nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒07‒22
eight papers chosen by

  1. Experienced Well-Being and Labor Market Status: The Role of Pleasure and Meaning By Tobias Wolf; Maria Metzing; Richard E. Lucas
  2. Sustainable economic policy and well-being: The relationship between adjusted net savings and subjective well-being By Qasim,Mubashir; Grimes, Arthur
  3. Widening the High School Curriculum to Include Soft Skill Training: Impacts on Health, Behaviour, Emotional Wellbeing and Occupational Aspirations By Lordan, Grace; McGuire, Alistair
  4. Which Decision Theory Describes Life Satisfaction Best? Evidence from Annual Panel Data By Yaman, F.; Cubi-Molla, P.; Ungureanu, S.
  5. Moving towards happiness? By Grimes, Arthur; Wesselbaum, Dennis
  6. How political systems and social welfare policies affect well-being: A literature review By MacCulloch, Robert
  7. Using the capability approach and organizational climate to study occupational health and safety By Andrea Bernardi
  8. Household Incomes in Canada and the United States: Who is Better Off? By Simon Lapointe

  1. By: Tobias Wolf; Maria Metzing; Richard E. Lucas
    Abstract: This paper examines experienced well-being of employed and unemployed workers. We use the survey-adapted day reconstruction method (DRM) of the Innovation Sample of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP-IS) to analyze the role of the employment status for well-being, incorporating complete time use. Summarizing the average share of pleasurable minutes, we generate the P-index. We show that - in contrast to evaluative life satisfaction - the average unemployed experiences more pleasurable minutes due to the absence of working episodes. Hence, we examine working episodes in depth. While working is among the activities with the highest propensities for an unpleasant experience, it is also among the most meaningful activities. We show that meaning is a central non-monetary determinant for a pleasurable work episode and find that pleasure during work and job satisfaction in general have the same association with meaning.
    Keywords: Experienced well-being, time use, Unemployment, Day Reconstruction Method, DRM, SOEP-IS
    JEL: I31 J22 J60 D91
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Qasim,Mubashir; Grimes, Arthur
    Abstract: We analyse the relationship between subjective wellbeing (SWB) and the World Bank’s measure of a country’s economic sustainability, adjusted net savings (ANS). We model SWB at individual level and at aggregated group level as a function of past ANS levels, after controlling for a country’s initial levels of SWB. The empirical models utilise World Values Surveys (WVS) data for self-reported life-satisfaction (our proxy for SWB). Our results show that ANS is negatively associated with future SWB outcomes over relatively short timespans (10-15 years) but this relationship is neutralised, or even reversed, for a longer timespan (20 years). The results demonstrate an important challenge in political economy. Governments that choose to save less in the short term may be able to spend more on the well-being of the current generation (i.e. current voters) but they diminish the reserves available to improve future generations’ well-being. At a more technical level, our results reinforce the concept that ANS is a useful sustainability indicator for infinite (or at least very long) time horizons, but it is not a good indicator of well-being developments over short time horizons.
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, Public Economics
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Lordan, Grace (London School of Economics); McGuire, Alistair (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: From 2020 Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education will be compulsory in UK schools for adolescents, however less is known about how it can be taught in a an effective manner. We examine, through a randomised trial, the impact of an evidenced based health related quality of life (HRQoL) curriculum called Healthy Minds that ran in 34 high schools in England over a four-year period. We find robust evidence that Healthy Minds positively augments many physical health domains of treated adolescents. We also find some evidence that Healthy Minds positively affects behaviour, but has no impact on emotional wellbeing. We find notable gender effects, strongly favouring boys. We also present evidence that Healthy Minds changes career aspirations, with those exposed to treatment being less likely to choose competitive work and more likely to choose work that involves "people-skills". Overall our work illustrates the potential for later childhood interventions to promote HRQoL and develop the career aspirations of adolescents.
    Keywords: soft skills, health related quality of life, character, high school curriculum, personal, social, health and economic education
    JEL: I18 I20
    Date: 2019–06
  4. By: Yaman, F.; Cubi-Molla, P.; Ungureanu, S.
    Abstract: We use an annual household panel to test which features of prospect theory can be supported by measures of life satisfaction. We also test whether recalled or expected life satisfaction is anchored at current life satisfaction and adjusted in the direction of the recall or expectation. Using a fixed effects estimator we find that life satisfaction contains features of both classic expected utility and prospect theory. Life satisfaction depends positively on levels of income, good health, and on employment. It also depends positively on income and employment improvements, however the reverse is true for health increases. Life satisfaction is concave in income gains and convex in income losses, and it exhibits loss aversion in income and employment status, but not in health. Moreover, we find that current levels of life satisfaction are better predictors of recalled (expected) life satisfaction than past (future) life satisfaction. The results support viewing life satisfaction as representing a mixture of the classic decision utility of expected utility theory, and the value function of prospect theory. Subjects seem to use an anchoring and adjustment heuristic when answering questions about past and expected life satisfaction.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Grimes, Arthur; Wesselbaum, Dennis
    Abstract: We add to the literature on the driving forces of international migration. While the existing literature establishes that income differences, migration costs, and certain other factors (e.g. climate or human rights) affect the migration decision, we focus on the broader role of nonpecuniary factors. We include well-being measures in a standard model of bilateral migration flows and enrich the analysis further by testing the effects on migration of inequality in happiness within a country. Our findings that both the mean and standard deviation of happiness - in both origin and destination countries - help explain bilateral migration flows over and above any income effect, indicates the need to incorporate both pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors when modelling migration choices.
    Keywords: Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Public Economics
    Date: 2018–05
  6. By: MacCulloch, Robert
    Abstract: This chapter focusses on the question of how formal institutions, like those governing the level of freedom, the regulatory state, political parties and the generosity of the welfare state, affect self-reported well-being. The evidence suggests, for example, that more freedom, as well as government structures which encourage civic engagement, participation and trust, have positive effects. Many studies, however, use cross-sectional data with small sample sizes, often due to institutions being measured at the country level with limited variation over time. As a consequence, further work is needed to test robustness. Stronger results hold with respect to particular types of welfare state institutions, like unemployment benefits, which are subject to quite frequent changes within nations. Increases in unemployment benefits are associated with higher levels of well-being for all workers, probably due to greater income security. However, doubt still persists as to their overall impact, due to the extent to which well-being is adversely affected by the higher taxes needed to support a more generous welfare state.
    Keywords: Public Economics
    Date: 2017–09
  7. By: Andrea Bernardi (Oxford Brookes University)
    Abstract: The Capability Approach, first developed by Amartya Sen, cab be used as a mean to analyse occupational health and safety related behaviours. Accidents at work more frequently occur among atypical workers and migrants, making this an interesting context in which to apply Sen's theoretical framework; namely showing how freedoms, rights, organisational climate and capabilities are important factors in risk prevention. It is logical to expect that workers' participation and rights should provide a safer environment, but the application of the Capability Approach offers a tool to measure organisational inequalities and their consequences. Furthermore, its application could help to improve occupational health and safety chiefly among atypical workers. In this paper, I consider Safety Capability to encompass the workers attitude to their own protection, their understanding of safety procedures and the risks they face, and their freedom to ask their organisation to comply with the law and implement safe work processes.
    Keywords: wellbeing,sociology,capability,health and safety,organizational climate,organization
    Date: 2019–06–01
  8. By: Simon Lapointe
    Abstract: It is commonly noted that Americans are on average richer than Canadians. For example, in 2016, GDP per capita was US $47,294 in Canada (PPP-adjusted) compared to US $57,798 in the United States. However, this comparison of average incomes does not necessarily imply that all or even most Canadians are worse off than Americans. This report shows that Canadian households in the bottom 56 per cent of the income distribution are in fact better off than American households at the same point of the income distribution. This finding is driven by the lower income inequality in Canada, and illustrates how the usual comparison of incomes between Canada and the United States using GDP per capita or average household income hides a critical part of the story.
    Keywords: Canada, United States, Household Income, Well-Being
    JEL: O51 J11 J31
    Date: 2019–07

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