nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2019‒12‒09
nine papers chosen by

  1. Does Income Increase the Well–Being of Employees?: Evidence from Europe By Dominika Spolcova; Barbara Pertold-Gebicka
  3. Family Size and Subjective Well-being in Europe: Do More Children Make Us (Un)Happy? By Barbara Pertold-Gebicka; Dominika Spolcova
  4. Well-being, political decentralisation and governance quality in Europe By Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Tselios, Vassilis
  5. Childlessness, parenthood and subjective wellbeing: The relevance of conceptualizing parenthood and childlessness as a continuum. By Albertini, Marco; Arpino, Bruno
  6. A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government By Frijters, Paul; Clark, Andrew E.; Krekel, Christian; Layard, Richard
  7. Relative Deprivation in Tanzania By Atsebi, Jean-Marc Bédhat; Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada
  8. House prices and the evaluation of local amenities By Colleoni, Marco
  9. Towards a comprehensive framework of the relationships between resource footprints, quality of life and economic development By Cibulka, Stefan; Giljum, Stefan

  1. By: Dominika Spolcova (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Opletalova 26, 110 00, Prague, Czech Republic); Barbara Pertold-Gebicka (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Opletalova 26, 110 00, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the well-known question of what drives people’s well–being using two alternative measures of subjective well-being and comparing two econometric approaches, thus providing results robust to the recent critique by Bond and Lang (2019). The classical OLS and ordered probit analysis of self-reported life satisfaction of employees from 32 European countries show results consistent with the previous literature. Analysis of the happiness index — a measure of hedonic well-being defined as frequency of experiencing specific emotions — provides similar results, with some exceptions. Most importantly, we show that the observed income effect on subjective well–being is much weaker for the happiness index than for life satisfaction, especially when controlling for satisfaction of basic needs. Quantile regression analysis brings additional insights: (1) median estimates are equivalent to mean estimates obtained by OLS (2) the correlates of subjective well–being are not stable over the whole distribution with most of the coefficients being the largest in their absolute value at low quantiles (3) the relationship between income and the happiness index is weak and stable over the whole distribution when basic needs satisfaction variables are included in the model.
    Keywords: Subjective well–being, income, social relationships, happiness index, life satisfaction
    JEL: E42 E52 E58
    Date: 2019–08
  2. By: Ekaterina Kodja (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Tatiana Ryabichenko (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This cross-cultural study examines the role of social identities (ethnic, national and place) and acculturation strategies in the psychological well-being of young ethnic minorities in regions with different policies on minority integration - Russians in Latvia (N=109, age 16-24) and Crimean Tatars in Crimea (N=122, age 17-24). Results revealed the identities that promote psychological well-being of the young generation of these minorities. Ethnic identity predicts self-esteem in both groups and life satisfaction in Crimean Tatar youth. Place identity is positively related to life satisfaction of both groups. The national identity of ethnic minority youth predicts integration in both groups, while integration promotes self-esteem among Russian youth in Latvia only. The findings are discussed taking into account the historical, political and social context of Latvia and Crimea
    Keywords: ethnic minorities, social identities, acculturation strategies, subjective well-being.
    JEL: F22
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Barbara Pertold-Gebicka (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Opletalova 26, 110 00, Prague, Czech Republic); Dominika Spolcova (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Opletalova 26, 110 00, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: With the goal to shed more light on fertility drivers in Europe, we estimate the causal relationship between the number of children and parental subjective well-being using two alternative measures: life satisfaction and a happiness index. Multiple births are used as the source of exogenous variation to deal with number of children endogeneity. Estimating this relationship on subgroups of mothers and fathers whose children fall into different age categories, we document that fathers’ well-being is negatively hit by the unexpected increase in family size due to twin birth all across Europe. This effect turns positive as children get older in all European regions when happiness index is investigated and in all regions except for the post-communist countries when life satisfaction is investigated. For mothers we identify larger variation across Europe and over child ages. We show that fathers’ reaction to children is mainly driven by their (dis)satisfaction with time allocation and accommodation, while mothers’ reaction to additional children at highest child ages is mainly driven by dissatisfaction with job. Region-specific fertility rates are correlated with fathers’ marginal utility of additional child.
    Keywords: Fertility, subjective well-being
    JEL: C21 J13 I31
    Date: 2019–08
  4. By: Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Tselios, Vassilis
    Abstract: European nations allocate public sector resources with the general aim of increasing the well-being and welfare of their citizens through a fair and efficient distribution of these public goods and services. However, ‘who’ delivers these goods and services and ‘how well’ they are delivered are essential in determining outcomes in terms of well-being. Drawing on data from the European Social Survey database, this paper uses Amartya Sen’s social welfare index framework – accounting for the trade-off between the maximization of public sector resources and an equitable distribution of these resources – to examine the influence of political decentralisation (‘who’ delivers the resources) and whether this influence is moderated by governance quality (‘how well’ they are delivered) on individual subjective well-being. The findings of the econometric analysis reveal that decentralisation does not always lead to higher well-being, as the benefits of political decentralisation are highly mediated by the quality of national governance. In countries with high governance quality, political decentralisation results in a greater satisfaction with health provision, while in lower quality governance countries, a more decentralized government can increase the overall satisfaction with life, the economy, government, democracy and the provision of education, but not necessarily with health-related services.
    Keywords: well-being; political decentralisation; quality of governance; Europe; European Social Survey
    JEL: H11 H70 I31
    Date: 2019–01–02
  5. By: Albertini, Marco; Arpino, Bruno
    Abstract: The objective of the paper is to show the theoretical and practical relevance of conceptualizing and operationalizing parenthood and childlessness as a continuum – instead of a dichotomy - when evaluating the consequences of kinless-ness in later life. It is suggested that information on the number of children, structural and associational intergenerational solidarity can be utilized to operationalize the continuum. Subjective wellbeing is utilized as outcome of interest. Data from waves 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe are used. The sample includes 183,545 respondents from 21 countries. Linear regression models with clustered standard errors are used. Childless older individuals report lower levels of life satisfaction than parents. However, the largest difference is observed between those with one and two children. Using a measure of associational intergenerational solidarity to weight the degree of parenthood it is shown that parents who have infrequent contact with children report significantly lower levels of life satisfaction than childless individuals. Kinless-ness is not only a demographic but also a social condition. When studying the consequences of ageing alone it is essential to consider not only the presence and “quantity” of kin, but also its “quality”.
    Date: 2018–10–18
  6. By: Frijters, Paul (London School of Economics); Clark, Andrew E. (Paris School of Economics); Krekel, Christian (London School of Economics); Layard, Richard (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: In this article, we lay out the basic case for wellbeing as the goal of government. We briefly review the history of this idea, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and was the acknowledged ideal of the Enlightenment. We then discuss possible measures on which a wellbeing orientation could be based, emphasising the importance of acknowledging the political agency of citizens and thus their own evaluations of their life. We then turn to practicalities and consequences: how would one actually set up wellbeing-oriented decision-making and what difference should we expect from current practice? We end by discussing the current barriers to the adoption of wellbeing as the goal of government, both in terms of what we need to know more about and where the ideological barriers lay.
    Keywords: subjective wellbeing, life satisfaction, public policy, political economy, social welfare
    JEL: I3 A10 H10 H83
    Date: 2019–10
  7. By: Atsebi, Jean-Marc Bédhat (CERDI, University of Auvergne); Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada (IAE Barcelona (CSIC))
    Abstract: This paper examines the importance of relative deprivation in Tanzania, a poor African country, using three waves of the Tanzanian National Panel Survey. We contribute to earlier literature in Africa by controlling for time persistent unobservable individual characteristics (panel data) and by using two measures of satisfaction (life and financial satisfaction) and two definitions of reference group. By comparing results between satisfaction measures and across definitions of reference groups we help to understand the mechanisms through which comparisons work in a poor setting. In contrast with earlier literature, we find strong evidence of relative deprivation in financial satisfaction of all individuals in Tanzania, and evidence for life satisfaction only for individuals with weaker ties with their community. For those with strong ties, we find evidence of a positive correlation between life satisfaction and the average consumption of close neighbors and argue that this can be explained by feelings of empathy.
    Keywords: Africa, financial satisfaction, life satisfaction, relative deprivation, Tanzania
    JEL: D63 D64 I32 O12
    Date: 2019–10
  8. By: Colleoni, Marco
    Abstract: Our aim is to estimate how local amenities, for example availability of schools or restaurants, and in general the level of happiness of a neighbourhood, affect the housing market. We consider the city of Phoenix, AZ, for which we hold housing transaction data. Our observation unit is the census tract. After having located schools, restaurants and Tweets in order to gain the average mood of the neighbourhood, we add a set of controls to our empirical estimation. We find a strong positive correlation of transaction prices with the average income of a district, as well as a negative correlation with the rate of violent crime.
    Date: 2018–02–28
  9. By: Cibulka, Stefan; Giljum, Stefan
    Abstract: The relationship between economic affluence, quality of life and environmental implications of production and consumption activities is a recurring issue in sustainability discussions. A number of studies examined selected relationships, but the general implications for future development directions of countries at different development stages are hardly addressed. In this paper, we use a global dataset with 173 countries to assess the overall relationship between resource footprints, quality of life and economic development over the period of 1990-2015. We select the Material Footprint and Carbon Footprint and contrast them with the Human Development Index, the Happiness Index and GDP per capita. Regression analyses show that the relationship between various resource footprints and quality of life generally follows a logarithmic path of development, while resource footprints and GDP per capita are linearly connected. From the empirical results, we derive a generalised path of development and cluster countries along this path. Within this comprehensive framework, we discuss options to change the path to respect planetary and social boundaries through a combination of resource efficiency increases, substitution of industries and sufficiency of consumption. We conclude that decoupling and green growth will not realise sustainable development, if planetary boundaries have already been transgressed.
    Keywords: Decoupling; Post-Growth; Planetary Boundaries; Quality of Life; Resource Footprints; Sustainable Development
    Date: 2019

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