nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒04‒19
three papers chosen by

  1. Gender Differences in Reduced Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic – the Role of Working Conditions By Zoch, Gundula; Bächmann, Ann-Christin; Vicari, Basha
  2. Measuring National Life Satisfaction with Music By Benetos, Emmanouil; Ragano, Alessandro; Sgroi, Daniel; Tuckwell, Anthony
  3. Curtailment of Civil Liberties and Subjective Life Satisfaction By Lisa Windsteiger; Michael Ahlheim; Kai A. Konrad

  1. By: Zoch, Gundula; Bächmann, Ann-Christin; Vicari, Basha (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "The COVID-19 pandemic has had very different impacts on the employment and family work conditions of men and women. Thus, it might have jeopardised the slow and hard-won reduction of gender inequalities in the division of labour achieved in recent decades. Using data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) and its supplementary COVID-19 web survey for Germany, we investigate the relationship between working conditions and gender differences in subjective well-being during the first months of the pandemic. Therefore, we systematically consider the household context by distinguishing between adults with and without young children. The results from multivariate regression models accounting for pre-corona satisfaction reveal a decline in all respondents' life satisfaction, particularly among women and mothers with young children. However, the greater reduction in women's well-being cannot be linked to systematic differences in working conditions throughout the pandemic. Kitagawa-Oaxaca-Blinder counterfactual decompositions confirm this conclusion. However, further robustness checks suggest that women's societal concerns and greater loneliness partly explain the remaining gender differences during the first months of the crisis. From a general perspective, our results suggest important gender differences in social life and psychological distress in spring 2020, which are likely to become more pronounced as the crisis unfolds." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    JEL: I31 J22 J28 J13
    Date: 2021–04–06
  2. By: Benetos, Emmanouil (Queen Mary, University of London); Ragano, Alessandro (The Alan Turing Institute); Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick); Tuckwell, Anthony (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: National life satisfaction is an important way to measure societal well-being and since 2011 has been used to judge the effectiveness of government policy across the world. However, there is a paucity of historical data making limiting long-run comparisons with other data. We construct a new measure based on the emotional content of music. We first trained a machine learning model using 191 different audio features embedded within music and use this model to construct a long-run Music Valence Index derived from chart-topping songs. This index correlates strongly and significantly with survey-based life satisfaction and outperforms an equivalent text-based measure. Our results have implications for the role of music in society, and validate a new use of music as a long-run measure of public sentiment.
    Keywords: historical subjective wellbeing, life satisfaction, music, sound data, language, big data
    JEL: C8 N3 N4 O1 D6
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Lisa Windsteiger; Michael Ahlheim; Kai A. Konrad
    Abstract: This analysis focuses on the freedom suspension policy choices in the context of the 2020 pandemic crisis in March and April 2020 in Germany. It uses reactance as a measure of the intensity of a preference for freedom to explain the variation in the observed subjective life satisfaction loss. The pandemic crisis is likely to reduce life satisfaction for a number of reasons, but suspension of basic freedom rights emerges as an important factor. Differences in reactance from the lowest to the highest decile lead to an additional loss in subjective life satisfaction of 0.2 points, which is roughly 17% of the average loss in life satisfaction.
    Date: 2020–05

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