project. This work was funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme grant number 613800. The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of the EU. This article is based on the deliverable D.5.
    Keywords: Labor and Human Capital
    Date: 2018–07

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.