nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒08‒16
eight papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Subjective Well-being, Income, and Ethnicity in Slovakia By Želinský, Tomáš
  2. The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health and Subjective Well-Being of Workers: An Event Study Based on High-Frequency Panel Data By Schmidtke, Julia; Hetschko, Clemens; Schöb, Ronnie; Stephan, Gesine; Eid, Michael; Lawes, Mario
  3. Where do I rank? Am I happy?: learning income position and subjective-wellbeing in an internet experiment By Eiji Yamamura
  4. Getting Warmer: Fuel Poverty, Objective and Subjective Health and Well-Being By Davillas, Apostolos; Burlinson, Andrew; Liu, Hui-Hsuan
  5. Cultural Norms and Women's Health: Implications of the Practice of Menstrual Restrictions in Nepal By Kumar, Rahul; Maity, Bipasha
  6. Welfare Effects of Time Reallocation: Would Ending Daylight Saving Time Affect Wellbeing? By Costa-Font, Joan; Flèche, Sarah; Pagan, Ricardo
  7. Psychische Gesundheit im zweiten Covid-19 Lockdown in Deutschland By Theresa Entringer; Hannes Kröger
  8. Internet Access and its Implications for Productivity, Inequality, and Resilience By Jose Maria Barrero; Nicholas Bloom; Steven J. Davis

  1. By: Želinský, Tomáš
    Abstract: This paper utilizes two measures of subjective well-being to test a hypothesis that a marginal increase in subjective well-being associated with a marginal increase in income is larger for poorer than for richer populations. This hypothesis is examined in the setting of Slovak Roma, who are poor in comparison to the non-Roma population. The results suggest that the correlation between income and satisfaction is greater for the lower-income group (the Roma) than for the higher-income group (majority population). Further, the correlation between income and emotional well-being does not differ between the two groups.
    Keywords: Satisfaction,Emotional well-being,Roma,Income,Poverty
    JEL: I31 J15
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Schmidtke, Julia (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg); Hetschko, Clemens (University of Leeds); Schöb, Ronnie (Free University of Berlin); Stephan, Gesine (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg); Eid, Michael (Freie Universität Berlin); Lawes, Mario (Freie Universität Berlin)
    Abstract: Using individual monthly panel data from December 2018 to December 2020, we estimate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and two lockdowns on the mental health and subjective well-being of German workers. Employing an event-study design using individual-specific fixed effects, we find that the first and the second wave of the pandemic reduced workers' mental health substantially. Momentary happiness and life satisfaction also decline in response to Covid-19, but to a smaller extent. We observe adapation in our study outcomes between waves of the pandemic. This applies to a lesser extent to indicators of well-being in certain areas of life, such as satisfaction with the job and with leisure, which are negatively affected, too. Women do not seem to suffer greater well-being losses than men. However, workers in the German short-time work scheme are particularly negatively affected. Our results imply that increased anxiety about the future and restricted personal freedoms are among the drivers of the well-being impact of the pandemic.
    Keywords: Covid-19, life satisfaction, depression, affective well-being, app-based survey data, German Job Search Panel
    JEL: I31 I19
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Eiji Yamamura
    Abstract: A tailor-made internet survey experiment provides individuals with information on their income positions to examine their effects on subjective well-being. In the first survey, respondents were asked about their household income and subjective well-being. Based on the data collected, three different respondents' income positions within the residential locality, within a group of the same educational background, and cohort were obtained. In the follow-up survey for the treatment group, respondents are informed of their income positions and then asked for subjective well-being. Key findings are that, after obtaining information, a higher individual's income position improves their subjective well-being. The effects varied according to individual characteristics and proxies.
    Date: 2021–07
  4. By: Davillas, Apostolos (University of East Anglia); Burlinson, Andrew (University of East Anglia); Liu, Hui-Hsuan (Royal Veterinary College)
    Abstract: This paper uses data from Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study to explore the association between fuel poverty and a set of well-being outcomes: life-satisfaction, self-reported health measures and more objectively measured biomarker data. Over and above the conventional income–fuel cost indicators, we also use more proximal heating deprivation indicators. We create and draw upon a set of composite indicators that concomitantly capture (the lack of) affordability and thermal comfort. Depending on which fuel deprivation indicator is used, we find heterogeneous associations between fuel poverty and our well-being outcomes. Employing combined fuel deprivation indicators, which takes into account the income–fuel cost balance and more proximal perceptions of heating adequacy, reveals the presence of more pronounced associations with life satisfaction and fibrinogen, one of our biological health measures. The presence of these strong associations would have been less pronounced or masked when using separately each of the components of our composite fuel deprivation indicators as well as in the case of self-reported generic measures of physical health. Lifestyle and chronic health conditions plays a limited role in attenuating our results, while material deprivation partially, but not fully, attenuates our associations between fuel deprivation and well-being. These results remain robust when bounding analysis is employed to test the potential confounding role of unobservables. Our analysis suggests that composite fuel deprivation indicators may be useful energy policy instruments for uncovering the underlining mechanism via which fuel poverty may get "under the skin".
    Keywords: fuel poverty, biomarkers, health, well-being
    JEL: I12 I31 I32 Q4
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Kumar, Rahul; Maity, Bipasha
    Abstract: We study the association between the ritual of menstrual restrictions and maternal health- care access as well as women's subjective well-being. Similar restrictions, also practised around the time of childbirth, are based on the assumption that women are ritually impure during these phases of their lives. Although menstrual taboos and restrictions are common across many de- veloping countries, we use micro-data from Nepal where these rituals are widely prevalent. We use a rich set of controls as well as assess the sensitivity of our results to alternative estimation methods. We find that women who face any menstrual restriction are also more likely to give birth at home and receive assistance only from untrained individuals during childbirth, which increases the risk of maternal mortality. We find that only the strictest menstrual restrictions are associated with a decline in subjective well-being. These findings indicate that menstrual restriction related rituals can have persistent negative implications on women's physical and mental health that is not just limited to the time of menstruation.
    Keywords: menstruation,culture,health,subjective well-being,women,Nepal
    JEL: I14 I15 J16 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Costa-Font, Joan (London School of Economics); Flèche, Sarah (Aix-Marseille University); Pagan, Ricardo (University of Malaga)
    Abstract: Daylight Saving Time (DST) is currently implemented by more than seventy countries, yet we do not have a clear knowledge of how it affects individuals' welfare. Using a regression discontinuity design combined with a differences-in-differences approach, we find that the Spring DST causes a significant decline in life satisfaction. By inducing a reallocation of time, the transition into DST deteriorates sleep and increases time stress, which in turn affects physical and emotional health. After performing a simple cost-benefit analysis, we find evidence suggestive that ending DST would exert a positive effect on welfare, namely the wellbeing costs associated with DST exceed its benefits.
    Keywords: Daylight Saving Time, wellbeing, health, sleep, time stress
    JEL: I18 K2 I31
    Date: 2021–07
  7. By: Theresa Entringer; Hannes Kröger
    Abstract: This study compares the level of self-reported mental health and well-being in Germany in the second Covid-19 related lockdown (January/February 2021) with the situation in the first lockdown (March to July 2020). In the second lockdown, satisfaction with health decreased and concerns about health increased compared to the first lockdown. However, both scores remained well above pre-pandemic levels. Further, compared to pre-pandemic levels loneliness remained strongly elevated during the second lockdown, but did not further increase compared to the first lockdown. Depression and anxiety symptoms decreased slightly in the second lockdown compared to the first lockdown and were overall comparable to the levels in 2016. Affective well-being and life satisfaction decreased slightly in the second lockdown compared to the first lockdown and pre-pandemic levels. Especially women, younger people and people with a direct migration background suffered most during the second lockdown: They reported higher loneliness, more depression and anxiety symptoms (or a smaller decrease in the symptoms reported), less affective well-being and a lower life satisfaction. At the same time, socioeconomic factors such as education and income played a smaller role for differences in mental health and well-being than before the pandemic. Die vorliegende Studie vergleicht das Niveau der selbstberichteten psychischen Gesundheit und des Wohlbefindens in Deutschland im zweiten Covid-19 Lockdown (Januar/Februar 2021) mit der Situation im ersten Lockdown (März bis Juli 2020). Im zweiten Lockdown sank die Zufriedenheit mit der Gesundheit und stiegen die Sorgen um die Gesundheit im Vergleich zum ersten Lockdown. Beide Werte blieben aber weiterhin deutlich über dem Vor-Pandemie Niveau. Die Einsamkeit der in Deutschland lebenden Menschen war auch im zweiten Lockdown im Vergleich zum Vor-Pandemie Niveau noch stark erhöht, stieg jedoch im Vergleich zum ersten Lockdown nicht weiter an. Depressions- und Angstsymptome sanken im zweiten Lockdown im Vergleich zum ersten Lockdown wieder leicht und waren damit vergleichbar zum Niveau in 2016. Darüber sanken das affektive Wohlbefinden und die Lebenszufriedenheit im zweiten Lockdown im Vergleich zum ersten Lockdown und dem Vor-Pandemie Niveau leicht. Es zeigt sich, dass insbesondere Frauen, jüngere Menschen und Menschen mit direktem Migrationshintergrund unter dem zweiten Lockdown litten: Sie berichteten eine höhere Einsamkeit, eine höhere Depressions- und Angstsymptomatik (bzw. einen geringeren Rückgang der Symptomatik im Vergleich zum ersten Lockdown), ein geringeres affektives Wohlbefinden und eine geringere Lebenszufriedenheit. Gleichzeitig spielten sozioökonomische Faktoren wie Bildung und Einkommen eine geringere Rolle für Unterschiede in der psychischen Gesundheit und dem Wohlbefinden als vor der Pandemie.
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Jose Maria Barrero; Nicholas Bloom; Steven J. Davis
    Abstract: About one-fifth of paid workdays will be supplied from home in the post-pandemic economy, and more than one-fourth on an earnings-weighted basis. In view of this projection, we consider some implications of home internet access quality, exploiting data from the new Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes. Moving to high-quality, fully reliable home internet service for all Americans (“universal access”) would raise earnings-weighted labor productivity by an estimated 1.1% in the coming years. The implied output gains are $160 billion per year, or $4 trillion when capitalized at a 4% rate. Estimated flow output payoffs to universal access are nearly three times as large in economic disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our survey data also say that subjective well-being was higher during the pandemic for people with better home internet service conditional on age, employment status, earnings, working arrangements, and other controls. In short, universal access would raise productivity, and it would promote greater economic and social resilience during future disasters that inhibit travel and in-person interactions.
    JEL: D24 D84 E24 E27 E71 H54 J22 J24 J31 J81
    Date: 2021–07

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