nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2021‒09‒06
six papers chosen by

  1. The well-being age U-shape effect in Germany is not flat By Blanchflower, David G.; Piper, Alan
  2. Is happiness u-shaped in age everywhere? A methodological reconsideration for Europe By David Bartram
  3. The Consumption, Income, and Well-Being of Single Mother Headed Families 25 Years After Welfare Reform By Jeehoon Han; Bruce D. Meyer; James X. Sullivan
  4. The Economics of Walking About and Predicting Unemployment By Blanchflower, David G.; Bryson, Alex
  5. The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: A Critique By Blanchflower, David G.; Graham, Carol L.
  6. Eudaimonia Involves Complexity: Ego Development And Eudaimonic Functioning By Evgeny N. Osin; Elena Yu. Voevodina; Vasily Yu. Kostenko

  1. By: Blanchflower, David G.; Piper, Alan
    Abstract: Kassenboehmer and DeNew (2012) claim that there is no well-being age U-shape effect for Germany, when controlling for fixed effects and respondent experience and interviewer characteristics in the German Socio-Economic Panel, 1994-2006. We re-estimate with a longer run of years and restrict the age of respondents to those under seventy and find the well-being age U-shape effect is neither flat nor trivial.
    Keywords: age,ageing,life satisfaction,interviewer characteristics,interviewee experience,fixed effects,panel analysis,GSOEP
    JEL: I31 J14 C42
    Date: 2021
  2. By: David Bartram
    Abstract: A recent contribution to research on age and well-being (Blanchflower 2021) found that the impact of age on happiness is "u-shaped" virtually everywhere: happiness declines towards middle age and subsequently rises, in almost all countries. This paper evaluates that finding for European countries, considering whether it is robust to alternative methodological approaches. The analysis here excludes control variables that are affected by age (noting that those variable are not themselves antecedents of age) and uses data from the entire adult age range (rather than using data only from respondents younger than 70). I also explore the relationship via models that do not impose a quadratic functional form. The paper shows that these alternate approaches do not lead us to perceive a u-shape "everywhere": u-shapes are evident for some countries, but for others the pattern is quite different.
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Jeehoon Han; Bruce D. Meyer; James X. Sullivan
    Abstract: We investigate how material well-being has changed over time for single mother headed families—the primary group affected by welfare reform and other policy changes of the 1990s. We focus on consumption as well as other indicators including components of consumption, measures of housing quality, and health insurance coverage. The results provide strong evidence that the material circumstances of single mothers improved in the decades following welfare reform. The consumption of the most disadvantaged single mother headed families—those with low consumption or low education—rose noticeably over time and at a faster rate than for those in comparison groups.
    JEL: D12 D31 I31 I32 I38
    Date: 2021–08
  4. By: Blanchflower, David G.; Bryson, Alex
    Abstract: Unemployment is notoriously difficult to predict. In previous studies, once country fixed effects are added to panel estimates, few variables predict changes in unemployment rates. Using panel data for 29 European countries - Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czechia; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Turkey and the UK - over 439 months between January 1985 and July 2021 in an unbalanced country*month panel of just over 10000 observations, we predict changes in the unemployment rate 12 months in advance based on individuals' fears of unemployment, their perceptions of the economic situation and their own household financial situation. Fear of unemployment predicts subsequent changes in unemployment 12 months later in the presence of country fixed effects and lagged unemployment. Individuals' perceptions of the economic situation in the country and their own household finances also predict unemployment 12 months later. Business sentiment (industry fear of unemployment) is also predictive of unemployment 12 months later. The findings underscore the importance of the "economics of walking about". The implication is that these social survey data are informative in predicting economic downturns and should be used more extensively in forecasting. We also generate a 29 country-level annual panel on life satisfaction from 1985-2020 from the World Database of Happiness and show that the consumer level fear of unemployment variable lowers wellbeing over and above the negative impact of the unemployment rate itself. Qualitative survey metrics were able to predict the Great Recession and the economic slowdown in Europe just prior to the COVID pandemic.
    Keywords: unemployment,fear,sentiment,social attitudes,life satisfaction,recession,COVID
    JEL: J60 J64 J68
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Blanchflower, David G.; Graham, Carol L.
    Abstract: A number of studies - including our own - find a mid-life dip in well-being. Yet several papers in the psychology literature claim that the evidence of a U-shape is "overblown" and if there is such a thing that any such decline is "trivial". Others have claimed that the evidence of a U-shape "is not as robust and generalizable as is often assumed," or simply "wrong." We identify 424 studies, mostly published in peer reviewed journals that find U-shapes that these researchers apparently were unaware of. We use data for Europe from the Eurobarometer Surveys (EB), 1980-2019; the Gallup World Poll (GWP), 2005-2019 and the UK's Annual Population Survey, 2016-2019 and the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey of August 2021, to examine U-shapes in age in well-being. We find remarkably strong and consistent evidence across countries of statistically significant and non-trivial U-shapes in age with and without socio-economic controls. We show that studies cited by psychologists claiming there are no U-shapes are in error; we reexamine their data and find differently. The effects of the mid-life dip we find are comparable to major life events such as losing a spouse or becoming unemployed. This decline is comparable to half of the unprecedented fall in well-being observed in the UK in 2020 and 2021, during the Covid19 pandemic and lockdown, which is hardly "inconsequential" as claimed.
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Evgeny N. Osin (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Elena Yu. Voevodina (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Vasily Yu. Kostenko (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Eudaimonia is theorized to be a more complex type of positive functioning than hedonia, associated with personality development and maturity. In this study, we aimed to find out whether ego development (ED), proposed as a measure of psychosocial maturity, is related to eudaimonic well-being and whether trait indicators of eudaimonic functioning can explain this association. Adult participants from a community sample (N = 357, age 18-80, 63% female) completed Russian versions of WUSCT, MLQ, HEMA-R, and MHC-SF. The results of structural equation modeling indicate that trait indicators of eudaimonic functioning can explain the association between ED and eudaimonic well-being, providing some support for the view of eudaimonia as a complex type of flourishing more easily attained by mature personalities
    Keywords: eudaimonia, ego development, well-being, mental health, structural equation modeling
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2021

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