nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2022‒06‒27
five papers chosen by

  1. In Debt but Still Happy? – Examining the Relationship Between Homeownership and Life Satisfaction By Sebastian Will; Timon Renz
  2. Are Retirees More Satisfied? Anticipation and Adaptation Effects: A Causal Panel Analysis of German Statutory Insured and Civil Service Pensioners By Joachim Merz
  3. Understanding the impact of travel on wellbeing: evidence for Great Britain during the pandemic. By MAMATZAKIS, emmanuel; MAMATZAKIS, E
  4. Evaluating childhood policy impacts on lifetime health, wellbeing and inequality: lifecourse distributional economic evaluation By Skardaa, Ieva; Asaria, Miqdad; Cookson, Richard
  5. Predicting Emotional Volatility Using 41,000 Participants in the United Kingdom By George MacKerron; Nattavudh Powdthavee

  1. By: Sebastian Will; Timon Renz
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between homeownership and life as well as housing satisfaction. Using panel data from Germany, we find that compared to renting, owning a home positively impacts housing satisfaction. Contrarily, we find no significant effects on life satisfaction in the long-term. Analysing short-term effects in an event-study design, we show that both life and housing satisfaction anticipate the event and adapt shortly after. Debt-free buyers, however, do not experience anticipation or adaptation effects at all. Comparing outright homebuyers to debt-financing owners, we show that having a real estate loan impacts homeowners’ life satisfaction negatively. Paying off a loan does not differently affect the housing satisfaction of both types of buyers. We conclude that the negative effect of loan payments on life satisfaction offsets the positive impact of homeownership.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, homeownership, household finances, financial burden, adaptation, housing satisfaction
    JEL: D15 I31 R20
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Joachim Merz
    Abstract: This study contributes to the subjective well-being and retirement literature by quantifying life satisfaction before (4) and after retirement (9+) periods asking: Are retirees more satisfied? Fixed-effects and causal instrumental variables (IV) estimates with individual longitudinal data of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP, 33 waves) analyze anticipation and adaptation retirement effects of statutory insured and civil service pensioners in Germany. Main findings: The occupational situation absorbs a positive personal and family influence. There are positive anticipation effects before retirement followed by adaptation instantly when retired both for statutory insured and civil service pensioners. With neutral respectively negative post-retirement adaptation there is no positive retirement effect for both pensioner groups. In short: retirees are not more satisfied, a remarkable result both for statutory insured and civil service pensioners.
    Keywords: Retirement, statutory insured and civil service pensioners, life satisfaction/subjective well-being, anticipation and adaptation effects, robust fixed-effect regression, causality IV estimates, Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), Germany
    JEL: I31 J26 C21 C23
    Date: 2022
  3. By: MAMATZAKIS, emmanuel; MAMATZAKIS, E
    Abstract: The paper investigates whether the wellbeing in Great Britain, measured by life satisfaction and happiness, is affected by the dramatic decline in travelling during the pandemic. I employ a Bayesian vector autoregression (VAR) that includes wellbeing, travel, and Covid-19 as endogenous variables while it controls for exogenous variables. I include in the VAR various modes of travel, like flying, car, rail, and cycling and also various Covid-19 related variables like confirmed infections, confirmed deaths and hospitalisations. The empirical findings of impulse response functions provide detailed responses of wellbeing and traveling in Great Britain to shocks in Covid-19 while testing for the direction of causality. Travel is negatively affected by shocks in Covid-19 and in turn, shocks in travel would reduce wellbeing. Interestingly, results show little to no evidence of responses of Covid-19 to shocks in various modes of travel. So, while the decline in travel reduces wellbeing, it does little to combat Covid-19. The forecast error variance decomposition analysis confirms the importance of travel for wellbeing and shows that while the pandemic has caused an unprecedented decline in traveling, this is not going to persist beyond the medium term. However, the decline in traveling in Great Britain would have a negative effect on life satisfaction and a positive effect on anxiety and such effects could persist. Lastly, the paper provides forecasting of the main endogenous variables.
    Keywords: Wellbeing; Travel in Great Britain; Covid 19; Bayesian VAR.
    JEL: I0 M0 Z0
    Date: 2022–05–06
  4. By: Skardaa, Ieva; Asaria, Miqdad; Cookson, Richard
    Abstract: We introduce and illustrate a new framework for distributional economic evaluation of childhood policies that takes a broad and long view of the impacts on health, wellbeing and inequality from a cross-sectoral whole-lifetime perspective. Total lifetime benefits and public cost savings are estimated using lifecourse microsimulation of diverse health, social and economic outcomes for each individual in a general population birth cohort from birth to death. Cost-effectiveness analysis, policy targeting analysis and distributional analysis of inequality impacts are then conducted using an index of lifetime wellbeing that allow comparisons of both value-for-money (efficiency) and distributional impact (equity) from a cross-sectoral lifetime perspective. We illustrate how this framework can be applied in practice by re-evaluating a training programme in England for parents of children at risk of conduct disorder. Our illustration uses a simple index of lifetime wellbeing based on health-related quality of life and consumption, but other indices could be used based on other kinds of outcomes data such as life satisfaction or multidimensional quality of life. We create the detailed underpinning data needed to apply the framework by using a previously published meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials to estimate the short-term effects and a previously published lifecourse microsimulation model to extrapolate the long-term effects.
    Keywords: SRF-2013-06-015; 205427/Z/16/Z; MR/S037527/1
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2022–04–25
  5. By: George MacKerron; Nattavudh Powdthavee
    Abstract: Emotional volatility is a human universal. Yet there has been no large-scale scientific study of predictors of that phenomenon. Building from previous works, which had been ad hoc and based on tiny samples, this paper reports the first large-scale estimation of volatility in human emotional experiences. Our study draws from a large sample of intrapersonal variation in moment-to-moment happiness from over three million observations by 41,023 UK individuals. Holding other things constant, we show that emotional volatility is highest among women with children, the separated, the poor, and the young. Women without children report substantially greater emotional volatility than men with and without children. For any given rate of volatility, women with children also experience more frequent extreme emotional lows than any other socio-demographic group. Our results, which are robust to different specification tests, enable researchers and policymakers to quantify and prioritise different determinants of intrapersonal variability in human emotions.
    Date: 2022–05

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