nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2023‒11‒20
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Distance Work and Life Satisfaction after the COVID-19 Pandemics By Leonardo Becchetti; Gianluigi Conzo; Fabio Pisani
  2. Are the upwardly mobile more left-wing? By Andrew E. Clark; Maria Cotofan
  3. Walk the Talk: Measuring Green Preferences with Social Media Data By Bram De Rock; Florine Le Henaff
  4. Sustainable University Building and Students’ Academic Performance and Wellbeing By Piet Eichholtz; Stefan Flagner; Nils Kok; Rick Kramer; Steffen Kuenn; Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt; Guy Plasqui; Xudong Sun

  1. By: Leonardo Becchetti (CEIS & DEF, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Gianluigi Conzo (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Fabio Pisani (University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: We use data of the 10th European Social Survey containing information on COVID-19 and work at distance. We find that working with employers that accept working from home or place of choice less than before the COVID-19 period impacts negatively and significantly on respondents’ wellbeing. We calculate that the reduction of this opportunity produces a fall of 5.6 percent in the probability of declaring high life satisfaction, the effect being concentrated in the subsample of respondents with work-life balance problems where the magnitude of the impact goes up to a maximum of 11 percent. Our findings contribute to explain the COVID-19 Easterlin paradox (contemporary occurrence of a sharp fall in GDP and non decrease/increase, in life satisfaction in the first 2020 COVID-19 year in many countries) and the great resignation - the rise of quit rates after COVID-19, partly motivated by absence of offers of hybrid contracts allowing a mix of work in presence and work at distance
    Keywords: distance work, life satisfaction, COVID-19
    JEL: I31 J08
    Date: 2023–11–07
  2. By: Andrew E. Clark; Maria Cotofan
    Abstract: It is well-known that the wealthier are more likely to have Right-leaning political preferences. We here in addition consider the role of the individual's starting position, and in particular their upward social mobility relative to their parents. In 18 waves of UK panel data, both own and parental social status are independently positively associated with Right-leaning voting and political preferences: given their own social status, the upwardly-mobile are therefore more Left-wing. We investigate a number of potential mediators: these results do not reflect the relationship between well-being and own and parents' social status but are rather linked to the individual's beliefs about how fair society is.
    Keywords: social mobility, voting, redistribution, satisfaction, fairness, Technological change, Wellbeing
    Date: 2023–07–21
  3. By: Bram De Rock; Florine Le Henaff
    Abstract: We created a unique data set based on social media data by collecting and geo-localising all the tweets of 54 thousand Swedish citizens from January 2019 to June 2019. This allows us to construct an attractive individual-level measure of preferences for pro-environmental behavior. We demonstrate this by using our measure in two applications. We first document a subjective well-being gap between individuals with and without green preferences, using the average sentiment scores in tweets as a proxy of individuals’ subjective well-being. We then investigate the existence of a gender gap in green preferences and the propensity to act for the environment, relating our measure to publicly available data on electric and hybrid car registrations and political support for environmental policies in Sweden.
    Keywords: Individual preferences, social media, pro-environmental behavior, subjective well-being, gender identities
    Date: 2023–10
  4. By: Piet Eichholtz; Stefan Flagner; Nils Kok; Rick Kramer; Steffen Kuenn; Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt; Guy Plasqui; Xudong Sun
    Abstract: Academic achievement of students is a major determinant for their subsequent professional careers. Thus, university classrooms should offer optimal learning environments fostering students’ cognitive performance and development. However, university buildings are often poorly ventilated and in need of renovation. Past studies have shown that poor indoor environmental quality in terms of the thermal environment and air quality impairs cognitive performance. This study uses a quasi-experimental setup to investigate the effects of a sustainable university building on students’ academic performance and wellbeing. We randomly assigned a sample of about 1200 first-year Maastricht University bachelor students in economics and business into a control and treatment group. The treatment group had their four weekly 2-hour tutorials in a newly renovated building certified with the WELL Building Silver Standard. The control group stayed in the old building, which has been in service for the university since 1976, with the most recent renovation in 2002. In each of the tutorial rooms, we measured indoor temperature, relative humidity, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), fine particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) during two course periods from November to December 2022 and from February to March 2023, each lasting seven weeks. We recorded the grades, the course evaluations, and student survey responses on their perception of the indoor environment during each course. Each tutor taught classes in both buildings, allowing a natural tutor-fixed effect. Preliminary results from the first period showed that CO2 and VOC concentrations were significantly lower in the certified building. No substantial differences in students’ grades were found. However, students reported a better mood, a higher satisfaction, and believed that the certified building had a positive impact on their performance. Contrarily, they reported that the lighting conditions and noise levels of the certified building hindered their performance. The next step will be to incorporate the data from the second test period examining possible longitudinal effects. All data collection will be finished by the end of March 2023, and we will do the remaining analysis and the paper write-up in April and May.
    Keywords: Cognition; Green Building; Indoor Environmental Quality; Well-Being
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2023–01–01

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