nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2023‒09‒25
four papers chosen by

  1. Subjective well-being measurement: Current practice and new frontiers By Jessica Mahoney
  2. Subjective Well-being in Spain’s Decline By Carlos Álvarez-Nogal; Pablo Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  3. Maternal Life Satisfaction and Child Development from Toddlerhood to Adolescence By Nabanita Datta Gupta; Jonas Jessen; C. Katharina Spiess
  4. Teen Social Interactions and Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie; Wulff Pabilonia, Sabrina

  1. By: Jessica Mahoney
    Abstract: In the ten years since the OECD published its 2013 Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being, the inclusion of evaluative, affective and eudaimonic indicators in national measurement frameworks and household surveys has grown. Country practice has converged around a standard measure of life satisfaction, however affective and eudaimonic measures remain less harmonised. This working paper combines findings from a stock take of OECD member state uptake of Guidelines recommendations with advances in the academic evidence base to highlight three focal areas for future work. Looking ahead, the OECD should prioritise (i) revisiting recommendations on affective indicators, particularly in light of recent OECD recommendations on measuring mental health; (ii) reviewing progress towards operationalising measures of eudaimonia; and (iii) creating new extended modules to measure the subjective well-being of children, to deepen advice on domain-specific life evaluation measures, and to further develop more globally inclusive measures, drawing on (for example) concepts of subjective well-being developed in Indigenous contexts and beyond western European/North American research literatures.
    Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, mental health, subjective well-being
    JEL: I31 I38 D91
    Date: 2023–09–08
  2. By: Carlos Álvarez-Nogal (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Pablo Leandro Prados de la Escosura (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    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 subjective well-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 well-being 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
  3. By: Nabanita Datta Gupta; Jonas Jessen; C. Katharina Spiess
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the association between maternal well-being and child development 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
  4. By: Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie; Wulff Pabilonia, Sabrina
    Abstract: Adolescence is an important developmental period when teens begin spending less time with their parents and more time with friends and others outside their households as they transition into adulthood. Using the 2017-2021 American Time Use Surveys and the 2012, 2013, and 2021 Well-being Modules, we examine how the time teens spent alone and with parents, friends, and others changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, shedding light on how the social isolation of the pandemic disrupted this crucial development period. We also examine how time spent on various activities changed during the pandemic. Teens spent more time alone during the pandemic than before and spent more of their leisure time alone, with large increases in time spent playing computer games, on social media, and watching TV. Results suggest that socializing and communicating with others improves teens' well-being over other activities. Thus, teens' well-being was severely impacted by the pandemic.
    Keywords: teens, adolescents, COVID-19, well-being, time use, gaming
    JEL: J13 J22
    Date: 2023

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