nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒04‒13
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Comparing Distributions of Ordinal Data By Jenkins, Stephen P.
  2. Life Satisfaction, Subjective Wealth, and Adaptation to Vulnerability in the Russian Federation during 2002-2017 By Dang, Hai-Anh; Abanokova, Kseniya; Lokshin, Michael
  3. What Make African Happy By Mignamissi, Dieudonné; Kuete, Yselle Flora
  4. The Deep Imprint of Roman Sandals: Evidence of Long-lasting Effects of Roman Rule on Personality, Economic Performance, and Well-Being in Germany By Michael Fritsch; Martin Obschonka; Fabian Wahl; Michael Wyrwich
  5. Machiavelli versus Concave Utility Functions: Should Bads Be Spread out or Concentrated? By Frijters, Paul; Krekel, Christian; Ulker, Aydogan

  1. By: Jenkins, Stephen P. (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: To compare distributions of ordinal data such as individuals' responses on Likert-type scale variables summarizing subjective well-being, we should not apply the toolbox of methods developed for cardinal variables such as income. Instead we should use an analogous toolbox which takes account of the ordinal nature of the responses. This paper reviews these methods and introduces a new Stata command ineqord for undertaking distributional comparisons. As the empirical illustrations demonstrate, ineqord can be used for dominance checks as well as for estimation of indices of polarization and inequality.
    Keywords: inequality, ordinal data, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, Annual Population Survey
    JEL: D31 D63 I31
    Date: 2020–03
  2. By: Dang, Hai-Anh (World Bank); Abanokova, Kseniya (Higher School of Economics, National Research University); Lokshin, Michael (World Bank and Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
    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: 2020–03
  3. By: Mignamissi, Dieudonné; Kuete, Yselle Flora
    Abstract: This paper analyses the key determinants of happiness in Africa. Using both Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) and Weighted Average Least Squares (WALS) approaches to tackle the issue of model uncertainty on a panel of 30 African countries over the period 2006-2017, we found 14 economic, social, cultural, historical, structural and institutional factors which influence African well-being
    Keywords: Determinants, Happiness, Africa, Bayesian Model Averaging, Weighted Average Least Squares
    JEL: A1 A10
    Date: 2020–03
  4. By: Michael Fritsch (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany); Martin Obschonka (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia); Fabian Wahl (University of Hohenheim, Germany); Michael Wyrwich (University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)
    Abstract: We investigate whether the Roman presence in the southern part of Germany nearly 2,000 years ago had a deep imprinting effect with long run consequences on a broad spectrum of measures ranging from present-day personality profiles to a number of socioeconomic outcomes and why. Today's populations living in the former Roman part of Germany score indeed higher on certain personality traits, have higher life and health satisfaction, longer life expectancy, generate more inventions and behave in a more entrepreneurial way. These findings help explain that regions under Roman rule have higher present-day levels of economic development in terms of GDP per capita. The effects hold when controlling for other potential historical influences. When addressing potential channels of a long term effect of Roman rule the data indicates that the Roman road network plays an important role as a mechanism in the imprinting that is still perceptible today.
    Keywords: Romans, personality traits, culture, well-being, regional performance, Limes
    JEL: N9 O1 I31
    Date: 2020–03–30
  5. By: Frijters, Paul (London School of Economics); Krekel, Christian (London School of Economics); Ulker, Aydogan (Deakin University)
    Abstract: Is wellbeing higher if the same number of negative events is spread out rather than bunched in time? Should positive events be spread out or bunched? We answer these questions exploiting quarterly data on six positive and twelve negative life events in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia panel. Accounting for selection, anticipation, and adaptation, we find a tipping point when it comes to negative events: once people experience about two negative events, their wellbeing depreciates disproportionally as more and more events occur in a given period. For positive events, effects are weakly decreasing in size. So both the good and the bad should be spread out rather than bunched in time, corresponding to the classic economic presumption of concave utility rather than Machiavelli's prescript of inflicting all injuries at once. Yet, differences are small, with complete smoothing of all negative events over all people and periods calculated to yield no more than a 12% reduction in the total negative welbeing impact of negative events.
    Keywords: wellbeing, mental health, life events, non-linearities, hedonic adaptation, welfare analysis
    JEL: D1 I31 K0
    Date: 2020–02

This nep-hap issue is ©2020 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.