nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒05‒31
eight papers chosen by

  1. The effect of the Brexit referendum result on subjective well-being* By Kavetsos, Georgios; Kawachi, Ichiro; Kyriopoulos, Ilias; Vandoros, Sotiris
  2. Parents under Stress – Evaluating Emergency Childcare Policies during the First COVID-19 Lockdown in Germany By Schüller, Simone; Steinberg, Hannah S.
  3. Italy’s parabolas of GDP and subjective well-being: the role of education By Pugno, Maurizio
  4. The Long-run Effects of Housingon Well-Being By Andrew E. Clark; Luis Diaz-Serrano
  5. Analyzing Matching Patterns in Marriage:Theory and Application to Italian Data. By Pierre-André Chiappori; Edoardo Ciscato; Carla Guerriero
  6. Death and Destitution: The Global Distribution of Welfare Losses from the COVID-19 Pandemic By Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Sterck, Olivier; Mahler, Daniel Gerszon; Decerf, Benoit
  7. Valuing Unpaid Care Work in Bhutan By Suh , Jooyeoun; Dorji, Changa; Mercer-Blackman, Valerie; Hampel-Milagrosa, Aimee
  8. How does inquisitiveness matter for generativity and happiness? By Junichi Hirose; Koji Kotani

  1. By: Kavetsos, Georgios; Kawachi, Ichiro; Kyriopoulos, Ilias; Vandoros, Sotiris
    Abstract: We study the effect of the Brexit referendum result on subjective well-being in the United Kingdom. Using a quasi-experimental design, we find that the referendum’s outcome led to an overall decrease in subjective well-being in the United Kingdom compared to a control group. The effect is driven by individuals who hold an overall positive image of the European Union and shows little signs of adaptation during the Brexit transition period. Economic expectations are potential mechanisms of this effect.
    Keywords: Brexit; election; happiness; referendum; subjective well-being
    JEL: D72 I30 I31 I38
    Date: 2021–04–01
  2. By: Schüller, Simone (German Youth Institute (DJI)); Steinberg, Hannah S. (German Youth Institute (DJI))
    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: 2021–05
  3. By: Pugno, Maurizio
    Abstract: The rise and decline of the Italian economy over the past 60 years form a surprisingly regular parabola, if the main European partner economies are taken as benchmark, so that its vertex equal to 1 means that Italy completely caught-up Europe around the 1990s. This implies that, in order to repeat that experience of catching-up, Italy needs to grow at extraordinary rates, which are not on the horizon. The paper shows that the Italians’ morale is even in worse conditions and explores why. The analysis firstly focuses on subjective well-being (and other subjective indices), thus finding another parabola and with more worrying features than the economic parabola. Then it explores the role of education in shaping the long-run dynamics of both the economy and subjective well-being. As a first result, the paradox of the excess supply of educated workers in Italy becomes clearer. The second result shows how poor education weakened Italians’ ability to fully enjoy their income, in particular after the shocks of the 1990s. An education policy thus becomes urgent to provide both specialized skills for production and general skills for people’s lives, thus definitively reinforcing the recent weak rebound in educational levels.
    Keywords: economic decline, subjective well-being, education, Italy
    JEL: I25 I31 J24 O15 O52
    Date: 2021–05–30
  4. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Luis Diaz-Serrano (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Universidad Antonio de Nebrija)
    Abstract: This paper provides one of the first testsof adaptation tothe complete set ofresidential transitions. We use long-run SOEP panel data and consider the impact of all housing transitions, whether or not they involvea change in housing tenureor geographical movement, on both life satisfaction and housing satisfaction. Controlling for individual characteristics and housing quality, some residential transitionsaffect life satisfactiononly little, while all transitions have a significant effect on housing satisfaction. This latter is particularly large for renters who become homeowners and move geographically,and for renters who move without changing tenure status. Regarding housing satisfaction, we find very little evidence of adaptation even after five years. Losing homeowner status is the only transition that produces lower housing satisfaction, and here the effect seems to become even more negative over time.
    Keywords: Housing,Adaptation,well-being,SOEP
    Date: 2021–05
  5. By: Pierre-André Chiappori (Columbia University); Edoardo Ciscato (KU Leuven); Carla Guerriero (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF)
    Abstract: WSocial scientists have long been interested in marital homogamy and its relationship with inequality. However, measuring homogamy is not straightforward, particularly when one is interested in assessing marital sorting based on multiple traits. In this paper, we argue that Separate Extreme Value (SEV) models not only generate a matching function with several desirable theoretical properties, but they are also suited for the study of multidimensional sorting. Specifically, we show how a small number of factors can be identified that capture most of the explained variance in matching patterns. We then use rich small-scale survey data to examine sorting among parents of children attending schools in Naples. Our findings show that homogamy is pervasive; not only do men and women sort by age, education, height, and physical characteristics, but they also look for partners that share similar health-related behavioral traits and risk attitude. We also show that marital patterns are well explained by a low number of dimensions, the most important being age and human capital. Moreover, children of parents with a high human capital endowment perform better at school, although they report lower levels of subjective well-being and perceived quality of relationship with their mothers.
    Keywords: Homogamy, Matching, Intergenerational Inequality.
    Date: 2021–05–18
  6. By: Ferreira, Francisco H. G. (London School of Economics); Sterck, Olivier (University of Oxford); Mahler, Daniel Gerszon (World Bank); Decerf, Benoit (World Bank)
    Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about massive declines in wellbeing around the world. This paper seeks to quantify and compare two important components of those losses – increased mortality and higher poverty – using years of human life as a common metric. We estimate that almost 20 million life-years were lost to Covid-19 by December 2020. Over the same period and by the most conservative definition, over 120 million additional years were spent in poverty because of the pandemic. The mortality burden, whether estimated in lives or in years of life lost, increases sharply with GDP per capita. The poverty burden, on the contrary, declines with per capita national incomes when a constant absolute poverty line is used, or is uncorrelated with national incomes when a more relative approach is taken to poverty lines. In both cases the poverty burden of the pandemic, relative to the mortality burden, is much higher for poor countries. The distribution of aggregate welfare losses – combining mortality and poverty and expressed in terms of life-years – depends both on the choice of poverty line(s) and on the relative weights placed on mortality and poverty. With a constant absolute poverty line and a relatively low welfare weight on mortality, poorer countries are found to bear a greater welfare loss from the pandemic. When poverty lines are set differently for poor, middle and high-income countries and/or a greater welfare weight is placed on mortality, upper-middle and rich countries suffer the most.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, welfare, poverty, mortality, global distribution
    JEL: D60 I15 I31 I32
    Date: 2021–05
  7. By: Suh , Jooyeoun (American Association of Retired Persons); Dorji, Changa (Independent researcher); Mercer-Blackman, Valerie (World Bank); Hampel-Milagrosa, Aimee (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: A growing body of scholarly literature has attempted to measure and value unpaid care work in various countries, but perhaps only the government statistical agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom have seriously undertaken periodic and systematic measures of the time spent on unpaid work at the national level, and partially incorporated those values into their gross domestic product (GDP). One country that has been ahead of its time on aspects of societal welfare measurement is Bhutan, which produces the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. However, until the first GNH Survey, in 2008, Bhutan did not have any sense of the size and distribution of unpaid work, despite its strong societal norms about the value of volunteering and community work. This paper is the first to estimate the value of unpaid care work in Bhutan. It shows the pros and cons of various approaches and their equivalent measures of unpaid care work as a share of GDP. As with similar studies on the topic, this paper also finds that women spend more than twice as much time as men performing unpaid care work, regardless of their income, age, residency, or number of people in the household. The paper also provides recommendations for improving the measurement of unpaid care work in Bhutan.
    Keywords: Bhutan; gender; labor productivity; measurement; time use; unpaid care work
    JEL: D13 J16 J22 J39 O53
    Date: 2020–11–09
  8. By: Junichi Hirose (Multidisciplinary Science Cluster, Collaborative Community Studies Unit, Kochi University); Koji Kotani (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology)
    Abstract: Inquisitiveness (curiosity & acceptance to something and someone different) is a main engine for one person to initiate some relation, and the literature has established that maintaining nice relationships with friends, family and general others contributes to generativity and happiness. However, little is known about how generativity and happiness are characterized by inquisitiveness. We hypothesize that inquisitiveness is a fundamental determinant for generativity and happiness, empirically examining the relationships along with cognitive, noncognitive and sociodemographic factors. We conduct questionnaire surveys with 400 Japanese subjects, applying quantile regression and structural equation modeling to the data. First, the analysis identifies the importance of inquisitiveness in characterizing generativity in that people with high inquisitiveness tend to be generative. Second, people are identified to be happy as they have high generativity and inquisitiveness, demonstrating two influential roles of inquisitiveness as direct and indirect determinants through a mediator of generativity. Overall, the results suggest that inquisitiveness shall be a key element of people’s happiness through intergenerational and intragenerational communications or relations.
    Keywords: inquisitiveness, generativity, happiness
    Date: 2021–05

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