nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒06‒22
six papers chosen by

  1. The Welfare Consequences of Centralization: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment in Switzerland By Sarah Flèche
  2. 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
  3. Prioritarian evaluation of well-being with an ordinal variable By Suman Seth
  4. COVID-19, Lockdowns and Well-Being: Evidence from Google Trends By Abel Brodeur; Andrew Clark; Sarah Fleche; Nattavudh Powdthavee
  5. Impact of Child Subsidies on Child Health, Well-being and Parental Investment in Human Capital: Evidence from Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey 2011-2017 By Alex Proshin
  6. The gender gap in mental well-being during the Covid-19 outbreak: evidence from the UK By Etheridge, Ben; Spantig, Lisa

  1. By: Sarah Flèche (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre for Economic Performance - LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)
    Abstract: Many countries are reallocating tasks and powers to more central levels of government. To identify centralization's welfare effects, I use a difference-in-differences design that relies on time and cross-cantonal variation in the implementation of centralization reforms in Switzerland. I find that centralization provokes significant decreases in residents' life satisfaction. I identify one mechanism driving the effect, namely the procedural disutility that individuals experience from having less influence over the formulation of political decisions. This effect is largest among individuals with higher expected benefits from being involved in the political decision process, with detrimental effects on local political participation.
    Keywords: centralization,life satisfaction,procedural utility,political participation
    Date: 2020
  2. 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; income; life satisfaction; Korea.
    JEL: I26 I31 J0 N35
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: Suman Seth (University of Leeds; University of Leeds)
    Abstract: Additive social evaluation measures have been proposed and are commonly used to assess well-being with an ordinal variable. In this paper, we derive appropriate functional-form restrictions allowing additive social evaluation measures for ordinal variables to provide dif- ferent degrees of priority to those relatively worse-off. To assess the robustness of societal well-being comparisons to alternative choices of distribution-sensitive measures, we propose tractable stochastic dominance conditions for different degrees of priority.
    Keywords: Ordinal variables, measurement of well-being, Hammond transfer, inequality aversion, stochastic dominance, prioritarianism.
    JEL: I3 I31 D63
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: Abel Brodeur (University of Ottawa and IZA); Andrew Clark (Paris School of Economics - CNRS and IZA); Sarah Fleche (Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, EHESS, Centrale Marseille, Aix-Marseille School of Economics); Nattavudh Powdthavee (Warwick Business School and IZA)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led many governments to implement lockdowns. While lockdowns may help to contain the spread of the virus, they may result in substantial damage to population well-being. We use Google Trends data to test whether the lockdowns implemented in Europe and America led to changes in well-being related topic search terms. Using differences-in-differences and a regression discontinuity design to evaluate the causal effects of lockdown, we find a substantial increase in the search intensity for boredom in Europe and the US. We also found a significant increase in searches for loneliness, worry and sadness, while searches for stress, suicide and divorce on the contrary fell. Our results suggest that people's mental health may have been severely affected by the lockdown.
    Keywords: Boredom, COVID-19, Loneliness, Well-being.
    JEL: I12 I31 J22
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Alex Proshin (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)
    Abstract: This study evaluates the impact of introducing Maternity Capital (MC) program child subsidy of 250,000 Rub (7,150 euros or 10,000 USD, in 2007) for giving birth to /adopting 2nd and subsequent children since January 2007. The reform made it possible for eligible Russian families to allocate these funds to improve family housing conditions, to sponsor children education, or to invest them in mother's retirement fund. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of the MC claim eligibility on various child outcomes and household-level consumption patterns. Using data from representative Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey 2011-2017, I test regression discontinuity models and find no significant difference in health, educational and well-being outcomes between children raised in MC claim eligible and ineligible families. In addition, no such differences were found in terms of household-level dietary habits and preferences. The results are robust to different and functional, semi- and non-parametric RDD specifications.
    Keywords: child subsidy,child outcomes,Maternity Capital,regression discontinuity
    Date: 2020–05
  6. By: Etheridge, Ben; Spantig, Lisa
    Abstract: We document a decline in mental well-being after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. This decline is twice as large for women as for men. We seek to explain this gender gap by exploring gender differences in: family and caring responsibilities; financial and work situation; social engagement; health situation, and health behaviours, including exercise. Differences in family and caring responsibilities play some role, but the bulk of the gap is explained by social factors. Women reported more close friends before the pandemic than men, and increased loneliness after the pandemic's onset. Other factors are similarly distributed across genders and so play little role. Finally, we document larger declines in well-being for the young, of both genders, than the old.
    Date: 2020–06–08

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