nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2023‒05‒22
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Subjective Well-being in Spain's Decline By Álvarez Nogal, Carlos; Prados de la Escosura, Leandro
  2. Is GDP Becoming Obsolete? The 'Beyond GDP' Debate By Charles Hulten; Leonard I. Nakamura
  3. The roller coaster of happiness: an investigation of intern’s happiness variability, LMX, and job-seeking goals By Masterson, Courtney; Sun, Jiaqing; Wayne, Sandy J.; Kluemper, Donald
  4. The relationship between quality of the working environment, workers’ health and well-being: Evidence from 28 OECD countries By Fabrice Murtin; Benoît Arnaud; Christine Le Thi; Agnès Parent-Thirion

  1. By: Álvarez Nogal, Carlos; Prados de la Escosura, Leandro
    Abstract: Spain experienced economic decline from the 1570s to 1650, recovering gradually thereafter and only reaching its early 1570s per capita income in the 1820s. How did economic decline impact on people's perception of well-being and inequality? We provide an answer based on an unexplored source, the Bulls of the Crusade, an alms that, after 1574, was annually collected by the Spanish Monarchy in its territories, and that, to some material benefits, added spiritual benefits: plenary indulgencies that erased the penance for guilt after sinning. An inexpensive but fixed price alms was massively bought by those aged 12 and above. The number of bulls sold relative to the relevant population provides a measure of spiritual comfort and, hence, of subjectivewell-being. A subjective inequality measure, the ratio of the 8 Reales bulls sold, intended for wealthy and high social status people, to the 2 Reales bulls sold, intended for the common people, is also estimated. Our results suggest that subjective wellbeing deteriorated during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century improving during its last third, while subjective inequality increased from 1600-1640 to fall in the third quarter of the century. Thus, improvements in subjective well-being were accompanied by a decline in subjective inequality.
    Keywords: Subjective Well-Being; Subjective Inequality; Spain; Economic Decline
    JEL: H27 I31 N33
    Date: 2023–05–08
  2. By: Charles 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 well-being 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 the GDP and Beyond program. This is by no means an easy undertaking, given the subjective and idiosyncratic nature of much of individual well-being. 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 well-being 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 well-being 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).
    Keywords: Beyond GDP; National Accounts; Internet; Information; Inflation; Welfare; Well-Being
    JEL: C43 C51 C82 O4
    Date: 2022–11–08
  3. By: Masterson, Courtney; Sun, Jiaqing; Wayne, Sandy J.; Kluemper, Donald
    Abstract: In the context of internships, we develop and test theory regarding the relationship between interns' happiness and their perceptions of leader-member exchange (LMX). Adopting a discrete and dynamic emotions perspective, we examine interns' happiness that is elicited by the most memorable daily interactions with their supervisor and bring attention to the construct of happiness variability (i.e., between-person differences in the fluctuation of happiness over time). Integrating Affective Events Theory and Feelings as Information Theory, we theorize and investigate how interns' happiness variability interacts with their psychological resources (i.e., optimism and core self-evaluation) to inform their perceptions of LMX, and ultimately, is indirectly associated with interns' job-seeking goals related to future employment with the organization. Findings from our daily field study reveal a positive relationship between happiness variability and LMX among interns low in optimism and interns low in core self-evaluation. The findings also provide evidence of a conditional indirect relationship between interns' happiness variability and a key employment outcome, job-seeking goals, via their perceptions of LMX. Extending our results, we discuss theoretical and empirical implications for future research and practice.
    Keywords: happiness variability; emotions; leader-member exchange; internships; Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development (iLEAD)
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2021–12–01
  4. By: Fabrice Murtin; Benoît Arnaud; Christine Le Thi; Agnès Parent-Thirion
    Abstract: This paper operationalises the OECD Guidelines for Measuring the Quality of the Working Environment (OECD, 2017) to describe job characteristics among European countries, the United States and Korea in 2010 and 2015. The analysis extends the range of aspects of quality of the working environment beyond those featuring in the Job Strain index presented by (Cazes, 2015), which is used to monitor implementation of the OECD Job Strategy, but at the cost of a more limited country coverage. While the two indices of job strain are largely consistent both across countries and over time, all of the job characteristics included in the “extended” index turns out to matter for workers’ well-being. The framework uses the job demands-resources model ( (Demerouti, 2001) that stresses the importance of balancing the demands of the job and the resources that are available to workers to meet those demands. Workers are classified as (heavily) strained when the number of job demands they face (largely) exceeds the number of job resources they benefit from, and conversely, they are classified as (very) well-resourced when their job resources (largely) exceed their job demands.On average among 28 OECD countries, about one third of employees are (moderately or heavily) strained at work, while one half are well-resourced. The share of employees that are heavily strained is close to 10%. Job strain is relatively more frequent among employees with low education and low occupational skills, and it is relatively less frequent in the service sector and in the public sector. Due to composition effects, women hold on average slightly less strained jobs than men. The share of strained workers has slightly declined on average over the 2010-2015 period, falling in a majority of countries. The improvement in working conditions is related to better prospects of career advancement, higher take-up of training, stronger social support and organisational participation at work, higher flexibility of working time, as well as lower exposure to physical risk factors, hard physical demands and unsocial work schedule. On the other hand, perceptions of job insecurity, intimidation and discrimination, as well as work intensity have been on the rise. Finally, quality of the working environment is strongly associated with workers’ well-being as measured by mental and physical health, days of sickness, job satisfaction as well as job motivation, and the associated effects are potentially large. For most outcomes, perceived intimidation and discrimination at work is one of the most powerful predictor of workers’ well-being.
    Keywords: job quality, quality of the working environment, well-being, workers' health
    JEL: J81 J88 J71 J58
    Date: 2022–01–31

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