nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒05‒24
eight papers chosen by

  1. Happiness, Domains of Life Satisfaction, Perceptions, and Valuation Differences across Genders By Stefani Milovanska-Farrington; Stephen Farrington
  2. Parental Gender Stereotypes and Student Wellbeing in China By Chu, Shuai; Zeng, Xiangquan; Zimmermann, Klaus F
  3. Happiness and Migration By Hendriks, Martijn; Burger, Martijn J.
  4. Parents under Stress - Evaluating Emergency Childcare Policies during the First Covid-19 Lockdown in Germany By Simone Schüller; Hannah S. Steinberg
  5. Spatial analysis of subjective well-being in Japan By Anqi Li; Takaki Sato; Yasumasa Matsuda
  6. Widows’ Time, Time Stress and Happiness: Adjusting to Loss By Hamermesh, Daniel S.; Myck, Michal; Oczkowska, Monika
  7. The Impacts of Working from Home on Individual Health and Well-being By Manuel Denzer; Philipp Grunau
  8. Effects of Mandatory Military Service on Wages and Other Socioeconomic Outcomes By Puhani, Patrick A.; Sterrenberg, Margret K.

  1. By: Stefani Milovanska-Farrington; Stephen Farrington
    Abstract: Happiness is strongly associated with goal attainment, productivity, mental health and suicidal risk. This paper examines the effect of satisfaction with areas of life on subjective well-being (SWB), the importance of relative perceptions compared to absolute measures in predicting overall life satisfaction, and differences in the domains of life which have the greatest impact on happiness of men and women. The findings suggest that relative perceptions have a large statistically significant effect on SWB. Satisfaction with family life and health have the largest while satisfaction with income has the lowest impact on overall SWB for both genders. Work satisfaction is more important for men than for women, whereas partner’s happiness is more valued by female respondents. Satisfaction with household compared to personal income has a larger effect on SWB in all subsamples except employed women. Understanding the perceived and factual determinants of happiness has urgent implications in the context of the detrimental impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on SWB.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, satisfaction with areas of life, perceptions, values, gender differences
    JEL: D60 I31 J16 D03
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Chu, Shuai; Zeng, Xiangquan; Zimmermann, Klaus F
    Abstract: Non-cognitive abilities are supposed to affect student's educational performance, who are challenged by parental expectations and norms. Parental gender stereotypes are shown to strongly decrease student wellbeing in China. Students are strongly more depressed, feeling blue, unhappy, not enjoying life and sad with no male-female differences while parental education does not matter.
    Keywords: gender identity; gender stereotypes; mental health; non-cognitive abilities; student wellbeing; subjective wellbeing
    JEL: I12 I26 I31 J16
    Date: 2020–11
  3. By: Hendriks, Martijn; Burger, Martijn J.
    Abstract: A subjective well-being angle has emerged as an important new frontier to advance the understanding of the causes and consequences of migration. The purpose of this chapter is to organize and take stock of this emerging literature on the bi-directional relationship between migration and happiness by reviewing the available literature from a global perspective. The literature review covers both international migration and internal migration and considers the outcomes of various stakeholders (migrants, hosting communities, and family members left behind). The literature documents ample evidence that happiness plays an important role in migration decisions, with relatively unhappy people moving to happier places, even after accounting for standard predictors of migration. In some contexts, internal migrants experience a pre-migration happiness dip. Most international migrants gain happiness from migration, hosting populations tend to experience a mixed but small impact, and family members staying behind generally experience a positive impact on evaluative well-being but not emotional well-being. However, the outcomes are strongly context-dependent and important differences exist between individuals. The impact of migration is much smaller for internal migrants. Overall, the current evidence suggests that migration contributes to a happier world because of the generally positive effects on migrants and the marginal effects on hosting communities.
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Simone Schüller; Hannah S. Steinberg
    Abstract: What are the effects of school and daycare facility closures during the COVID-19 pandemic on parental well-being and parenting behavior? Can emergency childcare policies during a pandemic mitigate increases in parental stress and negative parenting behavior? To answer these questions, this study leverages cross-state variation in emergency childcare eligibility rules during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Germany and draws on unique data from the 2019 and 2020 waves of the German AID:A family panel. Employing a DDD and IV approach we identify medium-term ITT and LATE effects and find that while emergency care policies did not considerably affect parents’ life satisfaction, partnership satisfaction or mental health, they have been effective in diminishing harsh parenting behavior. We find partly gendered effects, specifically on paternal parenting behavior. Our results suggest that decreasing parental well-being likely constitutes a general effect of the pandemic, whereas the observed increase in negative and potentially harmful parenting behavior is largely directly caused by school and daycare facility closures.
    Keywords: parental well-being, harsh parenting, Covid-19, policy evaluation, school and daycare closures, AID:A, difference-in-difference-in-differences, instrumental variable estimation
    JEL: D04 D13 I18 I31 J13
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Anqi Li; Takaki Sato; Yasumasa Matsuda
    Abstract: This study investigates subjective well-being in Japan using a survey of 22,539 respondents in 46 prefectures in December 2019. We applied a Bayesian hierarchical model to the self-reported well-being respondents, supposing that well-being is decomposed into regional and individual factors. As a result, regional heteroscedasticity and individual factors are identified jointly, which clarifies the interesting features of Japanese subjective well-being. From the identified regional factors in prefectural levels, we find that coastal areas damaged by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear plant accidents have the lowest subjective well-being. This finding suggests that residents in the regions have not recovered and require additional mental and physical public support.
    Date: 2021–05
  6. By: Hamermesh, Daniel S. (Barnard College); Myck, Michal (Centre for Economic Analysis, CenEA); Oczkowska, Monika (Centre for Economic Analysis, CenEA)
    Abstract: By age 77 a plurality of women in wealthy Western societies are widows. Comparing older (aged 70+) married women to widows in the American Time Use Survey 2003-18 and linking the data to the Current Population Survey allow inferring the short- and longer-term effects of an arguably exogenous shock—husband’s death—and measuring the paths of adjustment of time use to it. Widows differ from otherwise similar married women, especially from married women with working husbands, by cutting back on home production, mainly food preparation and housework, mostly by engaging in less of it each day, not doing it less frequently. French, Italian, German, and Dutch widows behave similarly. Widows are alone for 2/3 of the time they had spent with their spouses, with a small increase in time with friends and relatives shortly after becoming widowed. Evidence from the European countries shows that widows feel less time stress than married women but are also less satisfied with their lives. Following older women in 18 European countries before and after a partner’s death shows that widowhood reduces their feelings of time pressure. U.S. longitudinal data demonstrate that it increases feelings of depression. Most of the adjustment of time use in response to widowhood occurs within one year of the husband’s death; but feelings of reduced time pressure and of depression persist much longer.
    Keywords: time use, marital status, time stress, life satisfaction, depression
    JEL: J22 J14 I31
    Date: 2021–04
  7. By: Manuel Denzer (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz); Philipp Grunau (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))
    Abstract: Using a novel German linked-employer-employee dataset, we provide unique evidence about the consequences of working from home (WfH) on individual health and well-being. During the recent pandemic, this locational flexibility measure has been used extensively to promote health by hampering the spread of the virus and to secure jobs. However, its direct theoretical ambiguous effects on health and well-being as characterized by different potential channels have barely been empirically investigated to date despite WfH’s increasing popularity in the years before the pandemic. To address concerns about selection into WfH, our analysis relies on an identification strategy ruling out confounding effects by time-invariant unobservable variables. Moreover, we explain the remaining (intertemporal) variation in the individual WfH status by means of an instrumental variable strategy using variation in equipment with mobile devices among establishments. We find that subjective measures of individual health are partly affected by WfH, whereas no corresponding effects are present for an objective measure of individual health. In terms of individual well-being, we find that WfH leads to considerable improvement. By addressing the potential heterogeneity in our effect of interest, we find that men, middle-aged individuals and those commuting to different municipalities particularly benefit from WfH.
    Keywords: working from home, health, well-being
    JEL: C26 I10 I31 O33
    Date: 2021–04–30
  8. By: Puhani, Patrick A. (Leibniz University of Hannover); Sterrenberg, Margret K. (Leibniz University of Hannover)
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the effects of mandatory military service by exploiting the post-cold war decrease in the need for soldiers causing a substantial number of potential conscripts not to be drafted into the German military. Specifically, using previously unavailable information on degree of fitness in the military's medical exam as a control variable, we test for the effects of mandatory military service on wages; employment; marriage/partnership status; and satisfaction with work, financial situation, health, family life, friends, and life in general. We find almost no statistically significant effects of this 6 to 9 month career interruption for young German men, with the exception of hourly wage, which shows a negative point estimate of -15 percent with a large confidence interval of between -30 and -0.2 percent. This interval estimate is consistent with previous findings for the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
    Keywords: career breaks, conscription, wages, employment, life satisfaction, natural experiment
    JEL: J12 J24 J47
    Date: 2021–05

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