nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒05‒11
four papers chosen by

  1. Is Happiness U-shaped Everywhere? Age and Subjective Well-being in 145 Countries By Blanchflower, David G.
  2. The Perceived Well-being and Health Costs of Exiting Self-Employment By Nikolova, Milena; Nikolaev, Boris; Popova, Olga
  3. Does Subjective Well-being Contribute to Our Understanding of Mexican Well-being? By Jeremy Heald; Erick Trevi\~no Aguilar
  4. Resource rents and happiness on a global perspective: The resource curse revisited By Mignamissi, Dieudonné; Kuete, Flora Yselle

  1. By: Blanchflower, David G.
    Abstract: A large empirical literature has debated the U-shaped happiness-age curve. This paper re-examines the relationship between various measures of well-being and age in one hundred and forty-five countries, including one hundred and nine developing countries, controlling for education, marital and labor force status, among others on samples of individuals under the age of seventy. The curve is forcefully confirmed with an age minimum, or nadir, in midlife around age fifty, employing separate analyses for developing and advanced countries as well as for the continent of Africa as robustness checks. While panel data are largely unavailable for this issue, and the finding using such data largely confirms the cross-section results, the paper discusses insights on why cohort effects do not drive the findings. I find the minima has risen over time in Europe and the United States. The happiness curve seems to be everywhere.
    Keywords: Well-being,Happiness,U-shape in Age
    JEL: I31 P51 D6
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Nikolova, Milena; Nikolaev, Boris; Popova, Olga
    Abstract: We explore how involuntary and voluntary exits from self-employment affect life and health satisfaction. To that end, we use rich longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel from 1985 to 2017 and a difference-in-differences estimation. Our findings suggest that while transitioning from self-employment to salaried employment (i.e., a voluntary self-employment exit) brings small improvements in health and life satisfaction, the negative psychological costs of business failure (i.e., switching from self-employment to unemployment) are substantial and exceed the costs of involuntarily losing a salaried job (i.e., switching from salaried employment to unemployment). Meanwhile, leaving self-employment has no consequences for selfreported physical health and behaviors such as smoking and drinking, implying that the costs of losing self-employment are largely psychological. Moreover, former business owners fail to adapt to an involuntary self-employment exit even two or more years after this traumatic event. Our findings imply that policies encouraging entrepreneurship should also carefully consider the costs of business failure.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship,self-employment,health,well-being,unemployment,job switches
    JEL: E24 I10 I31 J28 L26
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Jeremy Heald; Erick Trevi\~no Aguilar
    Abstract: The article reviews the history of well-being to gauge how subjective question surveys can improve our understanding of well-being in Mexico. The research uses data at the level of the 32 federal entities or States, taking advantage of the heterogeneity in development indicator readings between and within geographical areas, the product of socioeconomic inequality. The data come principally from two innovative subjective questionnaires, BIARE and ENVIPE, which intersect in their fully representative state-wide applications in 2014, but also from conventional objective indicator sources such as the HDI and conventional surveys. This study uses two approaches, a descriptive analysis of a state-by-state landscape of indicators, both subjective and objective, in an initial search for stand-out well-being patterns, and an econometric study of a large selection of mainly subjective indicators inspired by theory and the findings of previous Mexican research. Descriptive analysis confirms that subjective well-being correlates strongly with and complements objective data, providing interesting directions for analysis. The econometrics literature indicates that happiness increases with income and satisfying of material needs as theory suggests, but also that Mexicans are relatively happy considering their mediocre incomes and high levels of insecurity, the last of which, by categorizing according to satisfaction with life, can be shown to impact poorer people disproportionately. The article suggests that well-being is a complex, multidimensional construct which can be revealed by using exploratory multi-regression and partial correlations models which juxtapose subjective and objective indicators.
    Date: 2020–04
  4. By: Mignamissi, Dieudonné; Kuete, Flora Yselle
    Abstract: We revisit resource curse theory by providing empirical evidence for the effects of natural resource on the subjective wellbeing. Using cross-sectional model based on a global sample of 149 countries, we highlight that resources rents tend to reduce happiness but this effect differs according to (i) the political system and the level of development, (ii) the types and the measures of natural resources and (iii) the scale of happiness. Specifically, the negative effect of natural resources on happiness tends to be amplified in developing and weak democracy countries. Furthermore, the disaggregation of natural resource rents show that while oil rents and natural gas rent have a significant negative effect, forest, coal and mineral rents do not. However, after using the quantile regression approach, we find that these effects vary at different intervals throughout the happiness distribution.
    Keywords: Resource Rents, Happiness, Resource Curse
    JEL: C31 I31 Q34
    Date: 2020–03

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