nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Better the devil you know: are stated preferences over health and happiness determined by how healthy and happy people are? By Adler, Matthew; Dolan, Paul; Henwood, Amanda; Kavetsos, Georgios
  2. Gender differences of the effect of vaccination on perceptions of COVID-19 and mental health in Japan By Eiji Yamamura; Youki Kosaka; Yoshiro Tsutsui; Fumio Ohtake
  3. Internet access and its implications for productivity, inequality and resilience By Maria Barrero, Jose; Bloom, Nicholas; Davis, Steven J.
  4. A Twenty-First Century of Solitude? Time Alone and Together in the United States By Enghin Atalay
  5. The return of happiness: Resilience in times of pandemic By Ahlheim, Michael; Kim, In Woo; Vuong, Duy Thanh

  1. By: Adler, Matthew; Dolan, Paul; Henwood, Amanda; Kavetsos, Georgios
    Abstract: Most people want to be both happy and healthy. But which matters most when there is a trade-off between them? This paper addresses this question by asking 4,000 members of the public in the UK and the US to make various trade-offs between being happy or being physically healthy. The results suggest that these trade-offs are determined in substantial part by the respondent's own levels of happiness and health, with happier people more likely to choose happy lives and healthier people more likely to choose healthy ones: "better the devil you know, than the devil you don't". Age also plays an important role, with older people much more likely to choose being healthy over being happy. We also test for the effect of information when a randomly chosen half of the sample are reminded that it is possible to be happy without being healthy. Information matters, but much less so than who we are. These results serve to further our understanding of the aetiology of people's preferences and have important implications for policymakers who are concerned with satisfying those preferences.
    Keywords: health; subjective well-being; happiness; preferences
    JEL: D72 I30 I31 I38
    Date: 2021–11–01
  2. By: Eiji Yamamura; Youki Kosaka; Yoshiro Tsutsui; Fumio Ohtake
    Abstract: Vaccination has been promoted to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Vaccination is expected to reduce the probability of and alleviate the seriousness of COVID-19 infection. Accordingly, this might significantly change an individuals subjective well-being and mental health. However, it is unknown how vaccinated people perceive the effectiveness of COVID-19 and how their subjective well-being and mental health change after vaccination. We thus observed the same individuals on a monthly basis from March 2020 to September 2021 in all parts of Japan. Then, large sample panel data (N=54,007) were independently constructed. Using the data, we compared the individuals perceptions of COVID-19, subjective well-being, and mental health before and after vaccination. Furthermore, we compared the effect of vaccination on the perceptions of COVID-19 and mental health for females and males. We used the fixed-effects model to control for individual time-invariant characteristics. The major findings were as follows: First, the vaccinated people perceived the probability of getting infected and the seriousness of COVID-19 to be lower than before vaccination. This was observed not only when we used the whole sample, but also when we used sub-samples. Second, using the whole sample, subjective well-being and mental health improved. The same results were also observed using the sub-sample of females, whereas the improvements were not observed using a sub-sample of males.
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Maria Barrero, Jose; Bloom, Nicholas; Davis, Steven J.
    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.
    Keywords: home internet access; productivity; Covid-19; wellbeing
    JEL: R14 J01 J1
    Date: 2021–09–10
  4. By: Enghin Atalay
    Abstract: This paper explores trends in time alone and with others in the United States. Since 2003, Americans have increasingly spent their free time alone, on leisure at home, and have decreasingly spent their free time with individuals from other households. These trends are more pronounced for non-White individuals, for males, for the less educated, and for individuals from lower-income households. Survey respondents spending a large fraction of their free time alone report lower subjective well-being. As a result, differential trends in time alone suggest that between-group inequality may be increasing more quickly than previous research has reported.
    Date: 2022–04–07
  5. By: Ahlheim, Michael; Kim, In Woo; Vuong, Duy Thanh
    Abstract: Many papers have been written about people's loss of life satisfaction during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but not much has been said about their resilience after the first shock had passed. Were people able to return, at least in part, to their original level of life satisfaction? This amounts to the question to which degree people had shown psychological resilience during the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis. In this context, it is also of interest which internal and external factors supported a person's tendency to prove resilient during the crisis. Based on an online survey conducted in August / September 2020 in Germany we try to answer these questions. We find that after a loss of average life satisfaction during the first three months after the outbreak of the pandemic in Germany many people's life satisfaction increased again. Roughly 60% of the respondents proved resilient in the sense that eight months after the outbreak of the pandemic they had regained the same or an even higher level of life satisfaction as compared to the situation before the COVID-19 crisis. Our results show that besides socioeconomic characteristics like age and income and certain character traits, people's personal experience during the crisis and their approval or disapproval of government policy during the crisis had an important influence on their chance to prove resilient. Therefore, a consistent and competent crisis communication building up trust in government's crisis management capacity is essential for people's resilience in a crisis.
    Keywords: Resilience,resistance,COVID-19,life satisfaction
    JEL: I10 I12 I18
    Date: 2022

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