nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒10‒21
six papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. The Effects of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion on Subjective Well-being By Kim, Seonghoon; Koh, Kanghyock
  2. Hirschman's tunnel effect goes abroad: International dimensions of social comparison and subjective well-being By Aart Gerritsen; Harald W. Lang
  3. Social Capital Inequality and Subjective Wellbeing of Older Chinese By Appau, Samuelson; Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Smyth, Russell; Zhang, Quanda
  4. Trans People, Transitioning, Mental Health, Life and Job Satisfaction By Drydakis, Nick
  5. Transition from Plan to Market, Height and Well-Being By Adsera, Alicia; Dalla Pozza, Francesca; Guriev, Sergei; Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas; Nikolova, Elena
  6. Love as a key element to wellbeing By Kaarina Määttä; Marju Määttä

  1. By: Kim, Seonghoon (Singapore Management University); Koh, Kanghyock (Korea University)
    Abstract: This study analyzes the effects of the 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion on the subjective well-being of individuals in the United States. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find that the expansion has significantly improved the overall life satisfaction of low-income non-elderly adults. Various sensitivity checks and falsification tests confirm the internal validity. Our findings imply that, without considering psychological benefits, the actual benefits of the ACA Medicaid expansion may be underemphasized.
    Keywords: Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion, health insurance, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, happiness
    JEL: I13 I18 I31
    Date: 2019–09
  2. By: Aart Gerritsen; Harald W. Lang
    Abstract: We ï¬ nd evidence that individuals’ subjective well-being depends on the macroeconomic performance of other countries as well as that of their home country. Given the home country’s economic growth, an individual’s life satisfaction is positively associated with the economic growth of important trade partners. It is negatively associated with the economic growth of neighboring countries that engage in relatively little trade with the home country. Our ï¬ ndings are consistent with individuals who care about their economic situation relative to that of people in other countries, but who at the same time anticipate positive spillovers from the economic performance of countries that share an important economic tie with their home country.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being, social comparison, tunnel effect, economic growth
    JEL: I31 D62
    Date: 2018–02
  3. By: Appau, Samuelson; Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Smyth, Russell; Zhang, Quanda
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), this study provides insights on comparative wellbeing outcomes for older people who are institutionally segregated into clusters that produce uneven social capital. We present the first study that examines how institutionalized social capital inequality, measured by the social capital gap generated by hukou (household registration) status in China, affects the wellbeing of older people. Our results show that high levels of social capital inequality are associated with lower subjective wellbeing, measured by life satisfaction. This general conclusion is robust to a number of sensitivity checks including alternative ways of measuring subjective wellbeing and inequality. We also find that the negative relationship between social capital inequality and subjective wellbeing is strongest for people with a non-urban hukou living in urban areas. Our findings highlight the need for policies aimed at narrowing the social capital gap and the dismantling of institutional structures that hinder upward social capital mobility.
    Keywords: social capital, social networks, trust, social capital inequality, hukou, China
    JEL: I31 J14 O18
    Date: 2019–10–08
  4. By: Drydakis, Nick
    Abstract: For trans people (i.e. people whose gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth) evidence suggests that transitioning (i.e. the steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify) positively affects positivity towards life, extraversion, ability to cope with stress, optimism about the future, self-reported health, social relations, self-esteem, body image, enjoyment of tasks, personal performance, job rewards and relations with colleagues. These relationships are found to be positively affected by gender affirmation and support from family members, peers, schools and workplaces, stigma prevention programmes, coping intervention strategies, socioeconomic conditions, anti-discrimination policies, and positive actions. Also important are legislation including the ability to change one’s sex on government identification documents without having to undergo sex reassignment surgery, accessible and affordable transitioning resources, hormone therapy, surgical treatments, high-quality surgical techniques, adequate preparation and mental health support before and during transitioning, and proper follow-up care. Societal marginalization, family rejection, violations of human and political rights in health care, employment, housing and legal systems, gendered spaces, and internalization of stigma can negatively affect trans people’s well-being and integration in societies. The present study highlights that although transitioning itself can bring well-being adjustments, a transphobic environment may result in adverse well-being outcomes. Policy makers should aim to facilitate transitioning and create cultures of inclusion in different settings, such as schools, workplaces, health services and justice.
    Keywords: Trans People,Transitioning,Gender Reassignment Surgery,Mental Health,Life Satisfaction,Job Satisfaction
    JEL: D91 I10 J12 J10 J28
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Adsera, Alicia (Princeton University); Dalla Pozza, Francesca (EBRD, London); Guriev, Sergei (New Economic School, Moscow); Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas (University of Oxford); Nikolova, Elena (Central European Labour Studies Institute)
    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 reform in former 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: transition from plan to market, structural reforms, height, well-being, Russia
    JEL: P36 I14 I31 O12
    Date: 2019–09
  6. By: Kaarina Määttä (University of Lapland); Marju Määttä (University of Lapland)
    Abstract: This presentation is based on the new scientific book Love Around Us - The Role of Love in Education, Parenting and Romantic Relationships (Kaarina Määttä & Satu Uusiautti, eds.) published by Peter Lang in 2018, and also the previous book Many Faces of Love (Kaarina Määttä & Satu Uusiautti, authors), published by Sense Publishers. In the presentation it will be discussed research on love as a key element of health, wellbeing and positive human development. People live in a network of relationships and their ability to build and maintain realationships is an important strength. Love has many definitions and also many forms and faces. The presentation provides a comprehensive analysis on love in various areas of human beings? life ? the emergence and manifestation of romantic love in various phases of life, love in education, love for work, for fellow humans ? and in relation to other phenomena, such as friendship, play, and creativity. When dissecting love along the course of life, parental love and also grandparental love secures children's well-being and teachers´ pedagogical love trusts in pupils' learning. The first taste of falling in love can manifest itself in the form of the sweet poison of love and still is quite far from actual love. The ability to love is an important, yet difficult, skill. There are numerous theories that explain the phases of long-lasting marriages and divorces, too. Nevertheless, love does not retire and the fascination of love does not fade, not even in senior age. Other topical phenomena of love are, for example, love for work and the successful combination of work and family.Love in its whole gamut is connected to human wellbeing and development in different areas and phases of human life. Love, as its best, is manifested by the endeavor to make things develop, grow, and come forward, whether love falls on other people, art, science, ideas, or nature. A world where it is safe to love is a world where it is safe to live. The presentation concentrates on the best sides of love and I conclude that love, in its various forms, makes the best health insurance.
    Keywords: love, wellbeing, positive human development
    JEL: I00 I29 I31
    Date: 2019–10

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