nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2022‒04‒11
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. A measure of well-being efficiency based on the World Happiness Report By Sarracino, Francesco; O'Connor, Kelsey J.
  2. The Female Happiness Paradox By David G. Blanchflower; Alex Bryson
  3. Can Emotional Intelligence promote Individual Wellbeing and protect from perceptions' traps? By Antonino Callea; Dalila De Rosa; Giovanni Ferri; Francesca Lipari; Marco Costanzi
  4. Boomtowns: Health, Income, and the Preston Curve: A Long View By Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  5. Association between Time Use Behaviour and Health and Well Being among Elderly: Evidence from the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India By Suresh Sharma; Jyoti Chaudhary

  1. By: Sarracino, Francesco; O'Connor, Kelsey J.
    Abstract: We propose a measure of well-being efficiency to assess countries' ability to transform inputs into subjective well-being (Cantril ladder). We use the six inputs (real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom of choice, absence of corruption, and generosity) identified in the World Happiness Reports and apply Data Envelopment Analysis to a sample of 126 countries. Efficiency scores reveal that high ranking subjective well-being countries, such as the Nordics, are not strictly the most efficient ones. Also, the scores are uncorrelated with economic efficiency. This means that the implicit assumption that economic efficiency promotes well-being is not supported. Well-being efficiency can be improved by changing the amount (scale) or composition of inputs and their use (technical efficiency). For instance countries with lower unemployment, and greater healthy life expectancy and optimism are more efficient.
    Keywords: subjective well-being,World Happiness Report,efficiency,Data Envelopment Analysis
    JEL: I31 E23 D60 O47 O15
    Date: 2022
  2. By: David G. Blanchflower (Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow; NBER and Bloomberg); Alex Bryson (University College London; IZA, Bonn; NIESR, London)
    Abstract: Using data across countries and over time we show that women are unhappier than men in unhappiness and negative affect equations, irrespective of the measure used – anxiety, depression, fearfulness, sadness, loneliness, anger – and they have more days with bad mental health and more restless sleep. Women are also less satisfied with many aspects of their lives such as democracy, the economy, the state of education and health services. They are also less happy in the moment in terms of peace and calm, cheerfulness, feeling active, vigorous, fresh and rested. However, prior evidence on gender differences in happiness and life satisfaction is less clear cut. Differences vary over time, location, and with model specification and the inclusion of controls especially marital status. We also show that there are significant variations by month in happiness data regarding whether males are happier than females but find little variation by month in unhappiness data. It matters which months are sampled when measuring positive affect but not with negative affect. These monthly data reveal that women’s happiness was more adversely affected by the COVID shock than men’s, but also that women’s happiness rebounded more quickly suggesting resilience. As a result, we now find strong evidence that males have higher levels of both happiness and life satisfaction in recent years even before the onset of pandemic. As in the past they continue to have lower levels of unhappiness. A detailed analysis of several data files, with various metrics, for the UK confirms that men now are happier than women.
    Keywords: happiness; subjective wellbeing; life satisfaction; gender
    JEL: J16 I31
    Date: 2022–04–01
  3. By: Antonino Callea (LUMSA University); Dalila De Rosa (Ministero dell'Economia); Giovanni Ferri (LUMSA University); Francesca Lipari (Carlos III University of Madrid); Marco Costanzi (LUMSA University)
    Abstract: Rising income inequality has become a major worry in rich countries’ societies and a focus for remedial policy action to protect individual wellbeing. However, cognitive biases, misconceptions and emotions might detach inequality, as perceived by individuals, from the real measures of inequality. On a unique survey of 627 Italian respondents to a questionnaire tailor-made to embrace individuals’ Emotional Intelligence (EI), and perceptions about various socio-economic variables, we study the determinants of wellbeing. Specifically, we quantify wellbeing alternatively through Happiness – hedonic measure – or through Flourishing – eudemonic measure – and investigate its relationship with an individual’s perceived inequality (PI) and EI. Via an instrumental variable approach to tackle the intrinsic endogeneity of wellbeing with PI and EI, we reach two main results: i) Happiness responds (negatively) to PI, and positively to EI; ii) Flourishing is positively related to EI, but not to PI. Moreover, we find that PI depends negatively on individual’s trust, and income comparison. Finally, Happiness, Flourishing and PI are all related to real measures of income inequality such as the Gini index. Thus, reducing perceived inequality and promoting the capability to recognize other’s emotions are the true channels through which policies could promote society’s wellbeing while protecting it from perception traps.
    Keywords: Perceived Inequality; Emotional Intelligence; Individual Wellbeing; Analysis of Survey Data
    JEL: D91 D63 I31 C83
    Date: 2022–03
  4. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: Well-being is increasingly viewed as a multidimensional phenomenon, of which income is only one facet. In this paper I focus on another one, health, and look at its synthetic measure, life expectancy at birth, and its relationship with per capita income. International trends of life expectancy and per capita GDP differed during the past 150 years. Life expectancy gains depended on economic growth but also on the advancement in medical knowledge. The pace and breadth of the health transitions drove life expectancy aggregate tendencies and distribution. The new results confirm the relationship between life expectancy and per capita income and its outward shift over time as put forward by Samuel Preston. However, the association between non-linearly transformed life expectancy and the log of per capita income does not flatten out over time, but becomes convex suggesting more than proportional increases in life expectancy at higher per capita income levels.
    Keywords: Well-being, Life Expectancy, Per Capita Income, Inequality, Health Transition, Preston Curve
    JEL: F60 I15 N30 O50
    Date: 2022–03
  5. By: Suresh Sharma; Jyoti Chaudhary (Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University, Delhi)
    Abstract: Ageing is an inevitable demographic process occurring globally. Coming decades are projected to see a substantial increase in the elderly population and with rise in their number, the social, economic and health policy landscape for the elderly would also need upgradation in response to their needs. Thus identifying the drivers of health and well-being in elderly is essential. One such potential driver of health could be the daily routine of the elderly which focuses on the nature of activities being performed by them. Utilizing time use data from the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI), we examine the time allocation of the elderly, looking into how much time the elderly spend on active participation and how this allocation varies according to their socio-economic and demographic context. We further explore the association between self-rated health, wellbeing and daily activity engagement decisions of the elderly. The results from the analysis provide insight into activity engagement choices of the elderly across varying socio-economic classes. Time spent in working/volunteering and in exercising was found to have significant positive association with health and well-being indicators. Our results also show that the gender difference in nature of time utilisation by elderly is pervasive. For ageing to be successful, an active daily schedule for elderly needs to become a key concept of the social policy. Building employment opportunities for elderly and considering increasing the retirement age in a phased manner would not only lead to financial independence but also contribute to better health and well-being among them. Setting up community elderly associations aimed at teaching and promoting health enhancing activities among elderly can be considered. Length: 18 pages
    Keywords: Elderly, Time-Use Data, Health & Wellbeing, Policy
    JEL: E52 G12
    Date: 2022–02–01

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