nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2022‒01‒31
two papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. A Year of Pandemic: Levels, Changes and Validity of Well-Being Data from Twitter. Evidence from Ten Countries By Sarracino, Francesco; Greyling, Talita; O'Connor, Kelsey J.; Peroni, Chiara; Rossouw, Stephanié
  2. Human well-being in the Anthropocene: limits to growth By David Collste; Sarah Cornell; Jorgen Randers; Johan Rockström; Per Espen Stoknes

  1. By: Sarracino, Francesco; Greyling, Talita (University of Johannesburg); O'Connor, Kelsey J. (STATEC Research – National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies); Peroni, Chiara (STATEC Research – National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies); Rossouw, Stephanié (Auckland University of Technology)
    Abstract: In this article, we describe how well-being changed during 2020 in ten countries, namely Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, South Africa, and Spain. Our measure of well-being is the Gross National Happiness (GNH), a country-level index built applying sentiment analysis to data from Twitter. We aim to describe how GNH changed during the pandemic within countries, assess its validity as a measure of well-being, and analyse its correlations. We take advantage of a unique dataset of daily observations about GNH, generalised trust and trust in national institutions, fear concerning the economy, loneliness, infection rate, policy stringency and distancing. To assess the validity of the data sourced from Twitter, we exploit various survey data sources, such as the Eurobarometer and consumer satisfaction, and Big Data sources, such as Google Trends. Results indicate that sentiment analysis of tweets can provide reliable and timely information on well-being. This can be particularly useful to timely inform decision-making.
    Keywords: happiness, COVID-19, Big Data, Twitter, Sentiment Analysis, well-being, public policy, trust, fear, loneliness
    JEL: C55 I10 I31 H12
    Date: 2021–11
  2. By: David Collste (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden, CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Sarah Cornell (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden); Jorgen Randers (BI Norwegian Business School [Oslo]); Johan Rockström (PIK - Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research); Per Espen Stoknes (BI Norwegian Business School [Oslo])
    Abstract: Transforming the world towards sustainability in line with the 2030 Agenda requires progress on multiple dimensions of human well-being. We track development of relevant indicators for SDGs 1-7 against GDP per person in seven world regions and the world as a whole. Across the regions, we find uniform development patterns where SDGs 1-7-and therefore main human needs-are reached at around US$15 000 measured in 2011 US$ purchasing power parity (PPP). Technical summary: How does GDP per person relate to the achievement of well-being as targeted by the 2030 Agenda? The 2030 Agenda includes global ambitions to meet human needs and aspirations. However, these need to be met within planetary boundaries. In nascent World-Earth modelling, human well-being as well as global environmental impacts are linked through economic production, which is tracked by GDP. We examined historic developments on five-year intervals, 1980-2015, between average income and the advancement on indicators of SDGs 1 to 7. This was done both for seven world regions and the world as a whole. We find uniform patterns of saturation for all regions above an income threshold somewhere around US$15 000 measured in 2011 US$ purchasing power parity (PPP). At this level, main human needs and capabilities are met. The level is also consistent with studies of life satisfaction and the Easterlin paradox. We observe stark differences with respect to scale: the patterns of the world as an aggregated whole develop differently from all its seven regions, with implications for World-Earth model construction-and sustainability transformations. Social media summary: Across world regions, reaching human well-being #SDGs takes GDP levels of $15 000 per person (2011US$PPP). This insight may help shape transformation to a world that respects #PlanetaryBoundaries.
    Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals,2030 Agenda,Planetary Boundaries,Safe Operating Space,Human Needs,Capabilities approach,Easterlin paradox,Sustainability,Integrated Assessment Models,IAMs
    Date: 2021–12–09

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