nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒07‒19
four papers chosen by

  1. For whom are cities good places to live? By Fredrik Carlsen; Stefan Leknes
  2. Does Participation in Community Activities Increase One's Subjective Well-Being?: Quantitative Analysis Considering Causality and External Effect in Japan By Masato Yodo
  3. The ugly truth about social welfare payments and households' subjective well-being By Adhikari, Tamanna; Greyling, Talita; Rossouw, Stephanie
  4. Happier and Sustainable. Possibilities for a post-growth society By Stefano Bartolini; Francesco Sarracino

  1. By: Fredrik Carlsen (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology); Stefan Leknes (Research Department, Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: In this paper, we use survey data to examine heterogeneity in the urban gradient of subjective well-being. Are some sociodemographic groups more satisfied in cities than others? We find that young, single and childless persons with high income and education generally report higher levels of satisfaction in Norway’s largest city, Oslo, compared to the rest of the country. These results may shed light on why the received literature has produced mixed results, as the sociodemographic composition of city populations, as well as the surveys used to estimate urban gradients in subjective well-being, may vary.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being; life satisfaction; place satisfaction; cities; sociodemographics
    JEL: I31 J10 R23
    Date: 2021–05–04
  2. By: Masato Yodo (Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University)
    Abstract: In recent years, interest in community activities has been growing. This study examines the causal relationship between community activity participation and subjective well-being, using data from a nationwide online questionnaire survey. The results show that participation in community activities increases the subjective well-being of individuals, and that it would also increase the well-being of non-participants through improvements of the local living environment and the propagation of the sense of well-being. These results support the significance of policy initiatives to community activities and indicate that such policies could be evaluated in terms of well-being.
    Keywords: community activity, subjective well-being, endogeneity, instrumental variable methods
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Adhikari, Tamanna; Greyling, Talita; Rossouw, Stephanie
    Abstract: Social welfare payments (SWP) were designed with policy priority to transfer revenue to vulnerable groups, thereby addressing poverty and inequality. Previous studies have shown that SWPs alleviate poverty, but investigating their effect on well-being is sparse. We investigate the relationship between SWPs and the mean subjective well-being (SWB) of a household and analyse it across household income quintiles. We use the National Income Dynamics Study dataset, which is representative of South Africa. South Africa is an example of extremes, as it suffers from poverty, inequality, and low levels of SWB; yet, paradoxically, it has an exemplary social welfare system. We use a range of analytical methods, including ordered probit regressions and a quasi-experimental technique. We find that the highest household income quintiles claim SWPs meant for the poor, most likely leading to increased inequality. Additionally, SWPs are positively related to SWB for quintiles one to four, but the relationship is negative in the highest quintile.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being,social welfare payment,quasi-experiment,South Africa
    JEL: I31 J13 J18
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Stefano Bartolini; Francesco Sarracino
    Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that achieving sustainability requires reducing economic growth, not just greening it. This conclusion often leads to ecological pessimism, based on two beliefs. The first is that there is a human tendency to unlimited expansion; the second is that lack of consensus makes limiting growth politically unfeasible. We challenge both beliefs. The decline of fertility and per-capita income growth provide reasons to expect decreasing human pressure on ecosystems. Moreover, the lack of a clear alternative to growth as a means to increase well-being creates the widespread perception of a trade-off between sustainability and current well-being. This hinders the consensus to the policy of limits to growth. Drawing on a large literature on happiness, social capital and other topics, we argue that policies for social capital can decouple well-being from economic growth. Indeed, the crisis of social capital experienced by much of the world's population is at the origin of the current unsustainable growth of the world economy. Declining social capital leads the economies to excessive growth, because people seek economic affluence to compensate for the emotional distress and collective disempowerment caused by poor social capital. We then suggest policies that, by promoting social capital, would expand well-being, and shift the economy to a more sustainable path characterized by slower economic growth. Such set of proposals is more politically viable than the current agenda of limits to growth and reconcile sustainability and well-being
    Keywords: sustainability; social relations; subjective well-being; economic growth.
    JEL: I31 J1 O1 Q56
    Date: 2021–06

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