nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒12‒24
six papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Government Transfers, Work and Wellbeing: Evidence from the Russian Old-Age Pension By Grogan, Louise; Summerfield, Fraser
  2. People do not adapt to income changes: A re-evaluation of the dynamic effects of (reference) income on life satisfaction with GSOEP and UKHLS data By Kaiser, Caspar
  3. Opening up on consumer materialism By Jaspers, Esther
  4. Does Money Relieve Depression? Evidence from Social Pension Expansions in China By Chen, Xi; Wang, Tianyu; Busch, Susan H.
  5. Living Standards Analysis Model: The First Prototype By Anita King
  6. Property Rights and Intellectual Property Protection, GDP growth and Well-Being in Latin America By Lahsen, Amina. A; Piper, Alan T.

  1. By: Grogan, Louise (University of Guelph); Summerfield, Fraser (University of Aberdeen)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impacts of a large and anticipated government transfer, the Russian old-age pension, on labor supply, home production and subjective wellbeing. The discontinuity in eligibility at pension age is exploited for inference. The 2006-2011 Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey is employed. Causal impacts differ across the sexes. Women reduce market work and appear to increase home production. They report increased wellbeing. Men reduce labor supply without any apparent increase in wellbeing. Pension receipt does not impact household composition.
    Keywords: fuzzy regression discontinuity, subjective wellbeing, pensions, labor supply
    JEL: I31 J22 J26 Z13
    Date: 2018–11
  2. By: Kaiser, Caspar
    Abstract: Do people adapt to changes in income? This paper shows that there is no evidence of adaptation to income in GSOEP (1984-2015) and UKHLS (1996-2015) data. Following the empirical approach of Vendrik (2013), I arrive at this surprising answer by estimating (dynamic) life satisfaction equations, in which I simultaneously enter contemporaneous and lagged terms for a respondent’s own household income and their estimated reference income. Additionally, I instrument for own income and include lags of a large set of controls. Furthermore, I find that people also do not adapt to changes in reference income. Instead, reference income effects may be subject to reinforcement over time. To explain my findings, a comprehensive account of the puzzling and often divergent results of Ferrer-i-Carbonell and Van Praag (2008), Binder and Coad (2010), Di Tella et al. (2010), and Pfaff (2013) is given. What was found to be adaptation to raw household income in these studies turns out to have been driven by reinforcement of an initially small negative effect of household size that grows large over time. Implications of this result for the estimation of equivalence scales with subjective data are discussed.
    Keywords: subjective well-being; life satisfaction; adaptation; income comparisons; equivalence scales; GSOEP; BHPS; Understanding Society; UKHLS
    JEL: D6 I31
    Date: 2018–11–02
  3. By: Jaspers, Esther (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: This dissertation comprises three main empirical essays, and a final chapter that synthesizes the findings and provides additional empirical evidence. The dissertation challenges current dominant theories of consumer materialism that have an overly aggregated, and overly negative, perspective of this consumer value. It shows that the three materialism dimensions have vastly different relationships with related variables, and even have positive consequences for consumers. The first essay examines age effects on materialism while controlling for birth cohort and period effects. It finds that materialism follows a curvilinear trajectory across the lifespan, with the lowest levels at middle age and higher levels before and after that. Essay 2 examines the implications of materialism for consumer savings and finds that materialism has both negative and positive effects on savings over time. Essay 3 examines the dynamic relationships between materialism and subjective well-being over time, and finds that the negative relationship between materialism and well-being is reciprocal, and due to only one of the three materialism dimensions. The other two materialism dimensions have positive effects on consumer well-being. The final chapter provides additional evidence demonstrating the differential and sometimes positive consequences of the materialism dimensions for consumers, and interrelates the findings.
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Chen, Xi; Wang, Tianyu; Busch, Susan H.
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of pension enrollment on mental well-being using China’s New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS), the largest existing pension program in the world. Since its launch in 2009, more than 400 million Chinese have enrolled in the NRPS. We first describe plausible pathways through which pension may affect mental health. We then use the national sample of China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) to examine the effect of pension enrollment on mental health, as measured by CES-D and self-reported depressive symptoms. To overcome the endogeneity of pension enrollment or of income change on mental health, we exploit geographic variation in pension program implementation. Results indicate modest to large reductions in depressive symptoms due to pension enrollment; this effect is more pronounced among individuals eligible to claim pension income, among populations with more financial constraints, and among those with worse baseline mental health. Our findings hold for a rich set of robustness checks and falsification tests.
    Keywords: pension enrollment,pension income,depression,mental health,older populations
    JEL: H55 I18 I38 J14
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Anita King (The Treasury)
    Abstract: How do we understand the synergies and trade-offs of a given policy on area beyond that policy, such as the effect of housing on health and on income? How do we choose between policies in completely different areas, such as an education policy and a health policy? Treasury’s Living Standards Framework provides one possible starting point, but it provides little assistance tracing the many dependencies between policy areas. A model that includes those dependencies could help. The Living Standards Analysis Model (LSAM) is designed to do this. A first prototype of the model has just been developed. This model includes all eleven aspects of wellbeing as described by the OECD’s How’s Life? framework and linkages between the different aspects for a small open economy. Most models for studying wellbeing only include one or two aspects, missing the rich set of interactions that can occur with greater coverage. As an early prototype, this version of the model does have many flaws and requires significant further development, but it forms a basis for creating an improved model as well as providing some qualitatively useful results. The model is loosely based on a stocks-and-flows type of model, with a small general equilibrium model covering the market economy part of the model. This paper is focussed on the description of the model.
    Keywords: US monetary policy; risk aversion; NZ funding conditions
    JEL: C65 D58 H50 I31 Q21 Q31
    Date: 2018–12
  6. By: Lahsen, Amina. A; Piper, Alan T.
    Abstract: A central argument for increased protections of property rights (PR) is the role they play in encouraging economic transactions, investment and economic growth. Likewise, the utilitarian justification of intellectual property laws is that such rights promote creative inventions and innovation, and thus can make a nation better off. A further argument is psychological: it has also been argued (though rarely tested) that enhanced rights contribute to increases in well-being enjoyed by a county’s citizens. Many Latin American countries have made efforts to improve property rights (and their enforcement) in the recent past, with varying success. Using three data sources (the Latinobarometer, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index), this investigation considers the relationship between property rights and intellectual property protection, economic growth, and well-being. The results, which are heterogeneous with respect to labour force status, suggest that policy makers in Latin America should pursue improvements in property rights if they wish to improve citizen well-being while also promoting economic growth.
    Keywords: Property rights; Intellectual property protection; Economic Growth; Latin America; Life Satisfaction; Latinobarometer
    JEL: D23 I31 N36 O34
    Date: 2018–11

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