nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒02‒01
seven papers chosen by

  1. Unemployment and subjective well-being By Suppa, Nicolai
  2. Measuring national happiness with music By Benetos, Emmanouil; Ragano, Alessandro; Sgroi, Daniel; Tuckwell, Anthony
  3. Can we be happier? By Richard Layard; George Ward
  4. Another brick on the Wall: On the Effects of Non-Contributory Pensions on Material and Subjective Well Being By Rosangela Bando; Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
  5. On a Japanese Subjective Well-Being Indicator Based on Twitter data By Tiziana Carpi; Airo Hino; Stefano Maria Iacus; Giuseppe Porro
  6. Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Cause People to Be Unhappy? Evidence from a Six-Country Survey By Nguyen, Cuong Viet
  7. Quality adjusted life years based on health and consumption: a summary wellbeing measure for cross‐sectoral economic evaluation By Cookson, Richard; Skarda, Ieva; Cotton-Barratt, Owen; Adler, Matthew; Asaria, Miqdad; Ord, Toby

  1. By: Suppa, Nicolai
    Abstract: This chapter summarizes the latest state of the art in economic research on unemployment and subjective well-being. Outcomes covered are general life satisfaction, affective well-being, and mental health. Special attention is paid to empirical evidence as obtained from popular panel data sets. Both prominent methodological issues and substantive themes are introduced. Topics covered include the estimation of non-pecuniary costs of unemployment, unemployment over time, the role of others' unemployment, spill-over effects, and re-employment, among others.
    Keywords: unemployment,subjective well-being,life satisfaction,happiness,mental health
    JEL: I31 J60
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Benetos, Emmanouil (Queen Mary University of London and The Alan Turing Institute.); Ragano, Alessandro (University College Dublin.); Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick, ESRC CAGE Centre and IZA Bonn.); Tuckwell, Anthony (University of Warwick and ESRC CAGE Centre.)
    Abstract: We propose a new measure for national happiness based on the emotional content of a country’s most popular songs. Using machine learning to detect the valence of the UK’s chart-topping song of each year since the 1970s, we find that it reliably predicts the leading survey-based measure of life satisfaction. Moreover, we find that music valence is better able to predict life satisfaction than a recently-proposed measure of happiness based on the valence of words in books (Hills et al., 2019). Our results have implications for the role of music in society, and at the same time validate a new use of music as a measure of public sentiment. JEL codes: N30, Z11, Z13
    Keywords: subjective wellbeing ; life satisfaction ; national happiness ; music information ; retrieval, machine learning. JEL Classification: N30 ; Z11 ; Z13
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Richard Layard; George Ward
    Abstract: If the goal for society is the greatest possible all-round happiness, how can that be achieved? Richard Layard and George Ward outline the evidence on what explains the huge variation in people's life satisfaction - and how we can boost wellbeing, both through public policy and in our jobs and private lives.
    Keywords: wellbeing,happiness
    Date: 2020–03
  4. By: Rosangela Bando; Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
    Abstract: Public expenditures on non-contributory pensions are equivalent to at least 1 percent of GDP in several countries in Latin America and is expected to increase. We explore the effect of non-contributory pensions on the well-being of the beneficiary population by studying the Pensiones Alimentarias program established by law in Paraguay, which targets older adults living in poverty. Households with a beneficiary increased their level of consumption by 44 percent. The program improved subjective well-being in 0.48 standard deviations. These effects are consistent with the findings of Bando, Galiani and Gertler (2020) and Galiani, Gertler and Bando (2016) in their studies on the non-contributory pension schemes in Peru and Mexico. Thus, we conclude that the effects of non-contributory pensions on well-being in Paraguay are comparable to those found for Peru and Mexico and add to the construction of external validity.
    JEL: I18 I3 I31
    Date: 2021–01
  5. By: Tiziana Carpi; Airo Hino; Stefano Maria Iacus; Giuseppe Porro
    Abstract: This study presents for the first time the SWB-J index, a subjective well-being indicator for Japan based on Twitter data. The index is composed by eight dimensions of subjective well-being and is estimated relying on Twitter data by using human supervised sentiment analysis. The index is then compared with the analogous SWB-I index for Italy, in order to verify possible analogies and cultural differences. Further, through structural equation models, a causal assumption is tested to see whether the economic and health conditions of the country influence the well-being latent variable and how this latent dimension affects the SWB-J and SWB-I indicators. It turns out that, as expected, the economic and health welfare is only one aspect of the multidimensional well-being that is captured by the Twitter-based indicator.
    Date: 2020–12
  6. By: Nguyen, Cuong Viet
    Abstract: Does the COVID-19 pandemic cause people unhappy? In this study, we use a recent survey from China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States to explore this question. We find a relatively large effect: a one per-mille point increase in the incidence of the COVID-19 cases increases the probability of unhappiness by 0.002. Possibly channels through which the COVID-19 pandemic causes unhappiness are negative effects on economic outcomes and social interactions of people. We also find that more disadvantaged people including poor, rural, female and older people are more likely to be affected by the pandemic.
    Keywords: COVID-19,happiness,life satisfaction,income loss,job loss
    JEL: I30 J18 J24
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Cookson, Richard; Skarda, Ieva; Cotton-Barratt, Owen; Adler, Matthew; Asaria, Miqdad; Ord, Toby
    Abstract: We introduce a summary wellbeing measure for economic evaluation of cross‐sectoral public policies with impacts on health and living standards. We show how to calculate period‐specific and lifetime wellbeing using quality‐adjusted life years based on widely available data on health‐related quality of life and consumption and normative assumptions about three parameters—minimal consumption, standard consumption, and the elasticity of the marginal value of consumption. We also illustrate how these three parameters can be tailored to the decision‐making context and varied in sensitivity analysis to provide information about the implications of alternative value judgments. As well as providing a general measure for cost‐effectiveness analysis and cost‐benefit analysis in terms of wellbeing, this approach also facilitates distributional analysis in terms of how many good years different population subgroups can expect to live under different policy scenarios.
    Keywords: cost effective; health; QALY; quality of life; wellbeing; SRF-2013-06-015; 205427/Z/16/Z
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2021–01–01

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