nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒12‒17
eleven papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Unlocking the black box of life satisfaction surrounding childbearing By Arnstein Aassve; Francesca Luppi; Letizia Mencarini
  2. The Work-Family Balance: Making Men and Women Happy By Francesca Luppi; Letizia Mencarini; Sarah Grace See
  3. Is the Impact of Employment Uncertainty on Fertility Intentions Channeled by Subjective Well-Being? By Daniele Vignli; Letizia Mencarini; Giammarco Alderotti
  4. The Effect of the Brexit Referendum Result on Subjective Well-being By Georgios Kavetsos; Ichiro Kawachi; Ilias Kyriopoulos; Sotiris Vandoros
  5. Do rich parents enjoy children less? By Marco Le Moglie; Letizia Mencarini; Chiara Rapallini
  6. Job satisfaction, time allocation and labour supply By Gaetano Lisi
  7. Daily feelings of US workers and commuting time By J. Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal; José Alberto Molina
  8. The Introduction of Wind Power Generation in a Local Community: An Economic Analysis of Subjective Well-Being Data in Ch?shi City By Yushi Kunugi; Toshi H. Arimura; Miwa Nakai
  9. Different versions of the Easterlin Paradox: New evidence for European countries By Kaiser, Caspar F.; Vendrik, Martinus
  10. Italian happy parents In Twitter By Letizia Mencarini; Delia Irazú Hernández-Farías; Mirko Lai; Viviana Patti; Emilio Sulis; Daniele Vignoli
  11. Inequalities in emerging economies: Informing the policy dialogue on inclusive growth By Carlotta Balestra; Ana Llena-Nozal; Fabrice Murtin; Elena Tosetto; Benoît Arnaud

  1. By: Arnstein Aassve; Francesca Luppi; Letizia Mencarini
    Abstract: The vast majority of studies looking into the relationship between childbearing and subjective well-being uses overall measures where respondents either report their general level of happiness or their life satisfaction, leaving substantial doubt about the underlying mechanisms. However, life satisfaction and happiness are intuitively multidimensional concepts, simply because there cannot be only one aspect that affects individuals' well-being. In this study, by considering seventeen specific life satisfaction domains, these features come out very clearly. Whereas all the domains considered matter for the overall life satisfaction, only three of them, namely satisfaction with leisure, health and satisfaction with the partnership, change dramatically surrounding childbearing events. Even though we cannot generalize (since these results stems from one particular panel survey, i.e. Household In-come and Labour Dynamics in Australia data), it appears that the typical anticipation and post-child decrease of life satisfaction, so often found in existing studies, stem from changes in these three domains.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, domains of satisfaction, childbearing, longitudinal analysis
    Date: 2018–05
  2. By: Francesca Luppi; Letizia Mencarini; Sarah Grace See
    Abstract: The paper analyses how individuals’ subjective well-being, measured both in terms of life satisfaction and mental health, is affected by the work-family balance. We measure the work-family balance so as to encompass individuals’ roles as a partner, parent and employee. We, also, consider life satisfaction in partnership, family, and work as result of satisfaction with the innate psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Analyses are conducted on sub-samples of parents and working parents from the German Family Panel. Findings show that, even though satisfaction in the three roles is important for both men and women, differences between the sexes persist, and that these are rooted in traditional gender roles. In particular, women’s perception of being a “good mother” and men’s perception of being a “good worker” are crucial for subjective emotional and cognitive well-being.
    Keywords: Subjective Well-Being; work-family balance; basic psychological needs; Self Determination Theory
    Date: 2017–02
  3. By: Daniele Vignli; Letizia Mencarini; Giammarco Alderotti
    Abstract: This article combines two apparently distinct strands of contemporary research on fertility: the literature on economic 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 economic 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
    Date: 2018–02
  4. By: Georgios Kavetsos; Ichiro Kawachi; Ilias Kyriopoulos; Sotiris Vandoros
    Abstract: We study the effect of the Brexit referendum result on subjective well-being in the United Kingdom. Using a quasi-experimental design, we find that this outcome led to an overall decrease in subjective well-being in the UK compared to a control group. The effect is driven by individuals who hold an overall positive attitude towards the EU and shows little signs of adaptation. Subjective well-being of those with a very negative attitude towards the EU increases in the short-run but turns negative, possibly due to unmet expectations. Using three different measures of socio-economic connection between the UK and other European countries, we generally do not find evidence supporting the presence of spillover effects of the Brexit result on subjective well-being of individuals in other EU countries.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, happiness, Brexit, election
    JEL: D72 I30 I31 I38
    Date: 2018–12
  5. By: Marco Le Moglie; Letizia Mencarini; Chiara Rapallini
    Abstract: We investigate the role of individual labor income as a moderator of parental subjective well-being trajectories before and after the first childbirth in Germany, a very low fertility country. Analyzing German Socioeconomic Panel Survey data, we found that income matters negatively for parental subjective well-being after childbirth, though with important differences by education and gender. In particular, among better educated parents, the richer see the arrival of a child more negatively. These findings contribute to the debate on the relationship between income and fertility adding information on how parents perceive the birth of a child beyond the strict financial cost of childbearing and raising. Results are discussed in terms of preferences among different groups of parents, costs of children, and work and family balance. Results are robust to potential endogeneity between income and childbirth, as well as for alternative measures of income.
    Keywords: irst child, subjective well-being, individual income, Germany
    Date: 2017–02
  6. By: Gaetano Lisi (University of Cassino and Lazio Meridionale)
    Abstract: This paper reinterprets the neoclassical theory of labour supply by introducing job satisfaction into the utility function of the worker. This integration is feasible and also straightforward from a theoretical point of view and, furthermore, it produces interesting results. Precisely, this extended version of the standard model of labour supply can describe situations in which working produces utility beyond consumption, with the result that the disutility of giving up leisure time is lowered or even reversed. As a result, the paper is able to reconcile the standard theory of labour supply with the well-established finding of happiness research, according to which working could yield substantial non-monetary benefits.
    JEL: J28 J22 J24
    Date: 2018–12
  7. By: J. Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal (Universidad de Zaragoza); José Alberto Molina (Departamento de Análisis Económico, Universidad de Zaragoza)
    Abstract: Millions of individuals commute every day in the US. Despite commuting has been shown to have negative consequences for workers, no evidence has been about how commuting is related to feelings in other episodes. We analyzed the relationship between the feelings reported by American workers throughout the day and the time devoted to commuting. Methods: We used the Well-Being Module of the American Time Use Survey for the years 2010, 2012, and 2013, and analized the relationship between commuting duration and the feelings reported (e.g,. happiness, sadness, stress, fatigue and pain) in both commuting and non-commuting episodes. Results: We found that more time spent on the daily commute was related to higher levels of fatigue and stress during commuting, while also being associated with higher levels of sadness and fatigue during activities of child care. In particular, we found that a 1% increase in the time devoted to commuting during the episode was related to increases of 12 percent and 13 percent of a standard deviation for stress and fatigue, while a 1% increase in the time devoted to commuting during the day was related to increases of 5 percent and 7 percent of one standard deviation in the levels of sadness and stress during child care activities. Conclusions: Our results indicated that longer commutes may be related to higher levels of stress and fatigue of workers, which may in turn affect the quality of the time parents devote to caring for their children.
    Keywords: Commuting, American Time Use Survey, Stress, Fatigue
    JEL: R41 I31 J22
    Date: 2018–11–17
  8. By: Yushi Kunugi (Research Institute for Environmental Economics and Management, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan); Toshi H. Arimura (Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, and Research Institute for Environmental Economics and Management, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan); Miwa Nakai (Research Institute for Environmental Economics and Management, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)
    Abstract: In this study, we analyze the external effects of wind turbines, which are often considered detrimental to the promotion of wind power generation. Understanding these externalities is essential for reaching a consensus with residents who live near the planned site of a wind turbine. We conducted a mail survey in Ch?shi City in Chiba Prefecture to examine the external effects of wind turbines, adopting a subjective well-being index to measure respondents f well-being. Regression analysis suggests that a view of wind power turbines has a positive effect on the subjective well-being of local residents. Moreover, results indicate that such well-being increases with increasing distance from wind turbines. In other words, except for scenic elements, we found that wind turbines are not always considered desirable by residents. As such, it is important to further clarify the external influence of wind turbines as well as other facilities in the neighborhood.
    Keywords: Subjective Well-Being, Wind Turbines, Renewable Energy, Externalities, Life Satisfaction Approach, Local Residents
    JEL: D62 I31 R11 Q20 Q51
    Date: 2018–11
  9. By: Kaiser, Caspar F. (nuffield college, oxford); Vendrik, Martinus (Research Centre for Educ and Labour Mark; iza, bonn; ehero, rotterdam)
    Abstract: Richer people are happier than poorer people, but when a country becomes richer over time, its people do not become happier. This seemingly contradictory pair of findings of Richard Easterlin has become famous as the Easterlin Paradox. However, it was met with counterevidence. To shed more light on this controversy, we distinguish between five different versions of the paradox. These versions apply to either groups of countries or individual countries, and to either the long or the medium term. We argue that the long term is most appropriate for testing the paradox, and that tests of the paradox should always control for an autonomous time trend. Unfortunately, this requirement renders the long-term version of the paradox for individual countries untestable. We test all other versions of the paradox with Eurobarometer data from 27 European countries. We do so by estimating country-panel equations for mean life satisfaction that include trend and cyclical components of per capita GDP as regressors. When testing variants of the paradox that apply to groups of countries, we find a clear and robust confirmation of the long- and medium-term versions of the paradox for a group of nine Western and Northern European countries. Moreover, we obtain a non-robust rejection of the medium-term variant of the paradox for a set of eleven Eastern European countries. On the level of individual countries, the medium-term variant of the paradox clearly holds for the nine Western and Northern European countries, but is consistently rejected for Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. In the case of the Eastern European countries, the medium-term version of the paradox is rejected for Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Poland. As the Western and Northern European countries have a high per capita GDP as compared to that of Southern and Eastern European countries, our results are in line with the finding of Proto and Rustichini (2013), who find a non-monotonic relation between per capita GDP and life satisfaction over time which is positive for poorer countries, but flat (or negative) for richer countries.
    Keywords: Easterlin Paradox, happiness, life satisfaction, economic growth, Hodrick-Prescott filter, European country panel
    JEL: I31 I32 O11
    Date: 2018–12–13
  10. By: Letizia Mencarini; Delia Irazú Hernández-Farías; Mirko Lai; Viviana Patti; Emilio Sulis; Daniele Vignoli
    Abstract: his article explores opinions and semantic orientation around fertility and parenthood by scrutinizing filtered Italian Twitter data. We propose a novel methodological framework relying on Natural Language Processing techniques for text analysis, which is aimed at extracting sentiments from texts. A manual annotation for exploring sentiment and attitudes to fertility and parenthood was applied to Twitter data. The resulting set of tweets (corpus) was analysed through sentiment and emotion lexicons in order to highlight how affective language is used in this domain. It emerges that parents express a generally positive attitude towards their children and being and become parents, but quite negative sentiments on children’s future, politics and fertility and also parental behaviour. Exploiting geographical information from tweets, we find a significant correlation between the prevalence of positive sentiments about parenthood and macro-regional indicators for both life satisfaction and fertility levels.
    Keywords: sentiment analysis, social media, fertility, parenthood, subjective well-being, linguistic corpora
    Date: 2018–04
  11. By: Carlotta Balestra (OECD); Ana Llena-Nozal (OECD); Fabrice Murtin (OECD); Elena Tosetto (OECD); Benoît Arnaud (OECD)
    Abstract: The paper describes inequality trends in selected emerging economies (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa) in a range of monetary (i.e. income) and non-monetary dimensions of people’s life (i.e. education, health status, employment and subjective well-being). Inequalities are analysed not only in terms of overall dispersion, but also as gaps between population groups defined by specific characteristics (i.e. sex, age, educational attainment and place of living). To the extent made possible by the nature of available data, measures of income inequality for these emerging countries, as well as for 7 Latin American countries (Bolivia, Dominic Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay), are based on concepts and definitions similar to those used by the OECD for its member countries. All the emerging economies covered in the paper show levels of income inequality higher than in the five most unequal OECD countries, while the picture is more mixed when it comes to inequalities in other dimensions of people’s well-being. An annex complements the analysis by presenting an assessment of the quality of the available data on income distribution for the emerging countries covered in the paper.
    Keywords: database, emerging economies, inequality, poverty, well-being
    JEL: D31 D63 I14 I24 I32 J01
    Date: 2018–12–13

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