nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒03‒22
four papers chosen by

  1. What Do Happiness Data Mean? Theory and Survey Evidence By Daniel J. Benjamin; Jakina Debnam Guzman; Marc Fleurbaey; Ori Heffetz; Miles Kimball
  2. On Well-Being of Households in Japan and Post-Disaster Reinstatement By Shukla, Jyoti; Yukutake, Norifumi; Tiwari, Piyush
  3. Who got the Brexit blues? The Effect of Brexit on Subjective Wellbeing in the UK By Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Plagnol, Anke C.; Frijters, Paul; Clark, Andrew E.
  4. The Impact of Gender Inequality and Environmental Degradation on Human Well-Being in The Case of Pakistan: A Time Series Analysis By Ali, Amjad; Audi, Marc; Bibi, Chan; Roussel, Yannick

  1. By: Daniel J. Benjamin (UCLA / NBER); Jakina Debnam Guzman (Amherst College); Marc Fleurbaey (Paris School of Economics); Ori Heffetz (Cornell University / The Hebrew University of Jerusalem / NBER); Miles Kimball (University of Colorado Boulder / NBER)
    Abstract: What utility notion do self-reported well-being (SWB) questions measure? We clarify the assumptions that underlie existing applications regarding the (i) life domains, (ii) time horizons, and (iii) other-regarding preferences captured by SWB data. We ask survey respondents what they had in mind regarding (i)–(iii) when answering commonly used—life satisfaction, happiness, ladder—and new SWB questions. Respondents put most weight on the present and on themselves—but not enough to interpret SWB data as measuring notions of flow utility and self-centered utility. We find differences across SWB questions and across sociodemographic groups. We outline actionable suggestions for SWB researchers.
    Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, subjective well-being, survey questions
    JEL: D69 D90 I31
    Date: 2021–02–01
  2. By: Shukla, Jyoti (Asian Development Bank Institute); Yukutake, Norifumi (Asian Development Bank Institute); Tiwari, Piyush (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: There are multidimensional short- and long-term impacts of disasters (natural and man-made) on human well-being. Despite this, restitution strategies have predominantly relied on asset-based approaches to measure disaster losses and craft such strategies. There is a growing realization that for comprehensive restitution of disaster-affected households, it would be necessary to take account of multiple dimensions of households' well-being and reconstruct all that constitutes it. When viewed from Sen’s “capability approach,” reconstitution of well-being equates to rebuilding households’ central capabilities that are necessary for a decent quality of life, e.g., having shelter security, food security, physical and mental health, and the like. With the intention of designing a “resilient compensation mechanism” that reinstalls the “capabilities” of households recovering from losses post-disaster, we identify essential determinants of households’ well-being that will be the focal point of post-disaster compensation or recovery mechanisms. We use Japanese household panel survey data (JHPS/KHPS) wherein households report their satisfaction with overall life and its five dimensions, namely housing, leisure, health, income, and employment. Further, we identify the main factors (including resources, personal characteristics and familial characteristics of households) that constitute households’ satisfaction across each of the five dimensions. Findings suggest that all five dimensions make significant and positive contributions to overall well-being, with leisure and health as the most dominant contributors followed by income, housing, and employment (in that order). Based on these findings, we argue for designing a “resilient compensation mechanism” with a combination of monetary and nonmonetary strategies that assist affected households in reconstructing capabilities across multiple dimensions of life.
    Keywords: disaster resilience; resilient compensation/restitution; capability approach; subjective well-being
    JEL: I31 P25 Q54
    Date: 2021–01–28
  3. By: Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Plagnol, Anke C.; Frijters, Paul; Clark, Andrew E.
    Abstract: We use the 2015–16 waves of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society) to look at subjective wellbeing around the time of the June 2016 EU membership Referendum in the UK (Brexit). We employ measures of both evaluative and affective wellbeing, namely life satisfaction and mental distress, respectively. We find that those reporting lower life satisfaction in 2015 were more likely to express a preference for leaving the EU in 2016, while mental distress was less predictive of pro-Brexit attitudes. Post-Referendum, those with Leave preferences enjoyed an increase in life satisfaction but there was no change in average life satisfaction in the overall sample. In contrast, the average level of mental distress increased in the sample post- Referendum, with no significant difference between those preferring to remain in or to leave the EU. We test the robustness of our results by considering a number of potential caveats, such as sample selection, unobserved individual fixed effects and the interval between interviews. Overall, our results suggest that levels of subjective wellbeing may be both a cause and a result of the 2016 Brexit vote.
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2019–07–01
  4. By: Ali, Amjad; Audi, Marc; Bibi, Chan; Roussel, Yannick
    Abstract: This study has investigated the impact of gender inequality and environmental degradation on human well-being in the case of Pakistan from 1980 to 2019. Augmented Dickey-Fuller unit root test is used for stationarity of the variables. The Autoregressive Distributed Lag Model (ARDL) is used for co-integration among the variables of the model. The results show that gender inequality has a negative and significant impact on human well-being in Pakistan, while gender equality encourages human well-being. The calculated results show that there is a positive, but insignificant relationship between environmental degradation and human well-being in the case of Pakistan. The estimated results show that economic misery has a negative and significant impact on human well-being in the case of Pakistan. The estimated results show that economic growth has a positive and significant relationship with human well-being in Pakistan. Based on estimated results, it is concluded that gender equality, economic misery, and economic growth are playing an important role in determining human well-being in Pakistan. Therefore, to improve human well-being, the government must reduce gender inequality and economic misery while enhancing in parallel economic growth.
    Keywords: gender inequality, environmental degradation, human well-being
    JEL: J1 O10 Q0
    Date: 2021–02

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