nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2023‒10‒16
seven papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. The Effect of the “Woman Life Freedom” Protests on Life Satisfaction in Iran: Evidence from Survey Data By Mohammad Reza Farzanegan; Sven Fischer
  2. Teen Social Interactions and Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Kalenkoski, Charlene M.; Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff
  3. Utility and Happiness By Miles S. Kimball; Robert J. Willis
  4. Education Gradients in Parental Time Investment and Subjective Well-being By Ariel Kalil; Susan Mayer; William Delgado; Lisa A. Gennetian
  5. From Happiness Data to Economic Conclusions By Daniel J. Benjamin; Kristen Cooper; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball
  6. SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING IN ADOLESCENTS’ ASSESSMENTS By Ipatova, Anna (Ипатова, Анна); Vyrskaya, Marina (Вырская, Марина)
  7. Adjusting for Scale-Use Heterogeneity in Self-Reported Well-Being By Daniel J. Benjamin; Kristen Cooper; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball; Jiannan Zhou

  1. By: Mohammad Reza Farzanegan; Sven Fischer
    Abstract: This study examines the causal effect of the violent “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests in Iran during the last quarter of 2022 on individual life satisfaction. To evaluate the impact, we use two original representative surveys in Iran conducted in 2022. Our results, based on an ordered logit regression analysis for a sample of more than 2, 000 individuals, show that the violent protest environment had a significant and negative effect on life satisfaction in Iran. To determine the exposure of the respondents to protests, we calculated the number of protests within a 25km radius of the respondents’ locations. The protest environment reduced the probability of life satisfaction by 3.7 percentage points. Moreover, we find significant heterogeneity among the respondents with respect to their life satisfaction before and after protests. The largest negative impact of the protests on life satisfaction is observed among women, members of working class, and those with primary and tertiary education. These results are robust to other determinants of individual life satisfaction, such as marital status, employment, perception of corruption, feeling of security, religiosity, and other sociodemographic factors.
    Keywords: protest, violence. life satisfaction, well-being, Woman Life Freedom, survey, Iran
    JEL: D74 F52 H56 I31 N15
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Kalenkoski, Charlene M. (James Madison University); Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    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: 2023–09
  3. By: Miles S. Kimball; Robert J. Willis
    Abstract: Psychologists have developed effective survey methods of measuring how happy people feel at a given time. The relationship between how happy a person feels and utility is an unresolved question. Existing work in Economics either ignores happiness data or assumes that felt happiness is more or less the same thing as flow utility. The approach we propose in this paper steers a middle course between the two polar views that “happiness is irrelevant to Economics” and the view that “happiness is a sufficient statistic for utility.” We argue that felt happiness is not the same thing as flow utility, but that it does have a systematic relationship to utility. In particular, we propose that happiness is the sum of two components: (1) elation–or short-run happiness–which depends on recent news about lifetime utility and (2) baseline mood–or long-run happiness–which is a subutility function much like health, entertainment, or nutrition. In principle, all of the usual techniques of price theory apply to baseline mood, but the application of those techniques is complicated by the fact that many people may not know the true household production function for baseline mood. If this theory is on target, there are two reasons data on felt happiness is important for Economics. First, short-run happiness in response to news can give important information about preferences. Second, long-run happiness is important for economic welfare in the same way as other higher-order goods such as health, entertainment, or nutrition.
    JEL: D60 D90 D91
    Date: 2023–09
  4. By: Ariel Kalil; Susan Mayer; William Delgado; Lisa A. Gennetian
    Abstract: College-educated mothers spend substantially more time in intensive childcare than less educated mothers despite their higher opportunity cost of time and working more hours. Using data from the 2010–2013 and 2021 waves of the Well-being Module of the American Time Use Survey, we investigate this puzzle by testing the hypothesis that college-educated mothers enjoy childcare more. We find that among all mothers, spending time in childcare is associated with higher positive feelings compared to spending time in other activities. However, college-educated mothers experience no more positive feelings and no fewer negative feelings during intensive childcare than other mothers. Moreover, college-educated mothers report substantially fewer positive feelings for time spent in management activities and substantially more negative feelings for time spent in educational activities with their child. Findings are robust to controlling for a rich set of covariates, mother fixed effects, and simulations to account for selection into intensive childcare.
    JEL: D13 J13 J22
    Date: 2023–09
  5. By: Daniel J. Benjamin; Kristen Cooper; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball
    Abstract: Happiness data—survey respondents’ self-reported well-being (SWB)—have become increasingly common in economics research, with recent calls to use them in policymaking. Researchers have used SWB data in novel ways, for example to learn about welfare or preferences when choice data are unavailable or difficult to interpret. Focusing on leading examples of this pioneering research, the first part of this review uses a simple theoretical framework to reverse-engineer some of the crucial assumptions that underlie existing applications. The second part discusses evidence bearing on these assumptions and provides practical advice to the agencies and institutions that generate SWB data, the researchers who use them, and the policymakers who may use the resulting research. While we advocate creative uses of SWB data in economics, we caution that their use in policy will likely require both additional data collection and further research to better understand the data.
    JEL: D60 D63 D9 I31
    Date: 2023–09
  6. By: Ipatova, Anna (Ипатова, Анна) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Vyrskaya, Marina (Вырская, Марина) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: The paper is based on the results of the research work «Methodology for conducting an administrative survey on issues of child well-being», accomplished by the team of the Field Research Center of the Institute for Social Analysis and Forecasting (RANEPA) in 2021-2022. One of the most important criteria for the country's social development is the welfare of children. In order to make the concept of «child well-being» more definite, it is necessary to reach agreement between the experts’ community, the state and its society in determining the quality of life, and to develop social research tools that allow measuring the social well-being of children. The purpose of the study is to develop and test a survey toolkit to measure the social well-being of children. The objectives of the study are to form a questionnaire that allows a complex survey of children and parents and to conduct an administrative survey in the selected regions and in Russia as a whole, as well as in the context of various social groups of children living in two-parent, single-parent, foster families and childcare institutions. Methods used include online survey, administrative survey. The object of the research is families with children. The subject of the study is the mechanism for measuring a happy childhood based on six domains: education, health, financial situation, safety, social relations, and self-fulfillment. The results of this research work can be used in (1) formulating recommendations for improving the state policy in the field of child protection and education; (2) developing recommendations for the ongoing national program of systemic support and improving the quality of life of families with children, and 3) developing recommendations to the executive authorities, taking into account the needs of children, to determine the main directions and activities of family policy.
    Keywords: social research methodology, childhood, subjective well-being, health and safety, education, relationships, financial situation, self-fulfillment
    JEL: I31 J13 J15
    Date: 2022–11–05
  7. By: Daniel J. Benjamin; Kristen Cooper; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball; Jiannan Zhou
    Abstract: Analyses of self-reported-well-being (SWB) survey data may be confounded if people use response scales differently. We use calibration questions, designed to have the same objective answer across respondents, to measure dimensional (i.e., specific to an SWB dimension) and general (i.e., common across questions) scale-use heterogeneity. In a sample of ~3, 350 MTurkers, we find substantial such heterogeneity that is correlated with demographics. We develop a theoretical framework and econometric approaches to quantify and adjust for this heterogeneity. We apply our new estimators in several standard SWB applications. Adjusting for general-scale-use heterogeneity changes results in some cases.
    JEL: C83 D60 D63 D90 D91 I14 I31
    Date: 2023–09

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