nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒05‒20
seven papers chosen by

  1. Happier Than Them, but More of Them Are Happy:Aggregating Subjective Well-Being By Cristina Sechel
  2. Mindfulness, preferences and well-being: Mindfulness predicts adolescents' field behaviour By Lima de Miranda, Katharina
  3. Analyzing Subjective Well-Being Data with Misclassification By Ekaterina Oparina; Sorawoot Srisuma
  4. Changing Conditions, Persistent Mentality: An Anatomy of East German Unhappiness, 1990-2016 By Philipp Biermann; Heinz Welsch
  5. Working Paper 02-19 - Inégalités de bien-être en Belgique - Construction de onze indicateurs composites pour mesurer le bien-être de différentes catégories de la population By Arnaud Joskin
  6. Towards estimating happiness using social sensing : Perspectives on organizational social network analysis By Atzmueller, Martin; Kolkman, Daan; Liebregts, Werner; Haring, Arjan
  7. The impact of digital government on citizen well-being By Benjamin Welby

  1. By: Cristina Sechel (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield UK)
    Abstract: This paper proposes the use of headcount-based indicators for the measurement of national Subjective Well-Being (SWB). It provides a methodological contribution to the challenge of threshold selection for headcount measures using Cognitive Dissonance Theory operationalised using life satisfaction data from World/European Values Surveys. A Beta- regression approach is employed to explore the empirical relationships between national SWB and objective measures of well-being contributing to the empirical literature on social indicators. The use of this model is novel in this context. The findings reveal relationships between objective measures of development and SWB that are not apparent when average national SWB is used. For example, I find no significant link between national income and the share of satisfied individuals
    Keywords: subjective well-being; cognitive dissonance theory; beta- regression
    JEL: O1 I3 H1
    Date: 2019–04
  2. By: Lima de Miranda, Katharina
    Abstract: Mindfulness could influence economic and health related behaviour by bringing about increased and unbiased attention to the present moment, for example to a decision making process. This study explores the relationship between mindfulness and economic preferences, and consequently well-being, of adolescents. Comprehensive data of 525 German secondary school students were elicited and show no evidence for a strong linear or non-linear correlation between mindfulness and economic preferences. However, both mindfulness and preferences have explanatory power for adolescents' field behaviour and thus contribute to explaining variation in behaviour that may translate into serious health and economic consequences. In this regard, my findings indicate that the two concepts play rather complementary than substitutable roles, which implies that an integration of economic preferences and personality traits such as mindfulness may improve the analysis of potential sources of variation in life outcomes. As mindfulness reflects on a healthier lifestyle (less smoking and smaller BMI) and higher life satisfaction, the findings furthermore point into the direction that the development of mindfulness skills might help students to grow social-emotional capacities and increase physical and psychological well-being.
    Keywords: time preference,risk preferences,mindfulness,personality,experiments with adolescents,subjective well-being
    JEL: C93 D81 D90 I12 I20
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Ekaterina Oparina; Sorawoot Srisuma
    Abstract: We use novel nonparametric techniques to test for the presence of non-classical measurement error in reported life satisfaction (LS) and study the potential effects from ignoring it. Our dataset comes from Wave 3 of the UK Understanding Society that is surveyed from 35,000 British households. Our test finds evidence of measurement error in reported LS for the entire dataset as well as for 26 out of 32 socioeconomic subgroups in the sample. We estimate the joint distribution of reported and latent LS nonparametrically in order to understand the mis-reporting behavior. We show this distribution can then be used to estimate parametric models of latent LS. We find measurement error bias is not severe enough to distort the main drivers of LS. But there is an important difference that is policy relevant. We find women tend to over-report their latent LS relative to men. This may help explain the gender puzzle that questions why women are reportedly happier than men despite being worse off on objective outcomes such as income and employment.
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Philipp Biermann (Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg); Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We decompose the persistent satisfaction gap between East and West Germany into effects of objective circumstances and subjective mentality, the latter presumed to be a legacy of communist socialization. Using the methodology proposed by Senik (2014) in a cross-national context, we capture circumstances by the region of residence (East vs. West) and mentality by whether an individual is a “native” of the respective region or has moved (“migrated”) to that region. We differentiate our analysis by years since German unification, birth cohorts, and the length of time a “migrant” has lived in her current region of residence. Using about 420,000 observations, 1990-2016, we find 54.4 percent of the satisfaction gap to be attributable to mentality. The mentality gap in the overall sample is driven by birth cohorts socialized under communism, the contribution of mentality to the satisfaction gap being 81.2 percent in this cohort group. While the circumstance-related gap diminished steadily over time, the mentality-related gap changed non-monotonically, reflecting different happiness responses of East and West Germans to politico-economic shocks. Exploiting the panel nature of our data, we find the mentality-related gap to show little indication of within-person changes over time.
    Keywords: Germany; happiness; life satisfaction; unification; mentality; communism
    Date: 2019–05
  5. By: Arnaud Joskin
    Abstract: This Working paper proposes eleven new composite indicators to measure changes in well-being for women, men, four age groups and five income categories (quintiles) in Belgium. They were constructed using a statistical analysis of the drivers of well-being specific to these population groups. These indicators are complementary to the indicator Well-being here and now that measures the average development in well-being in Belgium.
    JEL: A13 I1 I3 P52
    Date: 2019–02–12
  6. By: Atzmueller, Martin (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Kolkman, Daan; Liebregts, Werner (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Haring, Arjan (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Social sensing provides many opportunities for observing human behavior utilizing objective (sensor) measurements. This paper describes an approach for analyzing organizational social networks capturing face-to-face contacts between individuals. Furthermore, we outline perspectives and scenarios for an extended analysis in order to estimate happiness in the context of organizational social networks.
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Benjamin Welby
    Abstract: Informed by the OECD’s well-being framework, this Working Paper considers how the experience of civic engagement and governance is being transformed and explores how governments can harness the potential of digital technologies and data to develop better outcomes for better lives. The paper proposes that in order to maximise the relationship between digital government activity and citizen well-being, government focus should be on benefits that are not only material in terms of the quality of services, but that reflect the intellectual and emotional benefits derived from a different approach to government interactions with its constituents. The paper suggests that the relationship between digital government and citizen well-being is best encapsulated by the outcomes which follow from a government that is responsive, protective and trustworthy.
    Date: 2019–05–15

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