nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒03‒30
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Life Satisfaction, Subjective Wealth, and Adaptation to Vulnerability in the Russian Federation during 2002-2017 By Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Abanokova, Kseniya; Lokshin, Michael M.
  2. Satisfaction with Life, Happiness, and Inequality – a Pseudo-Panel Study By Jensen, Søren; Pedersen, Peder J.
  3. Recoupling Economic and Social Prosperity By Katharina Lima de Miranda; Dennis J. Snower
  4. Living in the Shadow of the Past: Financial Profiles and Well-Being By Andrew E. Clark; Conchita d'Ambrosio; Rong Zhu
  5. Happiness and the Quality of Government By John F. Helliwell; Haifang Huang; Shun Wang

  1. By: Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Abanokova, Kseniya; Lokshin, Michael M.
    Abstract: We offer the first study on vulnerability adaptation to subjective well-being, using rich panel data over the past two decades for Russia. We found no adaption to vulnerability for life satisfaction and subjective wealth, with longer vulnerability spells being associated with more negative subjective welfare. Similar results hold for other outcomes including satisfaction with own economic conditions, work contract, job, pay, and career. Some evidence indicates that despite little differences between urban and rural areas with life satisfaction, rural areas exhibit a stronger lack of adaptation for subjective wealth, particularly for longer durations of vulnerability. Higher education levels generally exhibit a stronger lack of adaptation. The lack of adaptation to vulnerability is, however, similar at different education levels for subjective wealth. We also find a U-shaped relationship between age and durations of vulnerability and disability to have the most negative impacts on life satisfaction and subjective wealth.
    Keywords: vulnerability, adaptation, satisfaction, subjective wealth, gender, panel data, Russia
    JEL: D6 I3 O1
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Jensen, Søren (VIVE - The Danish Centre for Applied Social Science); Pedersen, Peder J. (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: The hypothesis tested in this paper is whether the increasing inequality in recent years has had a significant impact on well-being among the population in Denmark. After a survey of the literature we use attitude variables from the European Social Survey in a pseudo-panel setting covering the years 2002 – 2014. We cover respondents from Denmark and supplement the survey data with variables from administrative registers. We find a significant effect from the increasing Gini coefficient since 2002.
    Keywords: pseudo-panel, well-being, inequality
    JEL: D31 H53 I31
    Date: 2020–02
  3. By: Katharina Lima de Miranda; Dennis J. Snower
    Abstract: This paper explores a new theoretical and empirical approach to the assessment of human well-being, relevant to current challenges of social fragmentation in the presence of globalization and technological advance. We present two indexes of well-being—solidarity (S) and agency (A)—to be considered alongside the standard indexes of material gain (G) and environmental sustainability (E). The four indexes—SAGE—form a balanced dashboard for evaluating well-being. The solidarity index covers the needs of humans as social creatures, living in societies that generate a sense of social belonging. The agency index involves people’s need to influence their fate through their own efforts. While “economic prosperity” (material gain) is conventionally measured through GDP per capita, “social prosperity” can be measured through our solidarity and agency indexes, alongside environmental sustainability that is measured through the Environmental Performance Index. The SAGE dashboard is meant to provide a "sage" approach to assessing well-being, since it aims to denote sagacity in the pursuit and satisfaction of fundamental human needs and purposes. Many of the prominent challenges of the twenty-first century, including the dissatisfaction of population groups who feel left behind by globalization and technological advance, may be viewed in terms of a “decoupling” of economic prosperity from social prosperity. We present a theoretical model that provides a new perspective on the welfare effects of globalization and automation. The dashboard is meant to provide an empirical basis for mobilizing action in government, business and civil society to promote a recoupling of economic and social prosperity.
    Keywords: beyond GDP, inequality, empowerment, social cohesion, social inclusion, social solidarity, social sustainability, well-being
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Conchita d'Ambrosio ( - Université du Luxembourg); Rong Zhu (Flinders University [Adelaide, Australia])
    Abstract: We here consider the link between individual financial profiles over time and well-being, as measured by life satisfaction. We in particular look at annual self-reported financial worsening and improvement information for over 25,000 individuals in Australian panel data from 2002 to 2017. We first find that satisfaction falls (rises) with a contemporaneous major financial worsening (improvement), with worsening having the larger influence. Second, the experience of these financial events in the past continues to be linked to current well-being. Last, only the order of financial-improvement spells relates to well-being: a given number of past years where finances deteriorated has the same association with current well-being whether the deterioration occurred in one continuous spell or was interrupted. We last show that these associations are heterogeneous over the distribution of well-being.
    Keywords: Financial improvement,financial worsening,time profiles,well- being,HILDA
    Date: 2020–03
  5. By: John F. Helliwell; Haifang Huang; Shun Wang
    Abstract: This chapter uses happiness data to assess the quality of government. Our happiness data are drawn from the Gallup World Poll, starting in 2005 and extending to 2017 or 2018. In our analysis of the panel of more than 150 countries and generally over 1,500 national-level observations, we show that government delivery quality is significantly correlated with national happiness, but democratic quality is not. We also analyze other quality of government indicators. Confidence in government is correlated with happiness, however forms of democracy and government spending seem not. We further discuss three channels (including peace and conflict, trust, and inequality) whereby quality of government and happiness are linked. We finally summarize what has been learned about how government policies could be formed to improve citizens’ happiness.
    JEL: H1 H5 I3
    Date: 2020–03

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