nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2023‒11‒06
five papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Harmonizing the Yin and Yang: Gender Disparities in Subjective Well-Being after Retirement in China By Erkmen G. Aslim; Shin-Yi Chou; Han Yu
  2. More Education Does Make You Happier – Unless You Are Unemployed By Bertermann, Alexander; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  3. Are Senior Entrepreneurs Happier than Who? The Role of Income and Health By Michael Fritsch; Alina Sorgner; Michael Wyrwich
  4. The Welfare Effects of Ad-Blocking By Fengyang Lin; Cristobal Cheyre; Alessandro Acquisti
  5. The impact of digital development on human well being and vice versa By Laitsou, Eleni; Xenakis, Apostolos

  1. By: Erkmen G. Aslim; Shin-Yi Chou; Han Yu
    Abstract: China’s distinctive demographic landscape, early retirement policies, and deeply ingrained gender norms provide a unique backdrop for investigating gender disparities in retirement and subjective well-being. Drawing upon data from the China Family Panel Studies and leveraging the variation around the pensionable age cutoff, we find substantial increases in retirement rates, surging by 19 percentage points for males and 13 percentage points for females in proximity to this age threshold. Notably, retirement manifests significant gender heterogeneity in its influence on life satisfaction, leading to an enhancement among males while not yielding statistically significant improvements among females. Furthermore, this study probes multiple dimensions of subjective well-being and objective health behaviors, laying bare gender disparities in health, behaviors, perceptions of income and social status, and confidence about the future. Males showcase improvements in healthy behaviors, report enhanced self-perceived health, perceive higher relative income and social status, and exude greater confidence about their future. In stark contrast, females show no statistically significant changes along these dimensions. In fact, they tend to engage in health-compromising behaviors, such as increased smoking, and exhibit higher rates of obesity. These findings underscore the imperative of recognizing gender disparities in the consequences of retirement on subjective well-being. They highlight the need for targeted policies aimed at enhancing social and economic opportunities for women, ultimately striving for greater gender equality in the post-retirement phase.
    JEL: I10 I12 I31 J16 J26
    Date: 2023–10
  2. By: Bertermann, Alexander (LMU Munich); Kamhöfer, Daniel A. (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal effect of education on life satisfaction, exploring effect heterogeneity along employment status. We use exogenous variation in compulsory schooling requirements and the build-up of new, academically more demanding schools, shifting educational attainment along the entire distribution of schooling. Leveraging plant closures and longitudinal information, we also address the endogeneity of employment status. We find a positive effect of education on life satisfaction for employed individuals, but a negative one for those without a job. We propose an aspiration-augmented utility function as a unifying explanation for the asymmetric effect of education on life satisfaction.
    Keywords: education, life satisfaction, employment status, compulsory schooling reforms, school openings, instrumental variable estimation
    JEL: I26 I31 C26
    Date: 2023–09
  3. By: Michael Fritsch (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany); Alina Sorgner (John Cabot University Rome, Italy, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), and Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel)); Michael Wyrwich (University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)
    Abstract: We propose an extension of the standard occupational choice model to analyze the life satisfaction of senior entrepreneurs as compared to paid employees and particularly retirees in Germany. The analysis identifies income and health status as main factors that shape the relationship between occupational status and life satisfaction. Senior entrepreneurs enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction than retirees and senior paid employees. This higher life satisfaction is mainly due to their higher income. Physical and mental health play a crucial role in determining both an individual’s occupational status and their overall life satisfaction. We find that senior self-employed report to be healthier compared to other groups of elderly individuals. However, when controlling for health, retirees exhibit an even higher level of life satisfaction compared to their self-employed counterparts. Heterogeneity analysis of various types of senior entrepreneurs and senior paid employees confirms this general pattern. In addition, we find some evidence indicating that senior entrepreneurs may compromise their leisure time, a main asset of retired individuals. Implications for research, policy, and practitioners are discussed.
    Keywords: Senior entrepreneurship, health conditions, well†being, life satisfaction, age
    JEL: L26 I31 J10 D91
    Date: 2023–10–20
  4. By: Fengyang Lin (Cornell Bowers CIS, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853); Cristobal Cheyre (Cornell Bowers CIS, Cornell University, Gates Hall 210, Ithaca, NY 14853); Alessandro Acquisti (Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, HBH 2105C, Pittsburgh, PA 15213)
    Abstract: Concerns regarding online tracking and excessive advertising have led to a marked increase in the adoption of Ad-Blocking tools. We conduct a field experiment to study users’ valuation of Ad-Blockers, and to study how exposing or shielding users from online advertising influences their online experiences, their attitudes towards online advertising, their valuation of ad-blocking tools, and their future usage of such tools. We find that for users currently using an ad-blocker, uninstalling them leads to a deterioration in their online experiences and lower satisfaction with recent purchases. For users that were not using Ad-Blockers, installing one led to fewer reported regrets with purchases, an improvement in subjective well-being, and a less positive view of online advertising. In terms of users’ valuation of Ad-Blockers, we observe a great degree of heterogeneity. Some users are not willing to uninstall their Ad-Blocker even if offered large payments (>$100). Conversely, a similar number of users are not willing to install an Ad-Blocker even if offered large payments. However, most users are willing to install/uninstall an Ad-Blocker in exchange for moderate payments (
    Keywords: Online Advertising; Ad-Blockers
    JEL: D12 I31 L82 L86 M37
    Date: 2023–09
  5. By: Laitsou, Eleni; Xenakis, Apostolos
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship between human well-being and digital development, focusing on the case study of EU-27 countries during the period from 2018 to 2021. The investigation utilizes two key indicators: the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which assesses the digital performance of Europe, and the Human Development Index (HDI), a United Nations metric for measuring citizen well-being. The primary objective of this study is to determine the relationship between a country's DESI and HDI values and to explore the possible categorization of countries based on these indicators over the study period. Additionally, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on these indicators is examined. According to the findings a better understanding of the dynamic interplay between digital development and human well-being is achieved, offering valuable insights for policymakers and researchers.
    Keywords: Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), Human Development Index (HDI), European countries, Covid-19 pandemic, regression analysis
    Date: 2023

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