nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2022‒12‒05
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Gender, Loneliness and Happiness during COVID-19 By Lepinteur, Anthony; Clark, Andrew E.; Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada; Piper, Alan; Schröder, Carsten; D'Ambrosio, Conchita
  2. Knowledge and Well-Being in the Digital Society: Towards a Research Agenda By Büchi, Moritz
  3. Experienced versus Decision Utility: Large-Scale Comparison for Income-Leisure Preferences By Alpaslan AKAY; Olivier BARGAIN; H. Xavier JARA
  4. A capability-approach perspective on Levelling Up By Abreu, Maria; Comim, Flavio; Jones, Calvin

  1. By: Lepinteur, Anthony (University of Luxembourg); Clark, Andrew E. (Paris School of Economics); Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada (IAE Barcelona (CSIC)); Piper, Alan (University of Leeds); Schröder, Carsten (DIW Berlin); D'Ambrosio, Conchita (University of Luxembourg)
    Abstract: We analyse a measure of loneliness from a representative sample of German individuals interviewed in both 2017 and at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Both men and women felt lonelier during the COVID-19 pandemic than they did in 2017. The pandemic more than doubled the gender loneliness gap: women were lonelier than men in 2017, and the 2017-2020 rise in loneliness was far larger for women. This rise is mirrored in life-satisfaction scores. Men's life satisfaction changed only little between 2017 and 2020; yet that of women fell dramatically, and sufficiently so to produce a female penalty in life satisfaction. We estimate that almost all of this female penalty is explained by the disproportionate rise in loneliness for women during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Keywords: loneliness, life satisfaction, gender, COVID-19, SOEP
    JEL: I10 I14 I18 I30
    Date: 2022–10
  2. By: Büchi, Moritz
    Abstract: Digital media have permeated all spheres of life in many world regions and drastically changed how people seek information to satisfy their everyday knowledge needs. Successfully fulfilling these needs can impact subjective well-being and life outcomes. This is pronounced in transition-al phases with increased knowledge needs such as emerging adulthood. These needs and their fulfillment are socially structured, for example through skills differences. Simultaneously, how knowledge can be acquired through digital media is also dependent on their structure and governance. This paper contributes first to a better understanding of how sociotechnical infrastructures change, how and where they can be shaped by whom, and what is ultimately required for a future web of knowledge (epistemic web); and second, to making the effects of individual information seeking practices on life outcomes and well-being empirically addressable. Equitable digital societies require understanding and governing how digital media enable access to which knowledge. Considering the knowledge needs and dynamic life trajectories in the digital society, research is needed that can provide critical empirical and theoretical insights for the future of human communication and well-being.
    Date: 2022–09–13
  3. By: Alpaslan AKAY; Olivier BARGAIN; H. Xavier JARA
    Abstract: Subjective well-being (SWB) data is increasingly used to perform welfare analysis. Interpreted as ‘experienced utility’, it has recently been compared to ‘decision utility’ using small-scale experiments most often based on stated preferences. We transpose this comparison to the framework of non-experimental and large-scale data commonly used for policy analysis, focusing on the income-leisure domain where redistributive policies operate. Using the British Household Panel Survey, we suggest a ‘deviation’ measure, which is simply the difference between actual working hours and SWB-maximizing hours. We show that about three-quarters of individuals make decisions that are not inconsistent with maximizing their SWB. We discuss the potential channels that explain the lack of optimization when deviations are significantly large. We find proxies for a number of individual and external constraints, and show that constraints alone can explain at least half of the deviations. In our context, deviations partly reflect the inability of the revealed preference approach to account for labor market rigidities, so the actual and SWB-maximizing hours should be used in a complementary manner. The suggested approach based on our deviation metric could help identify labor market frictions.
    Keywords: Decision Utility, Experienced Utility, Labor Supply, Subjective Well-Being
    JEL: C90 I31 J22
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Abreu, Maria; Comim, Flavio; Jones, Calvin
    Abstract: We provide an introduction to the capability approach and the concept of comprehensive outcomes, and show how it can be useful as a framework for regional development policies. We highlight the role of real opportunities (capabilities) in allowing individuals to achieve the things that they consider valuable in their lives, and the role of agency and process in achieving those outcomes, providing a contrast to other approaches which focus on resources (GDP, productivity, income) or desire fulfilment (utility, subjective wellbeing). We identify practical steps for policymakers wanting to incorporate the capability approach, either partially or fully, into the regional policy process.
    Date: 2022–08–14

This nep-hap issue is ©2022 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.