nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒05‒18
three papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Lockdowns, Loneliness and Life Satisfaction By Hamermesh, Daniel S.
  2. Feeling Good or Feeling Better? By Prati, Alberto; Senik, Claudia
  3. Economic downturns and mental wellbeing By Avdic, Daniel; de New, Sonja C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.

  1. By: Hamermesh, Daniel S. (Barnard College)
    Abstract: Using the 2012-13 American Time Use Survey, I find that both who people spend time with and how they spend it affect their happiness, adjusted for numerous demographic and economic variables. Satisfaction among married individuals increases most with additional time spent with spouse. Among singles, satisfaction decreases most as more time is spent alone. Assuming that lockdowns constrain married people to spend time solely with their spouses, simulations show that their happiness may have been increased compared to before the lockdowns; but sufficiently large losses of work time and income reverse this inference. Simulations demonstrate clearly that, assuming lockdowns impose solitude on singles, their happiness was reduced, reductions that are made more severe by income and work losses.
    Keywords: Coronavirus, time use, happiness, isolation, well-being, COVID-19
    JEL: I12 J22 I31
    Date: 2020–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13140&r=all
  2. By: Prati, Alberto (Aix-Marseille University); Senik, Claudia (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: Can people remember correctly their past well-being? We study three national surveys of the British, German and French population, where more than 50,000 European citizens were asked questions about their current and past life satisfaction. We uncover systematic biases in recalled subjective well- being: on average, people tend to overstate the improvement in their well-being over time and to understate their past happiness. But this aggregate figure hides a deep asymmetry: while happy people recall the evolution of their life to be better than it was, unhappy ones tend to exaggerate its worsening. It thus seems that feeling happy today implies feeling better than yesterday. These results offer an explanation of why happy people are more optimistic, perceive risks to be lower and are more open to new experiences.
    Keywords: memory biases, remembered utility, life satisfaction, intra-personal comparisons
    JEL: I31 D91
    Date: 2020–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13166&r=all
  3. By: Avdic, Daniel; de New, Sonja C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.
    Abstract: We study the impact of the business cycle on mental wellbeing by linking rich German survey data to over a decade of detailed gross domestic product information. Endogeneity concerns are tackled using a shift-share instrumental variables approach in which exposure to macroeconomic fluctuations is estimated from regional variations in historical industry sector composition. Estimation results reveal strong negative effects of economic downturns on both life satisfaction and a multidimensional measure of mental health. We provide evidence that these effects are mediated by fear of job loss and income reductions, while actual unemployment effects are negligible. A case study of the impact of the global financial crisis reveals that adverse effects on mental wellbeing are persistent and remained even after the economy recovered.
    Keywords: business cycle,mental health,life satisfaction,global financial crisis,shift-share instrument
    JEL: C36 E32 I15
    Date: 2020
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:zbw:dicedp:337&r=all

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