Newsletter de l’Observatoire du Bien-être n°48 – Décembre 2021

Alors que la fin de l’année approche, notre sélection d’articles du mois insiste à nouveau sur les conséquences de la pandémie. Si nous ne sommes pas encore sorties de celles-ci, les conséquences directes de la première vagues commencent à apparaître plus clairement.

Nous mettons aussi en lumière le lancement du programme IDEE, hébergé par le J-PAL Europe. Cet équipement constituera un appui précieux pour l’expérimentation en milieu éducatif, avec déjà un grand chantier de simplification de l’accès aux données administratives pour la recherche.


Linking Subjective Wellbeing and Pro-environmental Behaviour: A Multidimensional Approach

Abstract: In recent years, policy-makers have taken steps towards acknowledging the importance of mental states when appraising citizens’ wellbeing on the one side and the urgent challenge of shifting towards a more ecological society on the other. Previous work has established an encouraging positive link between these two seemingly unrelated notions, subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour. This chapter offers an overview of the progress made to date and underlines that both subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour can be structured according to different dimensions that interact in various ways. In this chapter, we empirically investigate some dimensions of both subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour that have been overlooked so far. To do so, we use newly available data collected by the French National Statistical Institute and study seven dimensions of subjective wellbeing as well as attributions of political responsibility and prioritisation about green policies. In doing so, we move beyond the often unidimensional paradigm which associates subjective wellbeing with life satisfaction and pro-environmental behaviour with consumption. Our multidimensional approach offers new insights into which dimension of subjective wellbeing is most predictive of which pro-environmental behaviour and how happy and unhappy citizens have different attitudes about environmental policies.

Krekel C., Prati A. (2022) Linking Subjective Wellbeing and Pro-environmental Behaviour: A Multidimensional Approach. In: Cloutier S., El-Sayed S., Ross A., Weaver M. (eds) Linking Sustainability and Happiness. Community Quality-of-Life and Well-Being. Springer, Cham.

Lancement du programme “Innovations, Données et Expérimentations en Éducation” (IDEE)

Le programme IDEE aide les chercheurs à alimenter la réflexion en matière de politiques publiques et de pratiques professionnelles en éducation en France. Pour ce faire, IDEE facilite l’accès aux données administratives, développe un catalogue de ressources et d’outils pour la recherche, et structure des partenariats entre chercheurs, professionnels de l’éducation et décideurs publics. IDEE est un équipement structurant pour la recherche (EquipEx) qui vise à développer la recherche en éducation, notamment en favorisant les méthodes expérimentales, et à faire de la France un leader dans le domaine. Le consortium IDEE rassemble un groupe multidisciplinaire de chercheurs et de laboratoires de premier plan en économie, sociologie, psychologie, sciences de l’éducation et sciences cognitives. Il est coordonné par l’École Normale Supérieure/PSL et piloté par le J-PAL Europe à l’École d’Économie de Paris. L’équipe IDEE se tient à la disposition des chercheurs et acteurs de terrain afin de les accompagner dans les différentes étapes menant à une expérimentation de qualité (contact:


Wellbeing Research & Policy Conference

The Wellbeing Research Centre of the University of Oxford will hold its inaugural Wellbeing Research and Policy Conference on 6-8 July, 2022. The call for papers is open until January, 30th and the sessions will be live streamed and recorded.


COVID-19 and Well-being

Abstract COVID-19 and Well-being: Life in the Pandemic explores the immediate implications of the pandemic for people’s lives and livelihoods in OECD countries. The report charts the course of well-being – from jobs and incomes through to social connections, health, work-life balance, safety and more – using data collected during the first 12-15 months of the pandemic. It also takes stock of what has happened to human, economic, social and natural capital that, beyond their effects on people’s lives today, shape living conditions for years to come. It shows how COVID-19 has had far-reaching consequences for how we live, work and connect with one another, and how experiences of the pandemic varied widely, depending on whether and where people work, their gender, age, race and ethnicity, education and income levels. The report also examines the role that well-being evidence can play in supporting governments’ pandemic recovery efforts. It argues that a well-being lens can prompt policy-makers to refocus on the outcomes that matter the most to people, to redesign policy content from a more multidimensional perspective, to realign policy practice across government silos, and to reconnect people with the public institutions that serve them.

OCDE (2021), COVID-19 and Well-being : Life in the Pandemic, Éditions OCDE, Paris,

L’enquête trimestrielle de l’Observatoire est mobilisée par l’OCDE dans ce rapport (Figure 3.14) pour illustrer l’ampleur des variations infra-annuelles de la satisfaction de vie durant l’épidémie, mettant ainsi en valeur l’apport d’une collecte fréquente des mesures de bien-être subjectif.

Elimination versus mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 in the presence of effective vaccines

Summary: There is increasing evidence that elimination strategies have resulted in better outcomes for public health, the economy, and civil liberties than have mitigation strategies throughout the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccines that offer high protection against severe forms of COVID-19, and increasing vaccination coverage, policy makers have had to reassess the trade-offs between different options. The desirability and feasibility of eliminating SARS-CoV-2 compared with other strategies should also be re-evaluated from the perspective of different fields, including epidemiology, public health, and economics. To end the pandemic as soon as possible—be it through elimination or reaching an acceptable endemic level—several key topics have emerged centring around coordination, both locally and internationally, and vaccine distribution. Without coordination it is difficult if not impossible to sustain elimination, which is particularly relevant in highly connected regions, such as Europe. Regarding vaccination, concerns remain with respect to equitable distribution, and the risk of the emergence of new variants of concern. Looking forward, it is crucial to overcome the dichotomy between elimination and mitigation, and to jointly define a long-term objective that can accommodate different political and societal realities.

Oliu-Barton et al., Elimination versus mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 in the presence of effective vaccines, The Lancet Global Health, 2 November 2021

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

Abstract: 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 leisure, which are negatively affected, too. Women do not seem to suffer greater well-being losses than men. However, workers in the German short-time work scheme are particularly negatively affected. Our results imply that increased anxiety about the future and restricted personal freedoms are among the drivers of the well-being impact of the pandemic.

Schmidtke, Julia, Hetschko, Clemens, Schöb, Ronnie, Stephan, Gesine, Eid, Michael and Lawes, Mario, (2021), 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, No 202113, IAB-Discussion Paper, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

Mental Health Consequences of Working from Home during the Pandemic

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of working from home on mental health, using unique real time survey data from South Korea collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that working from home negatively affects the mental health of workers in the first half of 2020. Furthermore, we find substantial heterogeneity across gender and home environment. The negative impact of working from home is concentrated on women, and on those who are primarily responsible for housework while also maintaining market work. Surprisingly, workers who live with children in the household do not suffer from the negative effects of working from home. Our findings suggest that family-work interaction may be an important factor in the optimal design of working from home.

Kim, Jun Hyung, Koh, Yu Kyung and Park, Jinseong, (2021), Mental Health Consequences of Working from Home during the Pandemic, No 960, GLO Discussion Paper Series, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

Remote Working and Mental Health during the First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic

Abstract: We use longitudinal data from the SHARE survey to estimate the causal effect of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health of senior Europeans. We face endogeneity concerns both for the probability of being employed during the pandemic and for the choice of different work arrangements conditional on employment. Our research design overcomes these issues by exploiting variation in the technical feasibility of remote working across occupations and in the legal restrictions to in-presence work across sectors. We estimate heterogeneous effects of remote working on mental health: we find negative effects for respondents with children at home and for those living in countries with low restrictions or low excess death rates due to the pandemic. On the other hand, the effect is positive for men and for respondents with no co-residing children.

Marco Bertoni, Danilo Cavapozzi, Giacomo Pasini, Caterina Pavese, “Remote Working and Mental Health during the First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic”, IZA DP No. 14773, October 2021,

Lu sur le web

Income Comparison and Happiness within Households

Abstract: 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 households with greater fulltime employment share. The paper adds to within household interdependence of subjective well-being and indicates negative consequences of couple income comparison for individual happiness. Wives (barely) outearning their husbands seem to signal ’competition’.

Salland, Jan, (2021), Income Comparison and Happiness within Households, No 191/2021, Working Paper, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.

Misinformation on Misinformation: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges

Abstract: Alarmist narratives about online misinformation continue to gain traction despite evidence that its prevalence and impact are overstated. Drawing on research questioning the use of big data in social science and reception studies, we identify six misconceptions about misinformation and examine the conceptual and methodological challenges they raise. The first three misconceptions concern the prevalence and circulation of misinformation. First, the internet is not rife with misinformation or news, but with memes and entertaining content. Second, scientists focused on social media because it is methodologically convenient, but misinformation is not just a social media problem. Third, falsehoods don’t spread faster than the truth, how we define (mis)information influences our results and their practical implications. The second three misconceptions concern the impact and the reception of misinformation. First, people don’t believe everything they see on the internet: sheer volume of engagement should not be conflated with belief. Second, misinformation’s influence on people’s behavior is overblown since it often preaches to the choir. Third, people are more likely to be uninformed than misinformed, surveys overestimate misperceptions and say little about the causal influence of misinformation. To appropriately understand and fight misinformation, future research needs to address these challenges.

Altay, S., Berriche, M., & Acerbi, A. (2021, November 9). Misinformation on Misinformation: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges.

How should we investigate variation in the relation between social media and well-being?

Abstract: The study of the relation between social media use and well-being is at a critical junction. Many researchers find small to no associations, yet policymakers and public stakeholders keep asking for more evidence. One way the field is reacting is by inspecting the variation around average relations – with the goal of describing individual social media users. Here, we argue that such an approach risks losing sight of the most important outcomes of a quantitative social science: estimates of the average relation in a large group. Our analysis begins by describing how the field got to this point. Then, we explain the problems of the current approach of studying variation. Next, we propose a principled approach to quantify, interpret, and explain variation in average relations: (1) conducting model comparisons, (2) defining a region of practical equivalence and testing the theoretical distribution of relations against that region, (3) defining a smallest effect size of interest and comparing it against the theoretical distribution. We close with recommendations to either study moderators as systematic factors that explain variation or to conduct N = 1 studies and qualitative research.

Johannes, N., Masur, P. K., Vuorre, M., & Przybylski, A. K. (2021, October 13). How should we investigate variation in the relation between social media and well-being?.

The Impact of Victimisation on Subjective Well-Being

Abstract: 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 largest falls in well-being, and those at the ‘better’ quantiles of the distribution experiencing the smallest falls.

Shannon, Matthew, (2021), The Impact of Victimisation on Subjective Well-Being, No 202123, Working Papers, School of Economics, University College Dublin.

Are economic growth and well-being compatible? Welfare reform and life satisfaction in Japan

Abstract: Whether economic growth improves the human lot is a matter of conditions. We focus on Japan, a country which shifted in the 1990s from a pattern of rampant economic growth and stagnant well-being, to one of modest growth and increasing well-being. We discuss concurrent policy reforms and analyse the changes in well-being. In particular, we assess whether the correlates of the increase in well-being are consistent with those expected from the reforms. We apply Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition to World Values Survey data. Results show that improved conditions for the elderly, parents and women, that is the primary groups targeted by the reforms, correlate with well-being increases. This evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that social safety nets can make economic growth compatible with sustained increases in well-being.

Francesco Sarracino, Kelsey J O’Connor, Hiroshi Ono, Are economic growth and well-being compatible? Welfare reform and life satisfaction in Japan, Oxford Economic Papers, 2021;, gpab038,

Abstract: 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 analyzed with a binary logit model showing the preponderance of variable accounting for perceptions and interactions with ecosystems (attendance, relationship and attachment to nature, efforts to preserve the environment). We observe a lower level of training and the existence of a threshold effect on the relationship between life satisfaction and the ES-dependent profile: this contribution only concerns people with a high life satisfaction index. These results attest to the importance of pro-environmental perceptions, emotions and behaviors for conservation policies.

Rey-Valette, Helene, Blayac, Thierry and Salles, Jean-Michel, (2022), Evaluating the contribution of nature to well-being: The case of ecosystem services related to fish-farming ponds in France, Post-Print, HAL.