nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒09‒14
nine papers chosen by

  1. Does the Dream of Home Ownership Rest upon Biased Beliefs? A Test Based on Predicted and Realized Life Satisfaction By Odermatt, Reto; Stutzer, Alois
  2. Occupant Well-Being and House Values By Richard H. Rijnks; Stephen Sheppard
  3. Employment Vulnerability, Wages, and Subjective Well-Being in Kyrgyzstan By Kamalbek Karymshakov Author-Name: Burulcha Sulaimanova Author-Name: Marcelo Bergolo
  4. Ageing, Health, Loneliness and Wellbeing By Tani, Massimiliano; Cheng, Zhiming; Piracha, Matloob; Wang, Ben
  5. Spousal concordance in joint and separate households: Survey evidence from Nepal By Ambler, Kate; Doss, Cheryl; Kieran, Caitlin; Passarelli, Simone
  6. Welfare while working: How does the life satisfaction approach help to explain job search behavior? By Wolf, Tobias
  7. Mobile phone use and subjective well-being: Implications for responsible research and innovation By Alexandra Palm
  8. Parental Well-Being in Times of COVID-19 in Germany By Huebener, Mathias; Waights, Sevrin; Spiess, C. Katharina; Siegel, Nico A.; Wagner, Gert G.
  9. Improving Management through Worker Evaluations: Evidence from Auto Manufacturing By Jing Cai; Shing-Yi Wang

  1. By: Odermatt, Reto (University of Basel); Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel)
    Abstract: The belief that home ownership makes people happy is probably one of the most widespread intuitive theories of happiness. However, whether it is accurate is an open question. Based on individual panel data, we explore whether home buyers systematically overestimate the life satisfaction associated with living in their privately owned property. To identify potential prediction errors, we compare people's forecasts of their life satisfaction in five years' time with their current realizations. We find that, while moving into a purchased dwelling is associated with higher life satisfaction, people systematically overestimate the long-term satisfaction gain. The misprediction therein is driven by people who follow extrinsically-oriented life goals, highlighting biased beliefs regarding own preferences as a relevant mechanism in the prediction errors.
    Keywords: beliefs, home ownership, housing tenure, life goals, life satisfaction, projection bias, subjective well-being, intuitive theories of happiness, utility prediction
    JEL: D12 D83 D90 I31 R20
    Date: 2020–07
  2. By: Richard H. Rijnks (Univesity of Groningen); Stephen Sheppard (Williams College)
    Abstract: Recent research indicates that the subjective evaluation of well-being increases when conditions of housing are improved. This suggests that subjective well-being might serve as a useful proxy for characteristics of a home or neighbourhood that are relevant to an occupant, but unobserved by the analyst. In this paper, we assess this idea through analysis of residential property valuation, using a sample of 95,413 respondents matched to house sales for 2000 to 2012 in the North of the Netherlands. Using a spatial econometric approach, we find a significant and positive association between individual and regional subjective well-being and house prices. This suggests that house buyers are willing to pay more for, or that house sellers require greater compensation to sell and move from, properties and areas in which the resident experiences greater happiness. Our study provides the first estimates of the importance of these effects.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being, house price, hedonic model
    JEL: D91 R2 R3
    Date: 2020–09–01
  3. By: Kamalbek Karymshakov Author-Name: Burulcha Sulaimanova Author-Name: Marcelo Bergolo
    Abstract: This research examined the impact of employment vulnerability on wages and subjective well-being in Kyrgyzstan with special reference to gender-based differences. Analyses were based on panel data for 2010-2013 and 2016 from the “Life in Kyrgyzstan†household survey. A panel data fixed-effects model with Instrumental Variable within the Lewbel (2012) method was applied to estimate an earnings equation. Results of estimations of both earnings and of subjective well-being indicated increased employment vulnerability. Employment in vulnerable jobs was not compensated at a higher rate. Analysis of subjective well-being by quintile groups of earnings showed that, for both men and women, women’s employment vulnerability was most evident in groups with the lowest earnings. Women experienced this negative effect more severely. Given these empirical findings, government labour-market policy should not focus on increasing employment alone but should also address the issue of vulnerability of employment, improvement of working conditions, and expanding the employment of women.
    Keywords: Employment vulnerability, subjective well-being, wage
    JEL: J01 J21 I31
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Tani, Massimiliano (University of New South Wales); Cheng, Zhiming (University of New South Wales); Piracha, Matloob (University of Kent); Wang, Ben (Macquarie University, Sydney)
    Abstract: Older people experience high rates of depression and suicide, yet they make a positive net contribution to the economy through activities such as employment, volunteering, and looking after grandchildren. The wellbeing of older people is therefore important not only on moral but also economic grounds. To understand which policies will facilitate the overall wellbeing, we use Australian data to explore the determinants of wellbeing and loneliness of natives and migrants in the 65-85 age group, taking into account the extent to which social networks contribute to the wellbeing and possible reduction in loneliness. Results show that social networks have a strong positive effect on wellbeing and a strong effect in reducing loneliness among both natives and migrants. The positive effect of social networks is stronger for females than males.
    Keywords: ageing, wellbeing, loneliness, social networks
    JEL: I31 J14
    Date: 2020–07
  5. By: Ambler, Kate; Doss, Cheryl; Kieran, Caitlin; Passarelli, Simone
    Abstract: Using data from Nepal, we analyze patterns of concordance between spouses on survey questions regarding asset ownership and decision making separately for households in which a respondent couple lives with the husband’s parents and those in which they do not. We consider concordance regarding both the roles of women respondents and the roles of people other than the respondent couple. We find that discordance regarding women’s roles is both substantial and systematic; women are much more likely than men to report women’s participation in asset ownership and decision making, and this qualitative pattern is similar across household types. Regarding the role of others, the modal response in joint households is concordance that others own assets and make decisions. However, women are more likely than men to acknowledge this role of others. Next, we find that spousal concordance that women have a role, and wives reporting they have a role while their husbands say that they do not, are both correlated with some improved measures of well-being. In households with in-laws present, concordance that others are involved is correlated with worse outcomes for women. These results highlight that spousal concordance is not necessarily indicative of women's well-being, especially in joint households.
    Keywords: NEPAL; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; households; assets; ownership; gender; women; decision making; measurement; role of women; intrahousehold; intergenerational; spousal concordance
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Wolf, Tobias
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of life satisfactioninthe labor market behavior of workers receiving welfare benefits while working. Welfare stigma and other hard-to-observe factors may affect outcomes as on-the-job search and the duration until leaving welfare status. We utilize life satisfaction to track such factors. The German PASS-ADIAB dataset combines administrative process data with individual survey data offering a rich database that allows conditioning on changes in household income, time-stable individual traits, employment biographies and local labor market effects.Given a broad set of further covariates, we find that life satisfaction of in-work benefit recipientsis negatively associated with job search, whereas the duration until the exit from welfare is hardly affected. Focusing on heterogeneity among workers suggests that life satisfactions' role for choice depends on the institutional setting, rendering marginally employed workers specifically prone to life satisfaction.
    Keywords: life satisfaction,job search,in-work benefits,welfare stigma
    JEL: J60 J62 I31 I38
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Alexandra Palm (TIK, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: How does mobile phone use affect subjective well-being, and what are the implications of this for responsible research and innovation (RRI)? Previous studies generally find negative associations between mobile phone use and users’ well-being. This paper presents novel evidence of this question based on a new survey dataset for a large representative sample of Norwegian adults. The paper highlights three findings. First, the intensity of mobile phone use per se is not significantly associated with subjective well-being. Second, communication features of mobile phones such as private phone calls and text messaging are positively associated with subjective well-being. Third, network and communication applications (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) are negatively associated with the subjective well-being of young adults. The paper discusses implications of these empirical results in terms of RRI, arguing that policy makers and industry actors should consider individual users’ well-being as a central dimension to assess objectives and impacts of innovation processes in digital technologies.
    Date: 2020–08
  8. By: Huebener, Mathias (DIW Berlin); Waights, Sevrin (DIW Berlin); Spiess, C. Katharina (DIW Berlin); Siegel, Nico A. (Infratest Dimap); Wagner, Gert G. (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)
    Abstract: We examine the differential effects of Covid-19 and related restrictions on individuals with dependent children in Germany. We specifically focus on the role of school and day care center closures, which may be regarded as a "disruptive exogenous shock" to family life. We make use of a novel representative survey of parental well-being collected in May and June 2020 in Germany, when schools and day care centers were closed but while other measures had been relaxed and new infections were low. In our descriptive analysis, we compare well-being during this period with a pre-crisis period for different groups. In a difference-in-differences design, we compare the change for individuals with children to the change for individuals without children, accounting for unrelated trends as well as potential survey mode and context effects. We find that the crisis lowered the relative well-being of individuals with children, especially for individuals with young children, for women, and for persons with lower secondary schooling qualifications. Our results suggest that public policy measures taken to contain Covid-19 can have large effects on family well-being, with implications for child development and parental labor market outcomes.
    Keywords: well-being, COVID-19, Corona Virus, day care closures, school closures, COMPASS, SOEP
    JEL: D1 H12 H75 I2
    Date: 2020–07
  9. By: Jing Cai; Shing-Yi Wang
    Abstract: Using a randomized experiment with an automobile manufacturing firm in China, we measure the effects of letting workers evaluate their managers on worker and firm outcomes. In the treatment teams, workers evaluate their supervisors monthly. We find that providing feedback leads to significant reductions in worker turnover and increases in team-level productivity. In addition, workers report higher levels of happiness and positive mood. The evidence suggests that these results are driven by changes in the behavior of managers and an overall better relationship between managers and workers.
    JEL: D22 O1
    Date: 2020–08

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