nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒02‒11
five papers chosen by

  1. Gross National Happiness and Macroeconomic Indicators in the Kingdom of Bhutan By Sriram Balasubramanian; Paul Cashin
  2. New ways to measure well-being? A first joint analysis of subjective and objective measures By Andrén, Daniela; Clark, Andrew E.; D’Ambrosio, Conchita; Karlsson, Sune; Pettersson, Nicklas
  3. Unequal Hopes, Lives, and Lifespans in the USA: Lessons from the New Science of Well-Being By Carol Graham
  4. The Welfare Effects of Social Media By Hunt Allcott; Luca Braghieri; Sarah Eichmeyer; Matthew Gentzkow
  5. To Health and Happiness: WA’s Health Industry Future By Steven Bond-Smith; Alan S Duncan; Astghik Mavisakalyan; Richard Seymour; Yashar Tarverdi

  1. By: Sriram Balasubramanian; Paul Cashin
    Abstract: This paper examines the origins and use of the concept of Gross National Happiness (or subjective well-being) in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the relationship between measured well-being and macroeconomic indicators. While there are only a few national surveys of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, the concept has been used to guide public policymaking for the country’s various Five-Year Plans. Consistent with the Easterlin Paradox, available evidence indicates that Bhutan’s rapid increase in national income is only weakly associated with increases in measured levels of well-being. It will be important for Bhutan to undertake more frequent Gross National Happiness surveys and evaluations, to better build evidence for comovement of well-being and macroeconomic concepts such as real national income.
    Date: 2019–01–17
  2. By: Andrén, Daniela (Örebro University School of Business); Clark, Andrew E. (Paris School of Economics); D’Ambrosio, Conchita (Université du Luxembourg); Karlsson, Sune (Örebro University School of Business); Pettersson, Nicklas (Örebro University School of Business)
    Abstract: Our study is, to our knowledge, the first joint analysis of subjective and objective measures of well-being. Using a rich longitudinal data from the mothers pregnancy until adulthood for a birth cohort of children who attended school in Örebro during the 1960s, we analyse in a first step how subjective (self-assessed) and objective (cortisol-based) measures of well-being are related to each other. In a second step, life-course models for these two measures are estimated and compared with each other. Despite the fact that our analysis is largely exploratory, our results suggest interesting possibilities to use objective measures to measure well-being, even though this may imply a greater degree of complexity.
    Keywords: subjective and objective well-being; general life satisfaction; cortisol; birth-cohort data; adult; child and birth outcomes; multivariate imputation
    JEL: A12 D60 I31
    Date: 2019–01–27
  3. By: Carol Graham (Brookings Institution)
    Date: 2018–09
  4. By: Hunt Allcott; Luca Braghieri; Sarah Eichmeyer; Matthew Gentzkow
    Abstract: The rise of social media has provoked both optimism about potential societal benefits and concern about harms such as addiction, depression, and political polarization. We present a randomized evaluation of the welfare effects of Facebook, focusing on US users in the run-up to the 2018 midterm election. We measured the willingness-to-accept of 2,844 Facebook users to deactivate their Facebook accounts for four weeks, then randomly assigned a subset to actually do so in a way that we verified. Using a suite of outcomes from both surveys and direct measurement, we show that Facebook deactivation (i) reduced online activity, including other social media, while increasing offline activities such as watching TV alone and socializing with family and friends; (ii) reduced both factual news knowledge and political polarization; (iii) increased subjective well-being; and (iv) caused a large persistent reduction in Facebook use after the experiment. We use participants' pre-experiment and post-experiment Facebook valuations to quantify the extent to which factors such as projection bias might cause people to overvalue Facebook, finding that the magnitude of any such biases is likely minor relative to the large consumer surplus that Facebook generates.
    JEL: D12 D90 I31 L86 O33
    Date: 2019–01
  5. By: Steven Bond-Smith (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin University); Alan S Duncan (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin University); Astghik Mavisakalyan (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin University); Richard Seymour (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Curtin Business School); Yashar Tarverdi (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Curtin Business School)
    Abstract: We often hear that an ageing Western Australian population will have a profound impact on our labour market and economy. However, it is the pressure that this changing demographic is placing on our health system that may cause the largest social impact of all.This third BCEC Focus on Industry report provides an in-depth investigation of the health industry – a sector that is of critical importance to WA’s economy and people. The report explores the economic and employment opportunity it provides to our State, including the sector’s evolution over time. We examine the current health funding model, trends in spending, and gaps in service delivery where more resources may be required – particularly in aged care. An assessment of the health workforce uncovers what sorts of jobs are being created for health professionals and health care and services workers, and whether the workforce is happy and healthy in their jobs. Finally, in an era of digital transformation, we examine if the sector is poised to benefit from new technological advances and the spaces where digital health service delivery and innovation is already apparent in Western Australia. Western Australia’s healthcare industry has certainly made significant progress in recent years, but there is certainly scope for improvement to ensure we are delivering effective and accessible high-quality services for all West Australians.
    Keywords: healthcare, health industry, health workforce; nurses; digital health; health innovation; health inequalities, Western Australia, WA economy, remote health, personal care workers

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NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.