nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒06‒15
seven papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. The Lasting Well-being Effects of Early Adulthood Macroeconomic Crises By Hovi Matti
  2. Climbing up ladders and sliding down snakes: an empirical assessment of the effect of social mobility on subjective wellbeing By Dolan, Paul; Lordan, Grace
  3. Income, Aspirations and Subjective Well-being: International Evidence By Hovi Matti; Laamanen Jani-Petri
  4. Kim Jiyoung, born 1982, and the labour market: Overeducation, gender, income and life satisfaction. Panel evidence from Korea By Ahmed Lahsen, Amina; Piper, Alan T.; Thiele, Ida-Anna
  5. Well-being through the Lens of the Internet By Yann Algan; Fabrice Murtin; Elizabeth Beasley; Kazuhito Higad; Claudia Senik
  6. The Effects of Smartphones on Well-Being: Theoretical Integration and Research Agenda By Kostadin Kushlev; Matthew R Leitao
  7. How to articulate beyond GDP and businesses’ social and environmental indicators? By Olivier E. Malay

  1. By: Hovi Matti (Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of macroeconomic crises experienced in early adulthood on subjective well-being later in life. Using repeated cross-sectional survey data of over 100 000 individuals from 38 countries around the world combined with historical data on macroeconomic circumstances, I find that having experienced a macroeconomic crisis at ages 18 to 25 is detrimental to subjective well-being. This result is in line with earlier literature that focuses on other individual-level outcomes. However, the analysis presented in this paper reveals that outcomes related to individual’s earnings, employment status, family life, and religion cannot fully explain the lasting effect of a macroeconomic crises on well-being. Results on heterogeneous responses show that the negative effect is largest for females and for individuals with low educational attainment.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being; Happiness; Life satisfaction; Macroeconomic crises; Recession
    JEL: O11 I31
    Date: 2020–05
  2. By: Dolan, Paul; Lordan, Grace
    Abstract: We examine how intergenerational mobility impacts on subjective wellbeing (SWB) drawing on data from the British Cohort Study. Our SWB measures encapsulate both life satisfaction and mental health, and we consider both relative and absolute movements in income. We find that relative income mobility is a significant predictor of life satisfaction and mental health, whether people move upward or downward. For absolute income, mobility is only a consistent predictor of SWB and mental health outcomes if the person moves downwards, and in this case the impact is far larger than relative mobility. For both relative and income mobility, downward movements impact SWB to a greater extent than upward movements, consistent with exhibiting loss aversion. Notably, we find that social class mobility does not affect SWB. We present evidence that the significant relative and absolute mobility effects we find operate partially through financial perceptions and consumption changes which can occur because of income mobility.
    Keywords: income mobility; life satisfaction; mental health; social class mobility; subjective wellbeing
    JEL: D31 D63 J60
    Date: 2020–05–14
  3. By: Hovi Matti; Laamanen Jani-Petri (Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University)
    Abstract: Previous micro-level results from cross-sectional data from individual countries sug- gest that well-being improvements related to rising incomes are at least partly offset by associated rises in income aspirations. We conduct a more encompassing analysis on the topic, covering about 30 countries in different stage of economic development. We use micro-data on Europeans’ subjective well-being, income and aspirations as measured by minimum income needs from the year 2013 and panel data on income and aspirations. Earlier findings on the negative role of income aspirations when it comes to well-being are shown to hold internationally. Moreover, in line with the earlier results from individual countries, we find that aspirations matter systematically more, the higher the country’s average income. These results are robust to three different measures of well-being. Fur- ther, the panel analysis shows that aspirations increase with incomes. Taken together, our results suggest that aspirations play an important role in holding back income-induced well-being improvements, especially in high-income countries.
    Keywords: Income, Subjective well-being, Aspirations
    JEL: D60 D63 I31
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: Ahmed Lahsen, Amina; Piper, Alan T.; Thiele, Ida-Anna
    Abstract: One reason often put forward for South Korea's rapid economic growth has been the rising level of educational attainment of its workforce. Correspondingly, the proportion of Koreans who complete tertiary education has also rapidly increased (and is also considerably higher than the OECD average). Such increases raise the possibility of overeducation if the amount of jobs which require such education do not increase at a similar pace. Among the consequences of overeducation are reduced life satisfaction and underutilised human capital. Given that Korean females are better educated than males, and they also face more discrimination in the labour market, the consequences of overeducation are likely to differ by gender. Using Korean panel data and both a subjective and objective measure of overeducation, the results are consistent with females having lower aspirations despite their high levels of education, and indicate that a more female friendly labour market could address the country's currently underutilised human capital, for the benefit of the females themselves, as well as males, and the Korean economy.
    Keywords: overeducation,gender,gender inequality,incomelife satisfaction,Korea
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Yann Algan (Département d'économie); Fabrice Murtin (Economics department); Elizabeth Beasley; Kazuhito Higad (Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques (OCDE)); Claudia Senik (Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques)
    Abstract: We build models to estimate well-being in the United States based on changes in the volume of internet searches for different words, obtained from the Google Trends website. The estimated well-being series are weighted combinations of word groups that are endogenously identified to fit the weekly subjective well-being measures collected by Gallup Analytics for the United States or the biannual measures for the 50 states. Our approach combines theoretical underpinnings and statistical analysis, and the model we construct successfully estimates the out-of-sample evolution of most subjective well-being measures at a one-year horizon. Our analysis suggests that internet search data can be a complement to traditional survey data to measure and analyze the well-being of a population at high frequency and local geographic levels. We highlight some factors that are important for well-being, as we find that internet searches associated with job search, civic participation, and healthy habits consistently predict well-being across several models, datasets and use cases during the period studied.
    Date: 2019–01
  6. By: Kostadin Kushlev; Matthew R Leitao
    Abstract: As smartphones become ever more integrated in peoples lives, a burgeoning new area of research has emerged on their well-being effects. We propose that disparate strands of research and apparently contradictory findings can be integrated under three basic hypotheses, positing that smartphones influence well-being by (1) replacing other activities (displacement hypothesis), (2) interfering with concurrent activities (interference hypothesis), and (3) affording access to information and activities that would otherwise be unavailable (complementarity hypothesis). Using this framework, we highlight methodological issues and go beyond net effects to examine how and when phones boost versus hurt well-being. We examine both psychological and contextual mediators and moderators of the effects, thus outlining an agenda for future research.
    Date: 2020–05
  7. By: Olivier E. Malay (IRES & Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics, University of Louvain (UCLouvain))
    Abstract: In the past decades, new indicators have been developed to provide alternatives to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the macro level, and to financial indicators at the business level (businesses’ social and environmental indicators). However, these new indicators are poorly articulated between the business and the macro level. This paper aims to discuss the different possibilities of articulation that exist and outline a framework for a better micro-macro articulation. Firstly, we draw from the example of GDP and traditional business indicators by analysing the way they are articulated. Secondly, we review how sets of alternative indicators aim to articulate the macro and micro level by analysing indicators constructed around Gross National Happiness (GNH) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This research shows that two specific types of articulation exist between indicators at different levels, one referred to as the ‘accounting’ type and the other called the ‘conceptual’ type. Their strengths and limits will be discussed, as well as how they can be combined. Finally, recommendations will be provided on how to best articulate beyond GDP and business level indicators.
    Keywords: Sustainability indicators; Beyond GDP indicators; Business indicators; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Micro macro articulation; Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Gross National Happiness (GNH)
    JEL: E0 M41 N10 N40 Q56
    Date: 2020–04–01

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