nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2023‒07‒10
two papers chosen by

  1. Maternal Life Satisfaction and Child Development from Toddlerhood to Adolescence By Datta Gupta, Nabanita; Jessen, Jonas; Spiess, C. Katharina
  2. Which income comparisons matter to people, and how? Evidence from a large field experiment By Xiaogeng Xu; Satu Metsälampi; Michael Kirchler; Kaisa Kotakorpi; Peter Hans Matthews; Topi Miettinen

  1. By: Datta Gupta, Nabanita (Aarhus University); Jessen, Jonas (IZA); Spiess, C. Katharina (Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung (BiB))
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the association between maternal well-being and child develop- ment at different ages. We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) which captures maternal life satisfaction and numerous cognitive and non-cognitive child development outcomes. We identify a strong positive association between mothers' life satisfaction and their children's development when these are toddlers (2-3 years, VAB scores), of primary school age (5-10 years, SEB scores and Big 5) and in adolescence (11-14 years, life satisfaction, school grades and self-reported Big 5). This relationship holds when we control for a wide range of potentially confounding factors, including maternal education, employment, household income and maternal personality traits. We confirm our main findings with an IV estimation where we instrument contemporaneous maternal life satisfaction with that measured pre-birth and with a value-added model as some child outcomes are observed twice at different ages. Our findings suggest that mothers' life satisfaction is beneficial for their children's development at all ages and that it is fruitful for policy makers to identify measures through which maternal well-being can be raised.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, subjective well-being, mothers, child development, skill formation
    JEL: J13 I22
    Date: 2023–05
  2. By: Xiaogeng Xu (Hanken School of Economics, and Helsinki GSE); Satu Metsälampi (University of Turku); Michael Kirchler (University of Innsbruck); Kaisa Kotakorpi (Tampere University, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Tax Systems Research); Peter Hans Matthews (Middlebury College, Aalto School of Business, and Helsinki GSE); Topi Miettinen (Hanken School of Economics, and Helsinki GSE)
    Abstract: Received wisdom holds that income rank matters for life satisfaction. In much of the literature, however, income comparisons are limited to the national pop- ulation and evidence is correlational. In this paper, we investigate differences in the causal effects of rank information across reference groups. In a represen- tative sample of mid-career Finns, we randomize individuals to receive personal rank information about educational, municipal, occupational, or age reference groups, and compare the effects, for a set of alternative welfare measures, to the standard national reference group and to a control group that receives no information. We also characterize the accuracy of rank beliefs across groups. Our data, which integrates experimental and register data, finds that rank in- formation causes differences in satisfaction with disposable income, perceived fairness of own income, and wage satisfaction, but not life satisfaction. We also find substantial variation in the effects across reference groups, with those for the national reference group both weak and insignificant.
    Keywords: Relative position, individual welfare, fairness, comparison group, information provision
    JEL: D63 D8 D91 I31
    Date: 2023–05

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