nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒02‒24
five papers chosen by

  1. Women’s optimism, the gender happiness equaliser: a case of South Africa By Greyling, Talita; Fisher, Bianca
  2. Younger, Dissatisfied, and Unhealthy - Relative Age in Adolescence By Luca Fumarco; Stijn Baert; Francesco Sarracino
  4. The Impact of Having Children on Domain-Specific Life Satisfaction: A Quasi-Experimental Longitudinal Investigation Using the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) Data By Michael D. Krämer; Joseph L. Rodgers
  5. Polarization and Its Discontents : Morocco before and after the Arab Spring By Clementi,Fabio; Khan,Haider Ali Daud; Molini,Vasco; Schettino,Francesco; Soudi,Khalid

  1. By: Greyling, Talita; Fisher, Bianca
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether there is co-movement in subjective wellbeing (swb) gender gaps and objective wellbeing (owb) gender gaps over time and whether swb gender gaps are caused by gender differences in endowments or by the different ways men and women value the pre-mentioned. This is important, as global goals and national policy focus on the improvement of owb gender equality, ignoring the importance of swb gender equality. We use the NIDS dataset, comparing 2008 and 2017 data, and employ the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method in the analysis. We find i) the trends in owband swb gender gaps are unrelated and ii) the swb gender gaps are explained mainly by gender differences in endowments,but in 2017, due to women’s “optimism”, notwithstanding their lower levels of endowments, the swb between genders was equalised. These results indicate the need for a swb gender equality policy.
    Keywords: Happiness gap,Gender,Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition,South Africa
    JEL: I31 J16 D03
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Luca Fumarco (Tulane University); Stijn Baert (Ghent University); Francesco Sarracino (STATEC Research – National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies)
    Abstract: We investigate whether relative age (i.e. the age gap between classmates) affects life satisfaction and health in adolescence. We analyse data on students between 10 and 17 years of age from the international survey ‘Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children’ and find robust evidence that a twelve-month increase in relative age (i.e. the hypothetical maximum age gap between classmates) i) increases life satisfaction by 0.168 standard deviations, ii) increases self-rated general health by 0.108 standard deviations, iii) decreases psychosomatic complaints by 0.072 standard deviations, and iv) decreases chances of being overweight by 2.4%. These effects are comparable in size to the effects of students’ household socio-economic status. Finally, gaps in life satisfaction are the only ones to reduce with the increase in absolute age, but only in countries where the first tracking of students occurs at 14 years of age or later.
    Keywords: Academic Settings; Adolescent Characteristics; Education Policy; Life-Satisfaction; Health Outcomes
    JEL: C26 D04 I21 I24 I31
    Date: 2020–02
  3. By: Maia Sieverding (American University of Beirut); Rasha Hassan (Population Council Egypt Country Office)
    Abstract: There is a well-established relationship between economic vulnerability and health. The study of this relationship is complicated by reverse causality – poor economic outcomes contribute to poor health and poor health can lead to worse economic outcomes. Yet even descriptive studies of the relationship between economic and health outcomes are lacking in the Middle East and North Africa region. The Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey 2018 includes a range of new health measures, including the UN-Washington Group disability instrument, self-rated health, and the WHO-5 subjective wellbeing scale that allow us for the first time to conduct a detailed examination of the associations between economic vulnerability and health in the Egyptian population. We find a substantial burden of poor health among the working age and older populations in Egypt, particularly along measures of disability and subjective wellbeing. Several groups emerge as particularly vulnerable to poor health across health outcomes, including divorced women, the urban poor and particularly poor urban women, and those in precarious and hazardous forms of employment. Further multivariate studies are needed to disentangle the relationships between multiple forms of economic vulnerability and poor health
    Date: 2019–10–20
  4. By: Michael D. Krämer; Joseph L. Rodgers
    Abstract: Longitudinal studies have documented improvements in parents’ life satisfaction due to childbearing, followed by postpartum adaptation back to baseline. However, the details underlying this process remain largely unexplored. Based on past literature, set-point theory, and results from an exploratory sample, we investigated empirically how first childbirth affected satisfaction with specific domains of life. In a preregistered study, we compared parents with matched childless respondents in their trajectories of life satisfaction, and also satisfaction with family life, health, sleep, work, housework, leisure, dwelling, household income, and personal income. First-time parents and childless respondents were matched in a procedure combining exact and propensity score matching. Using the population-representative German SOEP data (N = 3,370), longitudinal multilevel models revealed heterogeneous effects of childbirth on different domains of satisfaction: Both mothers’ and fathers’ satisfaction with family life increased temporarily in a similar fashion to life satisfaction before going back to baseline within five years after childbirth. However, only mothers experienced drastic losses to satisfaction with sleep and satisfaction with personal income. For the remaining domains, parents’ satisfaction largely resembled that of the matched childless respondents. These divergent domain trajectories underscore the need for multivariate analyses in life satisfaction research.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Satisfaction Domains, Childbirth, Parents, Propensity Score Matching
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Clementi,Fabio; Khan,Haider Ali Daud; Molini,Vasco; Schettino,Francesco; Soudi,Khalid
    Abstract: This paper uses data obtained from three Moroccan household surveys that took place between 2000 to 2013, to address issues related to the so-called"Arab puzzle."Welfare inequalities are low and declining in Arab countries and exist against the backdrop of a growing sense of dissatisfaction and frustration. The paper hypothesizes that welfare inequality plays a role, if seen through the lens of absolute measures and notably absolute polarization. The paper argues that the relatively worse perception of poor, vulnerable, and lower middle-class Moroccan households mirrors the ongoing hollowing out of the welfare distribution process and its concentration in the tails. The results of a multi-logit regression indicate that polarization is significantly correlated to perception and, importantly, that this correlation is asymmetric. The poorer are the households, the more polarization is perceived to link negatively to the well-being of households; and the richer are the households, the more polarization will positively correlate with their perceived well-being. The results are robust to the use of classes or quintiles for ranking social groups from the poorest to the richest.
    Date: 2019–10–28

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