nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒01‒14
five papers chosen by

  1. Pro-environmental norms and subjective well-being: panel evidence from the UK By Martin Binder; Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg; Heinz Welsch
  2. Advertising as a Major Source of Human Dissatisfaction: Cross-National Evidence on One Million Europeans By Michel, Chloe; Sovinsky, Michelle; Proto, Eugenio; Oswald, Andrew J.
  3. The Impact of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Households' Well-Being By Daniela Del Boca; Chiara Pronzato; Giuseppe Sorrenti
  4. For Good Measure: Advancing Research on Well-Being Metrics Beyond GDP By Joseph Stiglitz; Jean-Paul Fitoussi; Martine Durand
  5. Sustainability and Wellbeing: A Text Analysis of New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Official Yearbooks and Ministerial Documents By Mubashir Qasim

  1. By: Martin Binder (Bard College Berlin); Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg; Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Tying in with a small number of studies on green norms, identity and subjective well-being, this paper studies the relationship between holding a green self-image and life satisfaction in the UK. Focusing on (sub-national) regions as the unit of reference, we investigate if and how the individual-level greenness-satisfaction relationship varies with measures of the prevalence and distribution (disparity) of greenness at the regional level, taking these measures as indicators of a green social norm. Two key findings emerge from our analysis. First, life satisfaction is negatively related to the regional-level mean (prevalence) and positively related to the regional-level diversity of greenness, while being unrelated to the degree of polarization of greenness. Taking the prevalence as a direct and diversity as an inverse measure of the validity of a greenness norm, these results are consistent with the idea that the norm is experienced (by greens) as a standard of reference in the process of green status competition or (by non-greens) as a source of social pressure. Second, the well-being benefits from holding a greener self-image are unrelated to the prevalence and diversity of greenness, but positively related to the polarization of greenness for those either very green or not green at all. This is consistent with the idea that green self-image yields well-being benefits through identity, that is, by identifying with the own group and differentiating oneself from other groups – a possibility that relies on sufficiently large differentiation/polarization of groups. We discuss differences between these results and previous findings based on measures of nation-wide prevalence and disparity of greenness.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, norms, green behavior, green self-image, fractionalization, polarization
    Date: 2019–01
  2. By: Michel, Chloe (University of Zurich, Switzerland.); Sovinsky, Michelle (University of Mannheim, Germany, Centre for Economic Policy Research, London); Proto, Eugenio (University of Bristol, IZA Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick, and CAGE research centre, IZA Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany)
    Abstract: Advertising is ubiquitous in modern life. Yet might it be harmful to the happiness of nations? This paper blends longitudinal data on advertising with large-scale surveys on citizens’ well-being. The analysis uses information on approximately 1 million randomly sampled European citizens across 27 nations over 3 decades. We show that increases in national advertising expenditure are followed by significant declines in levels of life satisfaction. This finding is robust to adjustments for a range of potential confounders including the personal and economic characteristics of individuals, country fixed-effects year dummies, and business-cycle influences. Further research remains desirable. Nevertheless, our empirical results are some of the first to be consistent with the hypothesis that, perhaps by fostering unending desires, high levels of advertising may depress societal well-being.
    Keywords: adverts, status, life satisfaction, Easterlin Paradox, positive affect JEL Classification:
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Daniela Del Boca (University of Turin and Collegio Carlo Alberto); Chiara Pronzato (University of Turin, CHILD and Collegio Carlo Alberto); Giuseppe Sorrenti (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: We evaluate the impact of a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program that we designed on family well-being among low-income families with young children. Although most CCTs have been implemented in low-income countries, our research is in the context of a high-income country, Italy, where the recent economic crises have worsened the conditions of families with children, especially among immigrants. Our objective is to evaluate the introduction of conditionality (attendance of courses) into a pre-existing unconditional cash transfer program. Using a randomized controlled trial, we find that CCT families search more actively for work, and they work more hours and more regularity than the cash transfer and control groups. CCT families also are able to save more money and eat healthier foods. The CCT intervention appears to be more effective than cash transfer alone in changing households' behavior in several dimensions of well-being. Our findings add to the accumulating evidence on the impact of conditional cash transfers versus unconditional ones and to the literature concerning multidimensional incentive programs.
    Keywords: conditional cash transfers, poverty, use of money, Labor Supply, parenting
    JEL: I10 I20 J24 I31
    Date: 2018–12
  4. By: Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia Business School); Jean-Paul Fitoussi (Département d'économie); Martine Durand (Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques (OCDE))
    Abstract: The 2009 Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (“Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi” Commission) concluded that we should move away from over-reliance on GDP when assessing a country’s health, towards a broader dashboard of indicators that would reflect concerns such as the distribution of well-being and sustainability in all of its dimensions. This book includes contributions from members of the OECD-hosted High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, the successor of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission, and their co-authors on the latest research in this field. These contributions look at key issues raised by the 2009 Commission that deserved more attention, such as how to better include the environment and sustainability in our measurement system, and how to improve the measurement of different types of inequalities, of economic insecurity, of subjective well-being and of trust. A companion volume Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance presents an overview by the co-chairs of the High Level Expert Group, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi and Martine Durand of the progress accomplished since the 2009 report, of the work conducted by the Group over the past five years, and of what still needs to be done.
    Date: 2018–11
  5. By: Mubashir Qasim (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Recent advances in natural language processing and semantic analysis methods are enabling scholars to analyse text extensively. These techniques have not only minimized the margins of error arising from missing data from a traditionally conducted discourse analysis but also permitted reproducibility of research results. In this paper, we use several text analysis methods to analyse the evolution of the terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘wellbeing’ (SaW) from parliamentary debates (Hansard), New Zealand Official Yearbooks (NZOYBs) and ministerial documents over 125 years. The term ‘welfare’ has existed in the NZOYBs and Hansard text since the start of our analysis (1893), with a steadily increasing trend until the mid-1980s. The term ‘wellbeing’ gained momentum in mid-1930s and has been linked strongly with ‘sustainability’ in the following decades. Our analysis re-emphasizes the importance of the Brundtland Report (‘Our Common Future’) which acted as a catalyst to the sustainable movement in late 1980s. ‘Sustainability’ and ‘wellbeing’ then began to appear in conjunction. Our analysis includes the finding that SaW differ significantly when political parties are considered.
    Keywords: sustainable development; wellbeing; text analysis; resilience; parliamentary debates; Hansard
    JEL: C80 I31 N00 Q01 Q56
    Date: 2019–01–10

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