nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒10‒07
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Happiness and Public Policy: A Procedural Perspective By Stutzer, Alois
  2. The economics of eudaimonia By Pugno, Maurizio
  3. The Day after the Bomb: Well-being Effects of Terrorist Attacks in Europe By Emilio, Colombo; Valentina, Rotondi; Luca, Stanca;
  4. Housing Attributes and Individual Well-being By Mark Burke; Franz Fuerst

  1. By: Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel)
    Abstract: This article comments on the role of empirical subjective well-being research in public policy within a constitutional, procedural perspective of government and state. It rejects the idea that, based on the promises of the measurement, we should adopt a new policy perspective that is oriented towards a decision rule maximizing some aggregate measure of subjective well-being. This social engineering perspective, implicit in much reasoning about well-being policy, neglects i) important motivation problems on the part of government actors, such as incentives to manipulate indicators, but also on the part of citizens to truthfully report their well-being, and ii) procedural utility as a source of well-being. Instead, well-being research should be oriented towards gaining insights that improve the diagnoses of societal problems and help to evaluate alternative institutional arrangements to address them, both as inputs into the democratic process.
    Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, political economy, public policy, social welfare, subjective well-being
    JEL: D60 D70 H11 I31
    Date: 2019–09
  2. By: Pugno, Maurizio
    Abstract: Research in the Economics of Happiness has recently paid increasing attention to ‘eudaimonia’, which is a conception of happiness originated in ancient Greek philosophy, and in particular in Aristotle’s philosophy. Since ‘eudaimonia’ is a way of life rather than a circumscribed goal, its understanding requires a dynamic analytical structure. To this end, the paper provides two main contributions. First, in order to facilitate reading by the economists of Aristotle’s work, this is translated in modern economic terms, i.e. eudaimonia is described as an individual activity that transforms inputs into outputs. Second, this description is reformulated, with the help of studies in psychology and anthropology, in a modern ‘economic approach to eudaimonia’, which focuses on human development, i.e. on the development of the skills which are typically human. A number of implications are then discussed: about how some weaknesses of Aristotle’s conception of eudaimonia can be amended (e.g. the objective/subjective reconciliation); about the greater robustness of eudaimonia with respect to hedonism as two alternative pathways to happiness that people can choose; and about the advantages of the policy implications of eudaimonia.
    Keywords: happiness; eudaimonia; Aristotle; well-being; hedonism
    JEL: A12 I31 O15
    Date: 2019–09–30
  3. By: Emilio, Colombo; Valentina, Rotondi; Luca, Stanca;
    Abstract: We study the non-monetary costs of the terrorist attacks occurred in France, Belgium and Germany between 2010 and 2017. Using four waves of the European Social Survey, we find that individuals' well-being is significantly reduced in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. We explore possible mechanisms for this effect, finding that terrorist attacks determine a reduction in generalized trust, institutional trust, satisfaction with democracy and satisfaction with the government. Terrorist attacks are also found to increase negative attitudes towards migrants and perceived discrimination. However, contrary to expectations, the negative impact of terrorism on well-being is less strong for Muslim immigrants. We posit that this occurs because immigrants benefit more than natives from the institutional reaction following the attacks.
    Keywords: Terrorism, Well-being, Happiness, Democracy, Trust.
    JEL: H56 I31
    Date: 2019–07–17
  4. By: Mark Burke; Franz Fuerst
    Abstract: There has been ample research conducted on income and education, as well as income and health outcomes. However, little or no analysis has been done on housing participation and health and well-being outcomes through This paper addresses whether home ownership participation lead to improved social outcomes. It presents an analysis of the causal impact of home ownership on self reported measures of health, mental state and life satisfaction. While intuitively higher house values could be correlated with better income which in turn could be correlated with better housing, this paper explores whether there is a causal influence between the structure of housing, home equity and social outcomes.
    Keywords: housing; Social attitudes; Wellbeing
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2019–01–01

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