nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒10‒14
six papers chosen by

  1. “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Does social comparison affect migrants’ subjective well-being? By Alessandra Venturini; Manuela Stranges; Daniele Vignoli
  2. Measuring Happiness of Taiwan - Apply the Innovative Techinque By Chin-Yi Chen; Yu-Jing Chiou
  3. Inequality in South Africa: what does a composite index of wellbeing reveal? By Stephanié Rossouw; Talita Greyling
  4. Multiple Dimensions of Human Development Index and Public Social Spending for Sustainable Development By Iana Paliova; Robert McNown; Grant Nülle
  5. Maximizing versus satisficing in the digital age: disjoint scales and the case for “construct consensus” By Misuraca, Raffaella; Fasolo, Barbara
  6. Transition from plan to market, height and well-being By Adsera Ribera, Alicia; Dalla Pozza, Francesca; Guriev, Sergei; Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas; Nikolova, Elena

  1. By: Alessandra Venturini; Manuela Stranges; Daniele Vignoli
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the growing strand of literature that investigates migrants’ subjective wellbeing by analysing how the social comparison with two reference groups (natives and other migrants) within the host country affects migrants’ life satisfaction. Using data from six rounds of the European Social Survey, we constructed two measures of economic distance that compare each migrant’s situation with the average of the group of natives and the group of migrants with similar characteristics. Our results indicate that when the disadvantage between the migrant and the reference groups becomes smaller, migrant’s life satisfaction increases. The effect of the social comparison with natives appears larger than the social comparison with migrants and, in both cases, it is stronger for individuals with higher levels of education. We also show that social comparison is stronger for second generation migrants than for first generation migrants and, within this latter group, it intensifies as length of stay in the host country increases. Overall, the role of social comparison seems crucial to understanding patterns of integration in an enlarged Europe.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, migrants, social comparison
    JEL: I31 F22
    Date: 2019–10–09
  2. By: Chin-Yi Chen (Chung-Yuan Christian University); Yu-Jing Chiou (Chung-Yuan Christian University)
    Abstract: To measure the state of happiness is never a simple task to accomplish, especially its unclear concepts which include subjective and objective indicators simultaneously. From now on, many happiness-relative indexes were generated to evaluate the citizens? well-being of the countries as a practical policy tool all over the world. In Taiwan, the Better Life Index (BLI) from the OECD is applied by the government to calculate citizens? state of well-being, to solve the issues that a huge structure may lead to, this research used DEMATEL-ANP (DANP) as the methodology to analyze the existing relations between the indicators and discover the crucial ones from the viewpoints of the experts. The result shows that personal earnings and education are two very important criteria to the state of happiness in Taiwan.
    Keywords: Happiness, Better Life Index (BLI), DEMATEL-ANP (DANP)
    Date: 2019–10
  3. By: Stephanié Rossouw; Talita Greyling
    Abstract: Policymakers need better information regarding wellbeing inequality to ascertain the contributing factors and to determine whether policy has been successful in improving the spread over time. In this paper, we construct a multidimensional composite wellbeing measure, at a micro level, which includes “economic and non-economic†and “objective and subjective measures†of wellbeing. We use NIDS data spanning the period 2008 – 2015. We compare the results on measuring wellbeing inequality using the composite index and income. This allows us to gain insight into, which is a better measure of wellbeing inequality. Additionally, we investigate the determinants of cross-sectional wellbeing inequality in 2008 and 2015 using regressions of the recentered influence function. Lastly, we use the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition to identify the role played by covariates in shaping the evolution in wellbeing inequality. This allows us to determine if the observed change in wellbeing inequality is mainly due to a coefficient – or endowment effect. We focus on South Africa, as it is one of the most unequal societies in the world. Our results show a more equal distribution in multi-dimensional wellbeing than either income per person or life satisfaction and indicate that the spread in wellbeing has improved from 2008 to 2015. Factors that decrease wellbeing inequality are mostly demographic in nature. Factors that increase wellbeing inequality are (i) the gap in wellbeing between rural and urban areas (ii) the limited number of people that have access to computer literacy, credit and transport and (iii) relative income. Lastly, we find that improved wellbeing inequality is due to better efficiencies in the use of endowments, rather than increases in the endowments itself. Policies should not only endeavour to increase endowments but also to improve the efficient translation of these endowments into higher levels of wellbeing equality by improving institutions and limiting corruption.
    Keywords: composite index, wellbeing, inequality, Decomposition, South Africa
    JEL: C33 I31 O18 O55 R11
    Date: 2019–09
  4. By: Iana Paliova; Robert McNown; Grant Nülle
    Abstract: Multidimensional assessment of human development is increasingly recognized as playing an important role in assessing well-being. The focus of analysis is on the indicators measuring the three dimensions of Human Development Index (HDI) — standard of living, education and health, and their relationship with public social spending for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The study estimates the effects of public social spending on gross national income (GNI) per capita (in PPP in $), expected years of schooling and life expectancy for a sample of 68 countries. The relationship is robust to controlling for a variety of factors and the estimated magnitudes suggest a positive long-run effect of public educational spending on GNI per capita, public educational spending on expected years of schooling, and public health expenditures on life expectancy.
    Date: 2019–09–26
  5. By: Misuraca, Raffaella; Fasolo, Barbara
    Abstract: A question facing us today, in the new and rapidly evolving digital age, is whether searching for the best option – being a maximizer – leads to greater happiness and better outcomes than settling on the first good enough option found – or “satisficing.” Answers to this question inform behavioural insights to improve well-being and decision-making in policy and organizational settings. Yet, the answers to this fundamental question of measurement of the happiness of a maximizer versus a satisficer in the current psychological literature are: 1) conflicting; 2) anchored on the use of the first scale published to measure maximization as an individual-difference, and 3) unable to describe the search behaviour of decision makers navigating the digital world with tools of the 21st century - apps, smartphones or tablets, and most often all of them. We present, based on a review and analysis of the literature and scales, a call to stop the development of more maximization scales. Furthermore, we articulate the argument for a re-definition of maximizing that balances the face validity of the construct and the relevance to decision making in an age of digital tools so that future scales are useful for future choice architects and researchers
    Keywords: maximizing; satisficing; individual differences; decision making; scale anchoring bias; digital search tools.
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2018–01–15
  6. By: Adsera Ribera, Alicia; Dalla Pozza, Francesca; Guriev, Sergei; Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas; Nikolova, Elena
    Abstract: Using newly available data, we re-evaluate the impact of transition from plan to market in former communist countries on objective and subjective well-being. We find clear evidence of the high social cost of early transition reforms: cohorts born around the start of transition are shorter than their older or younger peers. The difference in height suggests that the first years of reforms in post-communist countries were accompanied by major deprivation. We provide suggestive evidence on the importance of three mechanisms which partially explain these results: the decline of GDP per capita, the deterioration of healthcare systems, and food scarcity. On the bright side, we find that cohorts that experienced transition in their infancy are now better educated and more satisfied with their lives than their counterparts. Taken together, our results imply that the transition process has been a traumatic experience, but that its negative impact has largely been overcome.
    Keywords: height; Structural reforms; transition from plan to market; Well-being
    JEL: I14 I31 O12 P36
    Date: 2019–09

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