nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2013‒07‒28
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Minimising Misery: A New Strategy for Public Policies Instead of Maximising Happiness? By Lelkes, Orsolya
  2. On the measurement of the (multidimensional) inequality of health distributions By Jens L. Hougaard; Juan D. Moreno-Ternero; Lars P. Osterdal
  3. The Future of Global Poverty in a Multi-Speed World: New Estimates of Scale, Location and Cost By Peter Edward; Andy Sumner
  4. How Does China's New Labor Contract Law Affect Floating Workers? By Richard B. Freeman; Xiaoying Li
  5. Exporting and Labor Demand: Micro-Level Evidence from Germany By Lichter, Andreas; Peichl, Andreas; Siegloch, Sebastian
  6. Relative Deprivation in China By Chen, Xi
  7. Are Happier People Less Judgmental of Other People's Selfish Behaviors? Laboratory Evidence from Trust and Gift Exchange Games By Drouvelis, Michalis; Powdthavee, Nattavudh

  1. By: Lelkes, Orsolya
    Abstract: This paper raises the issue whether public policy should focus on minimizing unhappiness rather than maximizing happiness. Using a cross-sectional multi-country dataset with 57 thousand observations from 29 European countries, we show that unhappiness varies a great deal more across social groups than (high levels of) happiness does. Our findings are robust to several alternative specifications, using both self-reported life satisfaction and self-reported happiness, and different cut-off points for defining unhappiness (dissatisfaction) and high levels of happiness (satisfaction). While misery appears to strongly relate to broad social issues (such as unemployment, poverty, social isolation), bliss might be more of a private matter, with individual strategies and attitudes, hidden from the eye of a policy-maker. The social cost of unhappiness may be also reflected in the immense cost of mental health problems. Preventing avoidable unhappiness, however, needs to be complemented with other strategies for promoting happiness, perhaps on a more decentralized level, given the different causes of bliss and that of misery.
    Keywords: Happiness, Unhappiness, Life satisfaction, Public policy, Bipolar scales
    JEL: D02 I31 Z0
    Date: 2013–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:48575&r=ltv
  2. By: Jens L. Hougaard (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen); Juan D. Moreno-Ternero (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide; CORE, Université catholique de Louvain); Lars P. Osterdal (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: Health outcomes are often described according to two dimensions: quality of life and quantity of life. We analyze the measurement of inequality of health distributions referring to these two dimensions. Our analysis relies on a novel treatment of the quality-of-life dimension, which might not have a standard mathematical structure. We single out two families of (absolute and relative) multidimensional health inequality indices, inspired by the classical normative approach to income inequality measurement. We also discuss how to extend the analysis to deal with the related problem of health deprivation measurement in this setting.
    Keywords: Inequality, health, quantity of life, quality of life, QALYs, HYEs
    JEL: D63 I14
    Date: 2013–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pab:wpaper:13.02&r=ltv
  3. By: Peter Edward (Newcastle Universtiy Business School); Andy Sumner (Institute of Development Studies, Sussex)
    Abstract: Various recent papers have sought to make projections about the scale and locations of global poverty in the next 20 to 30 years. Such forecasts have significant policy implications because they are used to inform debates on the scale and objectives of future aid. However, these papers have produced some very different projections for global poverty so that a complex and rather inconsistent picture has emerged. Estimating even current global poverty levels is problematic for a range of reasons arising largely from the limitations of available data and the various alternative modeling approaches used to compensate for them. Forecasts for future poverty become further complicated by the range of scenarios for future economic growth and changes in inequality. Largely as a result of these differences, not only do different analysts arrive at very different understandings of the extent and prospects for global poverty but it is also extremely difficult to make meaningful comparisons between different analyses. (?)
    Keywords: The Future of Global Poverty in a Multi-Speed World: New Estimates of Scale, Location and Cost
    Date: 2013–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipc:wpaper:111&r=ltv
  4. By: Richard B. Freeman; Xiaoying Li
    Abstract: China’s new Labor Contract Law took effect on January 2008 and required firms to give migrant workers written contracts, strengthened labor protections for workers and contained penalties for firms that did not follow the labor code. This paper uses survey data of migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta before and after the law and a retrospective question on when workers received their first labor contract to assess the effects of the law on labor outcomes. The evidence shows that the new law increased the percentage of migrant workers with written contracts, which in turn raised social insurance coverage, reduced the likelihood of wage arrears, and raised the likelihood that the worker had a union at their workplace.
    JEL: J01 J28 J53 K31
    Date: 2013–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19254&r=ltv
  5. By: Lichter, Andreas (IZA); Peichl, Andreas (IZA); Siegloch, Sebastian (IZA)
    Abstract: It is widely believed that globalization increases the volatility of employment and decreases the bargaining power of workers. One mechanism explaining this relationship is given by the long-standing Hicks-Marshall laws of derived demand: with international trade increasing competition and therefore the price elasticity of product demand, exporters are predicted to have higher labor demand elasticities. Our paper is the first to test this relationship empirically by analyzing the effects of exporting on firms' labor demand. Using rich, administrative linked employer-employee panel data from Germany, we explicitly control for issues of self-selection and endogeneity in the firms' decisions to export by providing fixed effects and instrumental variable estimates. Our results show that exporting indeed has a positive and significant effect on the own-wage elasticity of unconditional labor demand, due to higher price elasticities of product demand.
    Keywords: trade, export, labor demand, wage elasticity, microdata, Germany
    JEL: F16 J23
    Date: 2013–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7494&r=ltv
  6. By: Chen, Xi
    Abstract: Relative deprivation (RD), also known as relative poverty , an idea implicitly put forward by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations and formally conceptualized by Runciman (1966), refers to the discontent people feel when they compare their positions to others and realize that others in the group possess something that they do not have. RD is important to Chinese people as reflected in the traditional saying “it is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix”, indicating that taking a relatively good position benefits people in the Chinese society. RD is also a pressing issue for China after its three decade unprecedented economic growth accompanied by inequalities at historically high levels. This entry reviews key measures of RD and empirical findings for China. I also discuss some of the most pressing policy issues with regard to RD.
    Keywords: Relative Deprivation, Inequality, Poverty, China
    JEL: B4 D1 D3 I1 I3 O2
    Date: 2013–01–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:48582&r=ltv
  7. By: Drouvelis, Michalis (University of Birmingham); Powdthavee, Nattavudh (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: What determines people's moral judgments of selfish behaviors? Here we study whether people's normative views in trust and gift exchange games, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance, are themselves functions of positive emotions. We used experimental survey methods to investigate people's moral judgments empirically, and explored whether we could influence subsequent judgments by deliberately making some individuals happier. We found that moral judgments of selfish behaviors in the economic context depend strongly on other people's behaviors, but their relationships are significantly moderated by an increase in happiness for the person making the judgment.
    Keywords: happiness, moral judgments, trust games, gift exchange games
    JEL: C91
    Date: 2013–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7495&r=ltv

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