nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒08‒23
four papers chosen by

  1. Quantifying the intangible impact of the Olympics using subjective well-being data By Dolan, Paul; Kavetsos, Georgios; Krekel, Christian; Mavridis, Dimitris; Metcalfe, Robert; Senik, Claudia; Szymanski, Stefan; Ziebarth, Nicolas R.
  2. The Analysis of Human Feelings: A Practical Suggestion for a Robustness Test By Bloem, Jeffrey R.; Oswald, Andrew J.
  3. Getting warmer: fuel poverty, objective and subjective health and well-being By Davillas, A; Burlinson, A.; Liu, H-H.
  4. Women's Well-Being During a Pandemic and its Containment By Natalie Bau; Gaurav Khanna; Corinne Low; Manisha Shah; Sreyashi Sharmin; Alessandra Voena

  1. By: Dolan, Paul; Kavetsos, Georgios; Krekel, Christian; Mavridis, Dimitris; Metcalfe, Robert; Senik, Claudia; Szymanski, Stefan; Ziebarth, Nicolas R.
    Abstract: Hosting the Olympic Games costs billions of taxpayer dollars. Following a quasi-experimental setting, this paper assesses the intangible impact of the London 2012 Olympics, using a novel panel of 26,000 residents in London, Paris, and Berlin during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2013. We show that hosting the Olympics increases subjective well-being of the host city's residents during the event, particularly around the times of the opening and closing ceremonies. However, we do not find much evidence for legacy effects. Estimating residents' implicit willingness-to-pay for the event, we do not find that it was worth it for London alone, but a modest well-being impact on the rest of the country would make hosting worth the costs.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being; Life satisfaction; Happiness; Intangible effects; Olympic Games; Sport events; Quasi-natural experiment
    JEL: I30 I31 I38 L83
    Date: 2019–09–01
  2. By: Bloem, Jeffrey R. (University of Minnesota); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Governments, multinational companies, and researchers today collect unprecedented amounts of data on human feelings. These data provide information on citizens' happiness, levels of customer satisfaction, employees' satisfaction, mental stress, societal trust, and other important variables. Yet a key scientific difficulty tends to be downplayed, or even ignored, by many users of such information. Human feelings are not measured in objective cardinal units. This paper aims to address some of the ensuing empirical challenges. It suggests an analytical way to approach the scientific complications of ordinal data. The paper describes a dichotomous-around-the-median (DAM) test, which, crucially, uses information only on direction within an ordering and deliberately discards the potentially unreliable statistical information in ordered data. Applying the proposed DAM approach, the paper demonstrates that it is possible to check and replicate some of the key conclusions of previous research—including earlier work on the effects upon human well-being of higher income.
    Keywords: ordinal scales, satisfaction, subjective well-being, happiness, trust, corruption, robustness
    JEL: C18 C25 I31 I39
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Davillas, A; Burlinson, A.; Liu, H-H.
    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: lifesatisfaction, 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
  4. By: Natalie Bau; Gaurav Khanna; Corinne Low; Manisha Shah; Sreyashi Sharmin; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic brought the dual crises of disease and the containment policies designed to mitigate it. Yet, there is little evidence on the impacts of these policies on women, who are likely to be especially vulnerable, in lower-income countries. We conduct a large phone survey and leverage India's geographically-varying containment policies to estimate the association between both the pandemic and its containment policies, and measures of women's well-being, including mental health and food security. On aggregate, the pandemic resulted in dramatic income losses, increases in food insecurity, and declines in female mental health. While potentially crucial to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases, we find that greater prevalence of containment policies is associated with increased food insecurity, particularly for women, and with reduced female mental health. Average containment levels are associated with a 39-40% increase in the likelihood of sadness, depression, and hopelessness among women and with an increase in the likelihood that women feel more worried by 45% of the variable mean. Particularly vulnerable groups of women, those with daughters and those living in female-headed households, experience larger declines in mental health.
    JEL: I14 I15 J16 O12 O38
    Date: 2021–08

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