nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒08‒24
five papers chosen by

  1. Sometimes your best just ain't good enough: The worldwide evidence on subjective well-being efficiency By Nikolova, Milena; Popova, Olga
  2. Feeling Richer and Happier? Self-Perceived Economic Welfare and Life Satisfaction: Evidence of ‘Easterlin Paradox' from Russian Longitudinal Data By Jin, Olivia S.; Wunnava, Phanindra V.
  3. The Fukushima Nuclear Accident and the Set of Values of the Japanese People (Japanese) By HIROTA Shigeru; YODO Masato; YANO Makoto
  4. Grandparenting and well-being of the elderly in China By Wang, Hao; Fidrmuc, Jan; Luo, Qi
  5. Graduation of Bhutan from the group of least developed countries: Potential implications and policy imperatives By Mohammad A. Razzaque

  1. By: Nikolova, Milena; Popova, Olga
    Abstract: Most of the studies on subjective well-being focus on the determinants of absolute life satisfaction or happiness levels. This paper asks an important but understudied question, namely, could countries achieve the same or even higher subjective well-being by using the same resources more efficiently? We provide the first country panel evidence on whether nations efficiently transform their endowments (income, education, and health) into subjective well- being and which factors influence the conversion efficiency. Using data on 91 countries from 2009-2014, we find that that well-being efficiency gains are possible worldwide. We show that poor labor market conditions as proxied by unemployment and involuntary part-time employment are associated with lower 'subjective well-being efficiency,' while social support, freedom, and the rule of law improve it. These findings are useful to policymakers in helping identify inefficiencies, reducing wasteful resource use, and developing policies that promote sustainable development and human well-being. Our results are robust to a battery of sensitivity checks and raise policy-relevant questions about the appropriate instruments to improve subjective well-being efficiency.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being,Efficiency analysis,Relative happiness,Comparative analysis
    JEL: I31 D60 O15 P52
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Jin, Olivia S.; Wunnava, Phanindra V.
    Abstract: Do you feel happier when you think you are richer? How does the perception of your own economic welfare affect your life satisfaction? This study examines subjective economic welfare and life satisfaction using the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey covering years 1994 through 2018. The study shows that those who perceive themselves to be better off are also more satisfied with their lives, even while controlling for income, unemployment and other demographic characteristics. This study aims to provide a possible explanation of the ‘Easterlin Paradox a phenomenon in which individuals ’happiness increases with income, yet an increase in income of the whole society does not necessarily increase the happiness of all (1974). The results from this study suggests that the way one perceives their own economic welfare is a significant determinant of life satisfaction, and that the subjective economic welfare may be the driver of the ‘Easterlin paradox.’ The study also suggests the importance of studying subjective economic welfare, with possible implications on income inequality. Our findings suggest that a society with high income inequality, in which a small proportion of the population earns a large proportion of society’s income, will have lower collective life satisfaction.
    Keywords: Easterlin Paradox,life satisfaction,Ordered Probit,self perceived economic welfare,subjective wellbeing,Russian longitudinal data
    JEL: D60 D63 I31
    Date: 2020
  3. By: HIROTA Shigeru; YODO Masato; YANO Makoto
    Abstract: This study analyzes the impact of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 on the set of values of the Japanese people. Using panel data for two time periods, we examined the differences in the relationships between different values depending on the subjects' distance from the plant, which can be used as a proxy for the perception of seriousness of the accident. The major findings are as follows: In general, those who place a greater emphasis on family relationships have higher current happiness, prospect of happiness in the future, and life satisfaction. Moreover, for those living closer to the plant, this tendency becomes stronger, which means that the experience of this serious disaster and the anxiety can strengthen family ties. We also find that those who are more health conscious tend to have higher prospect of future happiness and a greater sense of self-determination, but if they live closer to the plant, the effect is weaker. This tells us that the accident has a negative impact on future happiness and a sense of self-determination. In addition, if they live closer to the plant and trust the media, their life satisfaction tends to be lower. On the other hand, those who trust the local assemblies more have a sense of their future prospects of happiness being brighter if they live closer to the plant. This implies that local assemblies may have a greater effect on people's prospect on future happiness than the central government. Thus, it is clear that the nuclear power plant accident affected the set of values of Japanese people.
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: Wang, Hao; Fidrmuc, Jan; Luo, Qi
    Abstract: Grandparenting duties can affect the well-being of the elderly both positively and negatively. This paper disentangles the interactions between grandparenting, quality of life, and life satisfaction in China. Using a panel dataset of 3,205 respondents in three waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) in 2011, 2013, and 2015, we find that grandparents who look after grandchildren are less at risk of depression, receive more financial and in-kind transfers from their children, and report greater life satisfaction than grandparents who do not look after grandchildren. These benefits vary across gender and rural-urban status, however. The positive effect of grandparenting is driven mainly by the direct effect with negligible mediating effect attributable to better quality of life.
    JEL: D13 O18
    Date: 2020–08–09
  5. By: Mohammad A. Razzaque (Research Director, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI), and Chairman, Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID), Dhaka, Bangladesh)
    Abstract: Despite confronted with such unfavourable conditions as mountainous topography and being landlocked and susceptible to natural disasters, Bhutan has demonstrated a strong track record in sustaining economic growth and reducing poverty over the past two decades or so. Its progress in other socio-economic indicators as reflected in its success in achieving many of the 2000-15 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets is also worth noting. It is unique in approaching development by valuing collective happiness as the goal of governance. Bhutan successfully met the least development countries (LDCs) graduation criteria in two United Nations triennial reviews of 2015 and 2018 and is set to graduate from the group of LDCs in 2023. The transition involves loss of certain trade preferences and other international support measures. However, as the significance of these benefits has been quite limited for Bhutan, LDC graduation should not be a major cause for concern. While most LDC-specific privileges are related to international trade, Bhutan’s overwhelming dependence on trade with India is governed through a bilateral trade agreement insulted from LDC status. Overseas development assistance is important for Bhutan although its significance in the economy has fallen. Graduation should not have much implication for development financing as development partners do not use LDC status as an important factor in deciding about aid allocation. For Bhutan, dealing with general development challenges should remain important policy priorities. It has embraced a proactive policy stance for graduation by combining its eighth five-year development plan, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Gross National Happiness (GNH) indicators. Bhutan has huge potential for developing supply-side capacities and generate employment opportunities through further development of such sectors as tourism, agribusiness, ICT and hydropower. Major impediments for exerting dynamism in these sectors include lack of investment, infrastructure deficit, and poor connectivity. Diversification of economic activities is a challenge for which one priority attention should be on developing the private sector.
    Keywords: least developed countries, LDC graduation, smooth transition, Bhutan
    JEL: O14 O23 O56 P41 P45
    Date: 2020–05

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