nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2020‒11‒02
six papers chosen by

  1. The persistence of subjective wellbeing: permanent happiness, transitory misery? By L. WILNER
  2. “Regional borders, local unemployment and happiness” By Antonio Di Paolo; Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell
  3. What makes Moroccans happy: A micro-data study By Kamal Kasmaoui
  4. How do citizens perceive centralization reforms? Evidence from the merger of French regions By L. WILNER
  5. Weather affects mobility but not mental well-being during lockdown By Burdett, Ashley; Etheridge, Ben; Spantig, Lisa
  6. Studying continuously during an university course – with experiences from the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 By Andrén, Daniela; Pettersson, Nicklas

  1. By: L. WILNER (Insee - Crest)
    Abstract: This paper disentangles the roles played by state dependence and unobserved heterogeneity in self-assessed happiness. It estimates a dynamic nonlinear model of subjective well-being on longitudinal data, primarily from France, but also from Australia, Germany, and the UK. Life satisfaction is persistent over time, which static models ignore. This persistence is heterogeneous across individuals: it concerns mostly those already happy with their lives while, in contrast, unhappiness seems more transitory. The impact of initial conditions is large in comparison with usual determinants of happiness, or with state dependence.
    Keywords: Happiness; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; dynamic model; state dependence; correlated random effects; initial conditions.
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Antonio Di Paolo (AQR-IREA, University of Barcelona); Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell (Barcelona GSE, IZA, and MOVE)
    Abstract: In this paper we provide novel evidence on the effect of local unemployment rate on life satisfaction. We investigate how changes in unemployment rate in local administrative areas affect subjective well-being in Germany, allowing for the presence of spatial spillovers and considering the role played by regional borders. The results indicate that higher unemployment in the own local area of residence has a negative effect on satisfaction. Similarly, individuals’ happiness negatively correlates with the unemployment rate in contiguous local areas, but only if these areas are located in the same Federal State as the one where the individual lives. These results are robust to a variety of specifications, definitions, sample restrictions and estimation methods. Heterogeneity analysis reveals that these negative effects of local unemployment rate are larger for individuals with stronger ties to the job market and less secure jobs. This points to worries about own job situation as the main driver of individuals’ dislike for living in areas with high unemployment rate and tight labour markets. Consistently with this, the same asymmetric effect of local unemployment rate of surrounding areas is replicated when life satisfaction is replaced with a proxy for perceived job security as outcome variable.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, Local unemployment, Spatial spillovers, Neighbouring areas, Regional borders. JEL classification: I31, J64, J28, R23.
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Kamal Kasmaoui (IRMAPE - Institut de Recherche en Management et Pays Emergents - ESC Pau)
    Abstract: Using data from the latest wave (2010-2014) of the World Values Survey, we examine the relationship between subjective well-being and its micro-determinants in Morocco. We use life satisfaction as a measure of subjective well-being. Our results show that the main factors of subjective well-being in Morocco are: state of health, income scale, educational attainment and freedom of choice. Our empirical analysis shows that there is a slight difference in terms of results between the OLS and Ordered Probit approaches used in this work to estimate the satisfaction function.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being,Life satisfaction,Morocco
    Date: 2020–10–03
  4. By: L. WILNER (Insee - Crest)
    Abstract: Using the 2016 merger of French regions as a natural experiment, this paper adopts a difference-in-difference identification strategy to recover its causal impact on individual subjective wellbeing. No depressing effect is found despite increased centralization; life satisfaction has even increased in regions that were absorbed from economic and political viewpoints. The empirical evidence also suggests that local economic performance improved in the concerned regions, which includes a faster decline in the unemployment rate. In this setting, economic gains have likely outweighed cultural attachment to administrative regions.
    Keywords: Merger of regions; natural experiment; difference-in-difference; subjective wellbeing; centralization.
    JEL: H75 I31
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Burdett, Ashley; Etheridge, Ben; Spantig, Lisa
    Abstract: Mental well-being has declined during the Covid-19 pandemic in several developed countries, and particularly in the UK. Given the resurgence of the disease in western Europe during autumn 2020 and concurrently increasing restrictions, we investigate the possible effect on well-being of a winter lockdown. Using local variation during the spring lockdown in the UK, we found little effect of weather (temperature and rainfall) on well-being. This finding is despite a strong effect of weather on mobility in parks during the same period. Together, our results suggest a limited role for recreational mobility in maintaining well-being during this period. Our evidence suggests that winter weather will not exacerbate the well-being costs of lockdowns.
    Date: 2020–10–15
  6. By: Andrén, Daniela (Örebro University School of Business); Pettersson, Nicklas (Örebro University School of Business)
    Abstract: Online teaching and online learning have been studied for many years with focus on both the inputs and outputs, but seldom on outcomes such as the well-being of the students and/or teachers. Therefore, we already know that good outputs in forms of grades are strongly correlated with a clear and robust instructional design and planning, using a systematic model for design and development, but we still know very little about the well-being of the students and/or teachers. Our paper provides insights on the content and the functionalities of our sustainable educational approach (SEA) designed to both facilitate online learning and online collaboration and to motivate students to study and learn continuously, which proved to facilitate a smooth shift to online teaching and learning to stop the spreading of Coronavirus COVID-19 during Spring 2020. Using a sample of students registered for a course in elementary statistics during 2016-2020, we present empirical evidence for the positive short-term effects of using the SEA on the students’ grades and their individual well-being.
    Keywords: sustainable learning approach; student well-being; elementary statistics; Blackboard; COVID-19
    JEL: A22 I20 I21
    Date: 2020–10–19

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