nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2022‒08‒29
four papers chosen by

  1. Re-examining adaptation theory using Big Data: Reactions to external shocks By Greyling, Talita; Rossouw, Stephanié
  2. More Children, More Blessing? Fertility and Parental Happiness in Old Age in Rural China By Chen, Qihui; Huang, Juerong
  3. Sandwiched women: Health behavior, health, and life satisfaction By Marina A. Kartseva; Anatoly A. Peresetsky
  4. Is GDP Becoming Obsolete? The “Beyond GDP” Debate By Charles R. Hulten; Leonard I. Nakamura

  1. By: Greyling, Talita; Rossouw, Stephanié
    Abstract: During the global response to COVID-19, the analogy of fighting a war was often used. In 2022, the world faced a different war altogether, an unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since 2020 the world has faced these unprecedented shocks. Although we realise these events' health and economic effects, more can be known about the happiness effects on the people in a country and how it differs between a health and a war shock. Additionally, we need to investigate if these external shocks do affect wellbeing, how they differ from one another, and how long it takes happiness to adapt to these shocks. Therefore, this paper aims to compare these two external shocks for ten countries spanning the Northern and Southern hemispheres to investigate the effect on happiness. By investigating the aforementioned, we also re-examine the adaptation theory and see whether it holds at the country level. We use a unique dataset derived from tweets extracted in real-time per country. We derive each tweet's underlying sentiment by applying Natural Language Processing (machine learning). Using the sentiment score, we apply algorithms to construct daily time-series data to measure happiness (Gross National Happiness (GNH)). Our Twitter dataset is combined with data from Oxford's COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. We find that in both instances, the external shocks caused a decrease in GNH. Considering both types of shocks, the adaptation to previous happiness levels occurred within weeks. Understanding the effects of external shocks on happiness is essential for policymakers as effects on happiness have a spillover effect on other variables such as production, safety and trust. Furthermore, the additional macro-level results on the adaptation theory contribute to previously unexplored fields of study.
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Chen, Qihui; Huang, Juerong
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics, International Development, Community/Rural/Urban Development
    Date: 2022–08
  3. By: Marina A. Kartseva (RANEPA); Anatoly A. Peresetsky (New Economic School)
    Abstract: In this paper, we use unique nationally representative data from the 25th wave of Russia Longitudinal Monitoring survey, (RLMS-HSE) for 2016. Based on the survey data, we investigate the impact of sandwich generation caregiving on the health behavior of Russian women—their health behavior, self-assessed health and life satisfaction. We found that sandwich generation caregiving reduces the likelihood of medical examinations, and regular meals, the effect is especially pronounced for working women. A small reduction in alcohol consumption is observed. The likelihood of smoking is reduced (especially for women under 50). The likelihood of being overweight increases, the proportion of chronic diseases decreases, and self-assessed health improves (these effects are especially pronounced for women who are non-pensioners). The proportion of depression decreases. These effects may be the result of an inattentive attitude to one's health and a consciousness of the social significance of fulfilling one's duty. The latter also affects the decreasing number of sandwich generation givers (SGC) dissatisfied with life in general.
    Keywords: sandwich generation, sandwich caregiving, Russia, female caregivers, health, health behavior, life satisfaction, informal care JEL Classifications: I12, I31, J14, J16
    Date: 2022–07
  4. By: Charles R. Hulten; Leonard I. Nakamura
    Abstract: GDP is a closely watched indicator of the current health of the economy and an important tool of economic policy. It has been called one of the great inventions of the 20th Century. It is not, however, a persuasive indicator of individual wellbeing or economic progress. There have been calls to refocus or replace GDP with a metric that better reflects the welfare dimension. In response, the U.S. agency responsible for the GDP accounts recently launched a “GDP and Beyond” program. This is by no means an easy undertaking, given the subjective and idiosyncratic nature of much of individual wellbeing. This paper joins the Beyond GDP effort by extending the standard utility maximization model of economic theory, using an expenditure function approach to include those non-GDP sources of wellbeing for which a monetary value can be established. We term our new measure expanded GDP (EGDP). A welfare-adjusted stock of wealth is also derived using the same general approach used to obtain EGDP. This stock is useful for issues involving the sustainability of wellbeing over time. One of the implications of this dichotomy is that conventional cost-based wealth may increase over a period of time while welfare-corrected wealth may show a decrease (due, for example, to strongly negative environmental externalities).
    JEL: C43 C51 C82 O47
    Date: 2022–07

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