nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒10‒12
five papers chosen by

  1. Parental Unemployment, Social Insurance and Child Well-Being across Countries By Hansen, Kerstin F.; Stutzer, Alois
  2. Trust, Happiness, and Pro-Social Behavior By Stefano Carattini; Matthias Roesti
  3. Happier with Vocational Education? By Brunello, Giorgio
  4. How did the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic affect teacher wellbeing? By Rebecca Allen; John Jerrim; Sam Sims
  5. How resilient are the European regions? Evidence from the societal response to the 2008 financial crisis By Benczur, Peter; Joossens, Elisabeth; Manca, Anna Rita; Menyhert, Balint; Zec, Slavica

  1. By: Hansen, Kerstin F. (University of Basel); Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel)
    Abstract: Based on a unique repeated cross-sectional data set of school-aged children in Europe, the Middle East and North America, we analyze how children's subjective well-being is related to parents' employment status, depending on the institutional context. We find that parental unemployment is strongly negatively related to children's life satisfaction across countries and years. The effect is thereby moderated by the generosity of unemployment benefits. Exploiting across- and within-country variation, our results suggest that a higher benefit replacement rate alleviates the negative effects of fathers', but not mothers', unemployment. We further test the robustness of our results considering unemployment benefits jointly with social work norms. While the buffering effect of unemployment insurance remains, the spillover effects of paternal unemployment seem to be more pronounced in environments with stricter social work norms.
    Keywords: unemployment, parental unemployment, children, child well-being, subjective well-being, unemployment insurance, social work norms
    JEL: D1 I3 J6
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Stefano Carattini; Matthias Roesti
    Abstract: This paper combines several large-scale surveys with different identification strategies to shed new light on the determinants of cooperative behavior. We provide evidence indicating that the well-being maximizing level of trust is above the income maximizing level. Higher trust is also linked to more cooperative and pro-social behaviors, including the private provision of global public goods such as climate change mitigation. Consistent with “warm glow” theories of pro-social behavior, our results show that individuals may enjoy being more cooperative than what would lead them to maximize their income, which is reflected in higher levels of well-being.
    Keywords: cooperation, generalized trust, pro-social behaviour, pro-environmental behavior, well-being
    JEL: Q50 H41 I31 D64
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova)
    Abstract: Using Italian data, I study the relationship between vocational education and self-reported happiness by focusing on individuals with at least a five-years high school degree, either vocational or academic. My instrumental variable strategy shows that individuals who have completed a vocational high school are more likely to report a high level of happiness than individuals who have completed an academic degree. I find no clear evidence that vocational graduates have a lower probability to be employed or earn lower wages than other graduates. I show that they live more than other graduates in small towns, where prices are lower and social life more rewarding, and have a less privileged parental background. Both facts may lead to more moderate aspirations and therefore contribute to higher happiness.
    Keywords: happiness, vocational education, Italy
    JEL: I21 D90
    Date: 2020–09
  4. By: Rebecca Allen (Teacher Tapp); John Jerrim (Social Research Institute, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Sam Sims (Centre for Education Policy and Equaliising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically disrupted schooling, placing additional demands on teachers. This paper uses unique longitudinal survey data to track changes in teacher wellbeing as the virus hit the UK. It documents sharp spikes in teachers' anxiety as schools were locked down and as announcements around reopening were made. Teachers in fee-paying schools displayed higher levels of anxiety during the summer term when schools were closed, most likely because they delivered more `live' online lessons than state school teachers. Head teachers experienced particularly large increases in anxiety and reported that they were more likely to leave the profession as a result of the experience.
    Keywords: teachers, wellbeing, mental health, COVID-19
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2020–09
  5. By: Benczur, Peter (European Commission - JRC); Joossens, Elisabeth (European Commission - JRC); Manca, Anna Rita (European Commission - JRC); Menyhert, Balint (European Commission - JRC); Zec, Slavica (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: This report proposes a new approach for measuring regional resilience that goes beyond the assessment of traditional economic dimensions. It defines resilience as the societal ability to preserve and generate well-being in the presence of shocks and persistent structural changes in a sustainable manner, without hindering the wellbeing of future generations. The empirical exercise concentrates on the 2008 financial and economic crisis and the subsequent overall response of EU regions to the economic shock. We implement a three-step methodology:(i) select an extensive list of economic and non-economic variables that span the entire production process of societal wellbeing; (ii) compute regional resilience indicators based on the joint dynamic response of these variables to the crisis; (iii) identify those pre-crisis characteristics that differentiate resilient regions from the non-resilient ones. Our analysis reveals substantial heterogeneity in resilience across the European regions. It confirms the importance of expanding the measurement strategy to a broader list of subjective and objective well-being measures (like social inclusion, social capital, and quality of life). We show that observed resilience performance is highly dependent on the time horizon: resilience rankings of European regions are markedly different in the short and long run. The analysis of the recovery time provides additional information on the strength and weaknesses of regions, and it is largely dependent on the specific dimensions (variables) considered. Finally, our results highlight that certain country-level and regional characteristics, such as private sector credit flows and the gender employment gap, are strong predictors of resilient regional behaviour after the crisis.
    Keywords: regional resilience, societal well-being, impact, recovery, medium run, bounce forward, financial and economic crisis, absorption, adaptation, transformation
    JEL: C50 I31 R11
    Date: 2020–09

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