Newsletter de l’Observatoire du Bien-être n°37 – Décembre 2020

Ce mois d’octobre voit à nouveau une sélection importante d’articles sur les conséquences du Covid-19, mais aussi plus généralement sur l’ensemble du champ d’intérêt de l’Observatoire.

Nous avons ce mois-ci le plaisir de souhaiter la bienvenue à deux nouveaux chercheurs dans notre réseau, Lionel Wilner (CREST), dont nous relevons ce mois-ci une contribution sur la persistance des facteurs de la satisfaction dans la vie, et Martín Fernandez Sanchez (PSE), qui vient de soutenir brillamment sa thèse.

Nous vous rappelons que vous êtes toutes et tous invité.e.s à la présentation en ligne de l’Opuscule La Valeur des réseaux, par Margherita Comola.


Mesure et corrélats de la confiance interpersonnelle dans SRCV

L’enquête SRCV de l’Insee constitue pour nous une des bases de référence pour l’étude du bien-être subjectif en France. Il s’agit d’une des plus larges enquêtes posant des questions centrales pour nos recherches. Nous attendions donc avec impatience la publication de la vague de 2018, qui intégrait une question sur la confiance interpersonnelle, question qui n’avait plus été posée depuis 2013.

Au cours des cinq ans qui séparent les deux enquêtes, la compréhension de ce sujet a évolué, et a en particulier conduit à un changement des recommandations quant à la formulation de référence. L’Insee a adopté en 2018 la formulation recommandée par l’OCDE, significativement différente de celle de 2013.

Nous montrons dans notre document de travail que ce changement de formulation explique très probablement les différences marquées dans la distribution des réponses entre la vague de 2013 et celle de 2018. Toutefois, nous montrons que ces changements ne viennent pas modifier sensiblement le poids des corrélats de la confiance interpersonnelle, en particulier l’importance du diplôme, que nous avions relevée dans de précédents travaux.

Dylan Alezra, Mathieu Perona. « Mesure et corrélats de la confiance interpersonnelle dans l’enquête SRCV. » 2020. ⟨halshs-02987149⟩

Beyond GDP

Organisée par trois ministères des Pays-Bas, cette conférence en ligne s’inscrit dans la réflexion d’ensemble sur la manière de faire du bien-être une mesure effective de l’efficacité des politiques publiques.

Présentation : Increasingly, quality of life and well-being are considered key factors in the development of society. Measuring progress by solely looking at economic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) ignores the complexity of society and individual and societal well-being. Therefore, the interest of policy-makers to take non-economic factors into account is growing, but at the same time application is complex. 

The annual Dutch Monitor of Well-being and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) looks at the different indicators of well-being for current generations, but also asks to what extent future generations will be able to reach a satisfying level of well-being and whether our lifestyle affects  well-being in other countries. The integrated framework on well-being and SDG progress provides useful information on where we are on the road towards 2030, when all 17 SDGs need to be achieved. 

The challenge we face, and the aim of this online conference, is 1) to better understand the complexities and the relationships between different indicators for well-being and the SDGs (both synergies and trade-offs) and 2) to learn how to apply information on well-being and SDGs in policy cycles. What tools can for example be used for forecasting, policy evaluations and explicit goalsetting?


Are happier people more compliant during Covid-19 lockdowns?

Introduction: To tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, governments around the world have introduced lockdowns, asking citizens to adhere to unprecedented measures restricting their personal freedoms. The legal enforcement of wide-ranging lockdowns through policing is almost impossible, so governments must rely on compliance – particularly in the case of multiple lockdowns – like we are currently experiencing in the UK.

This means that studying what makes people more likely to comply with restrictions is key to designing effective policy communication and measures to contain the pandemic.

K. Krekel, “Are happier people more compliant during Covid-19 lockdowns?”,What Works Wellbeing, 19 nov. 2020.

Wellbeing in the age of COVID-19

Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of billions of people around the world. To study its impact on subjective wellbeing, the Happiness Research Institute launched an independent, longitudinal study to track changes in wellbeing and social behaviour during the early phase of the pandemic. Starting on April 13, 2020 we surveyed 3,211 people up to six times during a three month period. Our results are based on a total sample size of 12,000 observations from 97 countries.

Loneliness, happiness, and love in times of Covid-19

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has changed not only how people spend time, but with whom they spend it. Partnered people may be spending more time with a spouse or cohabitor while singles spend more time alone. This column investigates how these changes in time allocation might affect individual feelings of wellbeing. Time diaries from the US and the UK suggest that married couples compelled to spend more time together may experience increased happiness, while the crisis could take an emotional toll on unmarried individuals forced to spend more time alone.

Daniel Hamermesh, “Loneliness, happiness, and love in times of Covid-19”, VoxEU, 19 November 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Singapore

Abstract: We provide novel evidence on how the COVID-19 global health and economic crisis is affecting overall life satisfaction and domain-specific satisfaction using data from a monthly longitudinal survey of middle-aged and older Singaporeans. Using a difference-in-differences framework, we document large declines in overall life satisfaction and domain-specific satisfaction during the COVID-19 outbreak, except satisfaction with health. These declines coincide with the introduction of a nationwide lockdown, with life satisfaction remaining below its pre-pandemic levels even after the lockdown is lifted. We also find that individuals who report a drop in household income during the COVID-19 outbreak experience a decline in overall life satisfaction almost twice as large as those who do not report any income loss.

Cheng, Terence Chai, Kim, Seonghoon and Koh, Kanghyock, (2020), “The Impact of COVID-19 on Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Singapore,” No 13702, IZA Discussion Papers, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Factors Associated With Mental Health Disorders Among University Students in France Confined During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Findings: This survey study of 69 054 students who experienced quarantine found high prevalence rates of severe self-reported mental health symptoms. Among risk factors identified, female or nonbinary gender, problems with income or housing, history of psychiatric follow-up, symptoms compatible with COVID-19, social isolation, and low quality of information received were associated with altered mental health.

Wathelet M, Duhem S, Vaiva G, et al. “Factors Associated With Mental Health Disorders Among University Students in France Confined During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. JAMA Netw Open. 2020; 3(10): e2025591.
Le CN2R a réalisé une infographie des principaux résultats de l’article.

Coping with COVID-19: Implications of Differences in Resilience across Racial Groups for Mental Health and Well-being

Abstract: Question: In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic revealed differences across racial groups in coping, resilience, and optimism, all of which have implications for health and mental well-being?; Findings: Data obtained from 5,000 US survey respondents using a national sample indicate that, despite extreme income and health disparities before and during the COVID-19 outbreak, Blacks and Hispanics remain more resilient and optimistic than their White counterparts. Moreover, the greatest difference in resilience, optimism and better mental health—is found between poor Blacks and poor Whites, with some linkages to behaviors in compliance with lockdown guidelines; Meaning: These deep differences in resilience have implications for the long-term mental health of different population groups in the face of an unprecedented pandemic. Better understanding these dynamics may provide lessons on how to preserve mental health in the face of public health and other large-scale crises.

Graham, Carol, Hamilton, Barton H., Chun, Yung, Roll, Stephen, Ross, Will, Joynt-Maddox, Karen E. and Grinstein-Weiss, Michal, (2020), “Coping with COVID-19: Implications of Differences in Resilience across Racial Groups for Mental Health and Well-being”, No 2020-067, Working Papers, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group,.

Lu sur le Web

The persistence of subjective wellbeing: permanent happiness, transitory misery?

Abstract: This paper disentangles the roles played by state dependence and unobserved heterogeneity in self-assessed happiness. It estimates a dynamic nonlinear model of subjective well-being on longitudinal data, primarily from France, but also from Australia, Germany, and the UK. Life satisfaction is persistent over time, which static models ignore. This persistence is heterogeneous across individuals: it concerns mostly those already happy with their lives while, in contrast, unhappiness seems more transitory. The impact of initial conditions is large in comparison with usual determinants of happiness, or with state dependence.

Wilner, L., (2020), “The persistence of subjective wellbeing: permanent happiness, transitory misery?”, Documents de Travail de l’Insee – INSEE Working Papers, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques.

Les codes (Stata) utilisés sont disponibles sur la page de l’auteur.

Smartphone-Based Ecological Momentary Assessment of Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Recommendations for Future Studies

Abstract: Feelings of well-being and happiness fluctuate over time and contexts. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) studies can capture fluctuations in momentary behavior, and experiences by assessing these multiple times per day. Traditionally, EMA was performed using pen and paper. Recently, due to technological advances EMA studies can be conducted more easily with smartphones, a device ubiquitous in our society. The goal of this review was to evaluate the literature on smartphone-based EMA in well-being research in healthy subjects. The systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Searching PubMed and Web of Science, we identified 53 studies using smartphone-based EMA of well-being. Studies were heterogeneous in designs, context, and measures. The average study duration was 12.8 days, with well-being assessed 2–12 times per day. Half of the studies included objective data (e.g. location). Only 47.2% reported compliance, indicating a mean of 71.6%. Well-being fluctuated daily and weekly, with higher well-being in evenings and weekends. These fluctuations disappeared when location and activity were accounted for. On average, being in nature and physical activity relates to higher well-being. Working relates to lower well-being, but workplace and company do influence well-being. The important advantages of using smartphones instead of other devices to collect EMAs are the easier data collection and flexible designs. Smartphone-based EMA reach far larger maximum sample sizes and more easily add objective data to their designs than palm-top/PDA studies. Smartphone-based EMA research is feasible to gain insight in well-being fluctuations and its determinants and offers the opportunity for parallel objective data collection. Most studies currently focus on group comparisons, while studies on individual differences in well-being patterns and fluctuations are lacking. We provide recommendations for future smartphone-based EMA research regarding measures, objective data and analyses.

de Vries, L.P., Baselmans, B.M.L. & Bartels, M. “Smartphone-Based Ecological Momentary Assessment of Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Recommendations for Future Studies.” J Happiness Stud (2020).

Biais de genre dans les évaluations par les étudiants

Un ensemble cohérent d’études documentent l’existence d’un biais défavorable aux enseignantes dans l’évaluation par les étudiants (exemple). Une récente expérimentation menée à l’Université de Floride montre que ce constat est valable pour les Teaching Assistants. Une classe de 136 personnes a été affecté aléatoirement en deux groupes pour un TD conduit uniquement à distance et uniquement sous forme d’interactions textuelles. Le CV publié du TA était identique pour les deux groupe, seule changeait une photo de profil, avec un homme dans un cas et une femme dans l’autre, tous deux représentés dans une situation de collecte d’échantillons. À la fin du semestre, le profil masculin a reçu de meilleurs évaluations, celles du profil féminin étant pénalisées par cinq fois plus d’évaluations négatives.

Do far-right mayors increase the probability of hate-crimes? Evidence from Italy

Abstract: In this paper, I investigate whether the election of far-right politicians affects the probability of hate crimes against immigrants. I exploit a unique dataset on hate crimes, and I focus on local mayors in Italy, a country where political support for extreme right has soared recently. The high number of municipalities allows me to perform a Regression Discontinuity (RD) analysis and establish a causal relationship between the appointment of far-right politicians and hate crimes by focusing on local elections won or lost with a tiny margin of victory by far-right candidates. Results show that in municipalities where extreme right mayors are in power, the likelihood of a hate crime occurring is significantly higher (around five percentage points). The effect of the far-right mayors on hate crimes is particularly strong straight after their election. Furthermore, it persists when considering the most severe acts, including physical assaults. I find two mechanisms particularly relevant. First, I demonstrate that the election of an extreme right mayor generates an erosion of social norms. This behavioral change does not occur only in the municipalities where the mayors are elected: using a staggered difference-in-differences approach, I prove the existence of spillover effects on hate crimes also in the surrounding municipalities, especially in areas where the extreme right presence is recent. Second, I explore the Internet’s role, and I show that the results are driven from municipalities with higher Internet penetration.

Alessio Romarri, “Do far-right mayors increase the probability of hate-crimes? Evidence from Italy”, 2020.

Valuing time over money predicts happiness after a major life transition: A preregistered longitudinal study of graduating students

Abstract: How does prioritizing time or money shape major life decisions and subsequent well-being? In a preregistered longitudinal study of approximately 1000 graduating university students, respondents who valued time over money chose more intrinsically rewarding activities and were happier 1 year after graduation. These results remained significant controlling for baseline happiness and potential confounds, such as materialism and socioeconomic status, and when using alternative model specifications. These findings extend previous research by showing that the tendency to value time over money is predictive not only of daily consumer choices but also of major life decisions. In addition, this research uncovers a previously unidentified mechanism—the pursuit of intrinsically motivated activities—that underlies the previously observed association between valuing time and happiness. This work sheds new light on whether, when, and how valuing time shapes happiness.

Ashley Whillans, Lucía Macchia, Elizabeth Dunn, “Valuing time over money predicts happiness after a major life transition: A preregistered longitudinal study of graduating students”, Science Advances, 18 Sep 2019

Civic honesty around the globe

Abstract: Civic honesty is essential to social capital and economic development but is often in conflict with material self-interest. We examine the trade-off between honesty and self-interest using field experiments in 355 cities spanning 40 countries around the globe. In these experiments, we turned in more than 17,000 lost wallets containing varying amounts of money at public and private institutions and measured whether recipients contacted the owners to return the wallets. In virtually all countries, citizens were more likely to return wallets that contained more money. Neither nonexperts nor professional economists were able to predict this result. Additional data suggest that our main findings can be explained by a combination of altruistic concerns and an aversion to viewing oneself as a thief, both of which increase with the material benefits of dishonesty.

Alain Cohn, Michel André Maréchal, David Tannenbaum, Christian Lukas Zünd, “Civic honesty around the globe”, Science,05 Jul 2019: 70-73