Evaluating the contribution of nature to well-being: The case of ecosystem services related to fish-farming ponds in France

Ecosystem Services (ES) can contribute to several aspects of human well-being (WB) that we understand as the subjective perception that individuals have of their quality of life, depending on a set of factors. We compare the relative weights of the WB factors resulting from ES (ES-based) and those that do not depend on ES (non-ES-based), from an online survey (N = 1006) relating to ES linked to fish-farming ponds in France. A summary variable, the "WB profile", allows to identify individuals (38% of respondents) whose WB is strongly linked to the presence of ES (the number of ES-based WB factors is greater than the number of non-ES-based WB factors). The WB profile of these individuals is an..

Economics of Happiness

A Formal Representation of Smith's Gravitational Theory of Happiness

Economics of Happiness

The Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health and Subjective Wellbeing of Workers: An Event Study Based on High-Frequency Panel Data

"Using individual monthly panel data from December 2018 to December 2020, we estimate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and two lockdowns on the mental health and subjective well-being of German workers. Employing an event-study design using individual-specific fixed effects, we find that the first and the second wave of the pandemic reduced workers’ mental health substantially. Momentary happiness and life satisfaction also decline in response to Covid-19, but to a smaller extent. We observe adaptation in our study outcomes between waves of the pandemic. This applies to a lesser extent to indicators of well-being in certain areas of life, such as satisfaction with the job and with leisu..

Economics of Happiness

Entrepreneurial Accessibility, Eudaimonic Well-Being, and Inequality

Amidst considerable debate on the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic inequality, scholarship only indirectly addresses how entrepreneurship informs individuals’ relative well-being. We theorize on the nuanced relationship between entrepreneurship and equality of eudaimonic well-being through the lens of New Institutional Economics. Drawing on theories of human flourishing, we suggest that entrepreneurial action is an underappreciated mechanism by which individuals pursue well-being. Equality of well-being is thus influenced by a society’s entrepreneurial accessibility: the freedom of individuals to choose to engage in entrepreneurial action. We present a multilevel framew..

Economics of Happiness

Income Comparison and Happiness within Households

This paper applies the German Socio-Economic Panel to analyse the effect of within household income comparison on individual life satisfaction. Our estimates indicate, a primary breadwinner wife decreases spousal individual happiness by roughly nine per cent. To state the economic significance, a €70,000 increase in external, peer reference income corresponds to a similar individual happiness decrease. The estimates suggest envy effects among couples and provide mixed evidence for gender roles to influence subjective well-being. Based on subsample estimations, our results are driven by younger birth year quartiles, lower education and total income households, East German couples and househ..

Economics of Happiness

Bread and Social Justice: Measurement of Social Welfare and Inequality Using Anthropometrics

We address the question of the measurement of health achievement and inequality in the context of variables exhibiting an inverted-U relation with health and well-being. The chosen approach is to measure separately achievement and inequality in the health increasing range of the variable, from a lower survival bound ?? to an optimum value ??, and in the health decreasing range from ?? to an upper survival bound ??. Because in the health decreasing range, the equally distributed equivalent value associated with a distribution is decreasing in progressive transfers, the paper introduces appropriate relative and absolute achievement and inequality indices to be used for variables exhibiting a n..

Economics of Happiness

Inferring Inequality: Testing for Median-Preserving Spreads in Ordinal Data

The median-preserving spread (MPS) ordering for ordinal variables (Allison and Foster, 2004) has become ubiquitous in the inequality literature. However, the literature lacks an explicit frequentist method for inferring whether an ordered multinomial distribution G is more unequal than F according to the MPS criterion. We devise formal statistical tests of the hypothesis that G is not an MPS of F. Rejection of this hypothesis enables the conclusion that G is robustly more unequal than F. Using Monte Carlo simulations and novel graphical techniques, we fi nd that the choice between Z and Likelihood Ratio test statistics does not have a large impact on the properties of the tests, but that the..

Economics of Happiness

Abiturjahrgang 2020: Ohne Abiball zum Studium - allein am Bildschirm bricht die Lebenszufriedenheit ein (The Abtitur class of 2020: From school to university without a prom - alone in front of the pc screen life satisfaction decreases)

"Measures to contain the Covid 19 pandemic led to school closures shortly before and during the Abitur exams in Germany. Therefore, students from the final high school grade had to revisit their learning arrangements, i.e. shifting from onsite final exam preparation to home schooling and often from teacher guided learning to self-administrated learning. Simultaneously uncertainty about the timing of the final examinations increased because a public debate about when and whether at all final examinations should take place arose. Based on the BerO study of the Institute for Employment Research this report examines the overall life satisfaction, educational plans and the start in higher educati..

Economics of Happiness

Transportation and Quality of Life: Evidence from Denmark

This paper investigates the importance of transportation for quality of life in Denmark. We first calibrate a simple general equilibrium model to analyse how local wage levels, housing costs, and commuting costs vary across urban areas as well as to construct a quality of life index that measures a representative household's willingness to pay for local amenities. We find that the quality of life is high in large cities. Wages and rents are also substantially higher in the urban areas that are dense. We then regress the quality of life index on observed amenities to infer how much quality of life is associated with transportation. Our empirical results suggest that the quality of the public ..

Economics of Happiness

Evaluating Wildfire Exposure: Using Wellbeing Data to Estimate and Value the Impacts of Wildfire

This paper estimates and quantifies the wellbeing effects of the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, the deadliest wildfire event in Australia's known history. Using subjective wellbeing data from a nationally representative longitudinal study and adopting an individual fixed-effects approach, our results identify a significant reduction in life satisfaction for individuals residing in close proximity of the wildfires. The negative wellbeing effect is valued at A$52,300 per annum; corresponding to 80% of the average annual income of a full-time employed adult. The satisfaction domain most negatively affected is how safe the person feels, and the group most affected are people with low social supp..

Economics of Happiness

The Consequences of Chronic Pain in Mid-Life: Evidence from the National Child Development Survey

Using data from all those born in a single week in 1958 in Britain we track the consequences of short pain and chronic pain in mid-life (age 44) on health, wellbeing and labor market outcomes in later life. We examine data taken at age 50 in 2008, when the Great Recession hit and then five years later at age 55 in 2013. We find those suffering both short-term and chronic pain at age 44 continue to report pain and poor general health in their 50s. However, the associations are much stronger for those with chronic pain. Furthermore, chronic pain at age 44 is associated with a range of poor mental health outcomes, pessimism about the future and joblessness at age 55 whereas short-duration pain ..

Economics of Happiness

Deviations From Standard Family Histories and Subjective Wellbeing at Older Ages

Life course research emphasizes that health and wellbeing at older ages are influenced by experiences occurred in the previous stages of life. Several studies have focused on fertility and partnership histories and health at older ages, but fewer have examined subjective wellbeing (SWB), especially using a holistic approach. Another strand of the literature demonstrated that non-standard family behaviors negatively influence SWB. We contribute to these strands of the literature by examining the association between non-standardness of family histories and SWB at older ages. We argue that individuals who experienced non-standard trajectories have been exposed to social sanctions throughout the..

Economics of Happiness

Double-Edged Sword: Persistent Effects of Communism on Life Satisfaction

Communism was a two-edged sword for the trustees of the former regime. Communist party members and their relatives enjoyed status and privileges, while secret police informants were often coerced to work clandestinely and gather compromising materials about friends, colleagues, and neighbors. We examine the long-term consequences of such connections to the communist regime for life satisfaction in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. We also calculate a monetary equivalent of those effects and empirically test mechanisms. The findings underscore that past communist regime connections have a persistent but differential effect on life satisfaction.

Economics of Happiness

Pandemic Policy and Life Satisfaction in Europe

We use data from the COME-HERE longitudinal survey collected by the University of Luxembourg to assess the effects of the policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic on life satisfaction in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden over the course of 2020. Policy responses are measured by the Stringency Index and the Economic Support Index from the Blavatnik School of Government. Stringency is systematically associated with lower life satisfaction, controlling for the intensity of the pandemic itself. This stringency effect is larger for women, those with weak ties to the labour market, and in richer households. The effect of the Economic Support is never statistically different from zero.

Economics of Happiness

Does Sports Make People Happier, or Do Happy People More Sports?

We contribute to the happiness literature by analyzing the causal relationship between sports and happiness. Using longitudinal data from the German Socio- Economic Panel (GSOEP), we find a positive correlation between sports participa- tion and reported life satisfaction. This relationship is stronger at younger and older ages than in middle age, and for people in bad health compared to those in average health. We further provide evidence for both causal directions. It turns out that the causal impact of engaging in sports on happiness is about four times higher than the effect of happiness on engaging in sports.

Economics of Happiness

The Impact of Victimisation on Subjective Well-Being

This paper uses the UK Household Longitudinal Study to explore the relationship between victimisation and several measures of subjective well-being. Using person fixed effects models, I find that being attacked or insulted both significantly reduce well-being at the mean, with no significant differences between men and women in the effect size. Next, using unconditional quantile regression with fixed effects models, I identify the highly heterogeneous effects of victimisation along the unconditional well-being distribution. The effect of victimisation on subjective wellbeing is monotonically decreasing, with those at ‘worse’ quantiles of the well-being distribution experiencing the large..

Economics of Happiness

The Welfare Effects of Time Reallocation: Evidence from Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is currently implemented by more than seventy countries, yet we do not have a clear knowledge of how it affects individuals' welfare. Using a regression discontinuity design combined with a differences-in-differences approach, we find that the Spring DST causes a significant decline in life satisfaction. By inducing a reallocation of time, the transition into DST deteriorates sleep and increases time stress, which in turn affects physical and emotional health. After performing a simple cost-benefit analysis, we find evidence suggestive that ending DST would exert a positive effect on welfare, namely the wellbeing costs associated with DST exceed its benefits.

Economics of Happiness

The Economics of Walking About and Predicting Unemployment

Unemployment is notoriously difficult to predict. In previous studies, once country fixed effects are added to panel estimates, few variables predict changes in unemployment rates. Using panel data for 29 European countries - Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czechia; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Turkey and the UK - over 439 months between January 1985 and July 2021 in an unbalanced country*month panel of just over 10000 observations, we predict changes in the unemployment rate 12 months in advance based on individuals’ ..

Economics of Happiness

The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health and Subjective Well-Being of Workers: An Event Study Based on High-Frequency Panel Data

Using individual monthly panel data from December 2018 to December 2020, we estimate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and two lockdowns on the mental health and subjective well-being of German workers. Employing an event-study design using individual-specific fixed effects, we find that the first and the second wave of the pandemic reduced workers' mental health substantially. Momentary happiness and life satisfaction also decline in response to Covid-19, but to a smaller extent. We observe adapation in our study outcomes between waves of the pandemic. This applies to a lesser extent to indicators of well-being in certain areas of life, such as satisfaction with the job and with leisure, ..

Economics of Happiness

Getting Warmer: Fuel Poverty, Objective and Subjective Health and Well-Being

This paper uses data from Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study to explore the association between fuel poverty and a set of well-being outcomes: life-satisfaction, self-reported health measures and more objectively measured biomarker data. Over and above the conventional income–fuel cost indicators, we also use more proximal heating deprivation indicators. We create and draw upon a set of composite indicators that concomitantly capture (the lack of) affordability and thermal comfort. Depending on which fuel deprivation indicator is used, we find heterogeneous associations between fuel poverty and our well-being outcomes. Employing combined fuel deprivation indicators,..

Economics of Happiness

The Analysis of Human Feelings: A Practical Suggestion for a Robustness Test

Governments, multinational companies, and researchers today collect unprecedented amounts of data on human feelings. These data provide information on citizens' happiness, levels of customer satisfaction, employees' satisfaction, mental stress, societal trust, and other important variables. Yet a key scientific difficulty tends to be downplayed, or even ignored, by many users of such information. Human feelings are not measured in objective cardinal units. This paper aims to address some of the ensuing empirical challenges. It suggests an analytical way to approach the scientific complications of ordinal data. The paper describes a dichotomous-around-the-median (DAM) test, which, crucially, ..

Economics of Happiness

Getting warmer: fuel poverty, objective and subjective health and well-being

This paper uses data from Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study to explore the association between fuel poverty and a set of well-being outcomes: lifesatisfaction, self-reported health measures and more objectively measured biomarker data. Over and above the conventional income–fuel cost indicators, we also use more proximal heating deprivation indicators. We create and draw upon a set of composite indicators that concomitantly capture (the lack of) affordability and thermal comfort. Depending on which fuel deprivation indicator is used, we find heterogeneous associations between fuel poverty and our well-being outcomes. Employing combined fuel deprivation indicat..

Economics of Happiness

Women's Well-Being During a Pandemic and its Containment

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the dual crises of disease and the containment policies designed to mitigate it. Yet, there is little evidence on the impacts of these policies on women, who are likely to be especially vulnerable, in lower-income countries. We conduct a large phone survey and leverage India's geographically-varying containment policies to estimate the association between both the pandemic and its containment policies, and measures of women's well-being, including mental health and food security. On aggregate, the pandemic resulted in dramatic income losses, increases in food insecurity, and declines in female mental health. While potentially crucial to stem the spread of COVID-..

Economics of Happiness

Why Does Happiness Respond Differently to an Increase vs. Decrease in Income?

The answer is that people's evaluations of their income situation are based on different considerations when the economy is expanding and when it is contracting. When, in the course of economic growth, incomes generally are rising, evaluations tend to be dominated by "social comparison"—what is happening to the incomes of others. An increase in the incomes of others undercuts the tendency for happiness to grow with an increase in one's own income, and happiness remains fairly constant. But in a recession, as people increasingly have difficulty meeting their fixed financial obligations, the benchmark for income evaluations turns inward. "Financial hardship", the shortfall from one's own pre..

Economics of Happiness

Is happiness u-shaped in age everywhere? A methodological reconsideration for Europe

A recent contribution to research on age and well-being (Blanchflower 2021) found that the impact of age on happiness is "u-shaped" virtually everywhere: happiness declines towards middle age and subsequently rises, in almost all countries. This paper evaluates that finding for European countries, considering whether it is robust to alternative methodological approaches. The analysis here excludes control variables that are affected by age (noting that those variable are not themselves antecedents of age) and uses data from the entire adult age range (rather than using data only from respondents younger than 70). I also explore the relationship via models that do not impose a quadratic funct..

Economics of Happiness

The Consumption, Income, and Well-Being of Single Mother Headed Families 25 Years After Welfare Reform

We investigate how material well-being has changed over time for single mother headed families—the primary group affected by welfare reform and other policy changes of the 1990s. We focus on consumption as well as other indicators including components of consumption, measures of housing quality, and health insurance coverage. The results provide strong evidence that the material circumstances of single mothers improved in the decades following welfare reform. The consumption of the most disadvantaged single mother headed families—those with low consumption or low education—rose noticeably over time and at a faster rate than for those in comparison groups.

Economics of Happiness

Footsie, Yeah! Share Prices and Worker Wellbeing

A small literature has shown that individual wellbeing varies with the price of company stock, but it is unclear whether this is due to wealth effects among those holding stock, or more general effects on sentiment, with individuals taking rising stock prices as an indicator of improvements in the economy. We contribute to this literature by using two data sets to establish the relationship between share prices on the one hand and worker wellbeing on the other. First, we use data on share price movements and employee stock holding in a single corporation and provide suggestive evidence that an increase in the firm's stock price increases the wellbeing of those who belong to its employee shar..

Economics of Happiness

The Impact of the Minimum Wage Increase on Subjective Wellbeing: Evidence from Japan

This study examines the association between subjective wellbeing and minimum wage using the Japan Panel Survey of Consumers (JPSC). JPSC investigates Japanese young and middle-aged women with a relatively high proportion of low-paid, non-regular workers. Based on fixed-effects models, the estimated results revealed no significant effect of minimum wage when using the continuous variable of life satisfaction as the dependent variable. However, we found a significant positive association between the minimum wage and life satisfaction when a dummy variable indicating whether the respondent had a high life satisfaction was used as the independent variable. This positive association was robust ag..

Economics of Happiness

Loneliness and personal wellbeing in young people: moderating effects of individual, social and community factors

The aim of the current study was to assess associations between loneliness and personal wellbeing among young people. Framed by social ecological theory, the study examined demographic, social, and community factors associated with personal wellbeing and, critically, identified malleable moderators of the relationship between loneliness and personal wellbeing that could be targeted in intervention efforts. We used cross-sectional, secondary data from 965 young people (aged 16-24) from the Community Life Survey in England. Loneliness was measured using a single-item direct measure; personal wellbeing was measured through a composite measure containing items relating to happiness, life satisfa..

Economics of Happiness

Does Participation in Community Activities Increase One's Subjective Well-Being?: Quantitative Analysis Considering Causality and External Effect in Japan

In recent years, interest in community activities has been growing. This study examines the causal relationship between community activity participation and subjective well-being, using data from a nationwide online questionnaire survey. The results show that participation in community activities increases the subjective well-being of individuals, and that it would also increase the well-being of non-participants through improvements of the local living environment and the propagation of the sense of well-being. These results support the significance of policy initiatives to community activities and indicate that such policies could be evaluated in terms of well-being.

Economics of Happiness