Ce mois de février commence pour nous par la livraison de notre baromètre trimestriel du bein-être des Français, appuyé sur les données de décembre 2021. Si les principales dimensions du bien-être évaluatif résistent, le sentiment de bonheur s’est assez fortement replié tandis que celui de dépression augmente. L’arrivée annoncée de la vague omicron n’y est sans doute pas étrangère.
Sur le modèle de notre Rapport 2020 paru l’an dernier, nous allons publier dans les semaines qui viennent une édition 2021, qui s’articule essentiellement autour de deux thèmes : les deux ans de pandémie et le bien-être en milieu scolaire. Nous vous enverrons très bientôt les invitations pour la présentation, qui aura lieu début mars.
Le Bien-être des Français – Décembre 2021 : Moral en berne
Pris début décembre, notre dernier baromètre du bien-être des Français pour 2021 confirme la stabilisation des principaux indicateurs après les montagnes russes des deux dernières années. Cette stabilisation s’accompagne toutefois d’une détérioration de l’état émotionnel des Français. Si une part de la chute du sentiment d’être heureux doit s’expliquer par la saison, nous enregistrons une baisse significative de la part des gens qui se sont sentis heureux la veille, et en parallèle une augmentation de ceux qui se sont sentis déprimés. Le présent, angoissant, fait ainsi de moins en moins recette tandis que les appréciations de l’avenir se dégradent lentement.
La stabilité des autres indicateurs cache parfois des évolutions contrastées. Ainsi, les femmes indiquent une progression de leur satisfaction à l’égard de toutes les dimensions touchant au travail et aux temps de vie, alors que ces domaines se dégradent chez les hommes. De même, l’appréciation de plusieurs indicateurs-clef résiste bien, voire s’améliore depuis un an chez les moins de 45 ans, mais baisse chez leurs aînés. La pandémie n’a pas remis en cause la stratification sociale du bien-être en France, mais nous constatons dans cette dernière vague que le niveau d’inquiétude des classes moyennes et supérieures rejoint celui habituellement déclaré par les ménages les plus modestes.
Le bonheur est-il une idée neuve ?
La deuxième semaine de janvier, Le Cours de l’histoire (France Culture) a consacré une série d’émission à une histoire de la joie dans tous ses états. Rémy Pawin, qui a contribué à notre rapport 2020, était un des deux invités du quatrième épisode, « Le bonheur est-il une idée neuve ? », à écouter ou à réécouter sur le site de France Culture.
Lu sur le web
Television, Health, and Happiness: A Natural Experiment in West Germany
Abstract: Watching television is the most time-consuming human activity besides work but its role for individual well-being is unclear. Negative consequences portrayed in the literature raise the question whether this popular pastime constitutes an economic good or bad, and hence serves as a prime example of irrational behavior reducing individual health and happiness. Using rich panel data, we are the first to comprehensively address this question by exploiting a large-scale natural experiment in West Germany, where people in geographically restricted areas received commercial TV via terrestrial frequencies. Contrary to previous research, we find no health impact when TV consumption increases. For life satisfaction, we even find positive effects. Additional analyses support the notion that TV is not an economic bad and that non-experimental evidence seems to be driven by negative self-selection.
Chadi, Adrian and Hoffmann, Manuel, (2021), Television, Health, and Happiness: A Natural Experiment in West Germany, No 14721, IZA Discussion Papers, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
Carpooling: User Profiles and Well-being
Abstract: Carpooling is a sustainable daily mobility mode, implying significant reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, although it remains an uncommon practice. With the aim of stimulating this green transportation mode, this paper focus on understanding why certain individuals will agree to share a car to a common destination, apart from the obvious environmental benefit in emissions. It first describes the profile of users and then explores the relationship between this transportation mode and the participants’ well-being. To that end, we have selected two countries, the UK and the US, where the use of cars represents a high proportion of daily commuting. We use the UK Time Use Survey (UKTUS) from 2014-2015 and the Well-Being Module of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) from 2010-2012-2013 to identify which groups in the population are more likely to pool their cars, and with whom those individuals enjoy carpooling more. Results indicate that individuals with certain socio-demographic characteristics and occupations are more likely to commute by carpooling, but the profile seems to be country-specific. Furthermore, our evidence reveals a positive relationship between carpooling and well-being during commuting.
Echeverría, Lucía, Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio and Molina, José Alberto, (2021), Carpooling: User Profiles and Well-being, No 14736, IZA Discussion Papers, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
Taking the Pulse of Nations: a Biometric Measure of Well-being
Abstract: A growing literature identifies associations between subjective and biometric indicators of wellbeing. These associations, together with the ability of subjective wellbeing (SWB) metrics to predict health and behavioral outcomes, have spawned increasing interest in SWB as an important concept in its own right. However, some social scientists continue to question the usefulness of SWB metrics. We contribute to this literature in three ways. First, we introduce a biometric measure of wellbeing – pulse – which has been largely overlooked. Using nationally representative data on 165,000 individuals from the Health Survey for England (HSE) and Scottish Health Surveys (SHeS) we show that its correlates are similar in a number of ways to those for SWB, and that it is highly correlated with SWB metrics, as well as self-assessed health. Second, we examine the determinants of pulse rates in mid-life (age 42) among the 9,000 members of the National Child Development Study (NCDS), a birth cohort born in a single week in 1958 in Britain. Third, we track the impact of pulse measured in mid-life (age 42) on health and labor market outcomes at age 50 in 2008 and age 55 in 2013. The probability of working at age 55 is negatively impacted by pulse rate a decade earlier. The pulse rate has an impact over and above chronic pain measured at age 42. General health at 55 is lower the higher the pulse rate at age 42, while those with higher pulse rates at 42 also express lower life satisfaction and more pessimism about the future at age 50. Taken together, these results suggest social scientists can learn a great deal by adding pulse rates to the metrics they use when evaluating people’s wellbeing.
Blanchflower, D G and A Bryson (2021), “Taking the pulse of nations: a biometric measure of well-being”, NBER Working Paper No. 29587
New Zealand’s happiness and COVID-19: a Markov Switching Dynamic Regression Model
Abstract: Happiness levels (states) are volatile and often fluctuate between a happy and unhappy state from one day to the next. The reasons for these shifts are mostly unobservable and not predictable. In this paper, we fit a Marko Switching Dynamic Regression Model (MSDR) to better understand the dynamic patterns of happiness levels before and during a pandemic. The estimated parameters from the MSDR model include each state’s mean and duration, volatility and transition probabilities. Once these parameters have been estimated, we predict the unobserved states’ evolution over time using the one-step method. This gives us unique insights into the evolution of happiness. Furthermore, as maximising happiness is a policy priority, we determine the factors that can contribute to the probability of increasing happiness levels. We empirically test these models using New Zealand’s daily happiness data for May 2019 – November 2020. The results show that New Zealand seems to have two regimes, an unhappy and happy regime. In 2019 the happy regime dominated; thus, the probability of being unhappy in the next time period (day) occurred less frequently, whereas the opposite is true for 2020. The higher frequencies of time periods with probabilities to be unhappy in 2020 mostly correspond to the pandemic events. Lastly, we find the factors positively and significantly related to the probability of being happy after lockdown to be jobseeker support payments and international travel. On the other hand, mobility is significantly and negatively related to the probability of being happy.
Rossouw, Stephanie, Greyling, Talita, Adhikari, Tamanna, “New Zealand’s happiness and COVID-19: a Markov Switching Dynamic Regression Model”, GLO Discussion Paper No. 573, 2021, http://hdl.handle.net/10419/233931
Manage Your Money, Be Satisfied? Money Management Practices and Financial Satisfaction of Couples Through the Lens of Gender
Abstract: There is a difference between who brings in income, who spends and manages money, and who finally benefits. All these aspects are important in determining how satisfied spouses are with their individual financial situation. Relying on Swiss Household Panel (SHP) data from 2004 to 2013 (N = 1,810 couples), this assumption is tested by analyzing how women’s relative income and the management of economic resources within couples affect women’s and men’s financial satisfaction in the household. Results show that a change in the composition of total income in favor of women directly increases their financial satisfaction and net of household income, while men’s financial satisfaction increases up to the point at which women earn more than one third of the total income. Money management regimes serve as an important additional tool in creating and compensating for (dis) advantage between partners. The results are discussed in the context of traditional gender norms in the Swiss Society.
Kulic, N., Minello, A., & Zella, S. (2020). Manage Your Money, Be Satisfied? Money Management Practices and Financial Satisfaction of Couples Through the Lens of Gender. Journal of Family Issues, 41(9), 1420–1446. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X19891463
Employee’s subjective-well-being and job discretion: Designing gendered happy jobs
Abstract: This paper analyses the influence of job discretion on employees’ subjective well-being (SWB) from a gender-based approach. Specifically, it explores whether the level of discretion given to employees in performing their jobs influences their SWB and whether this impact differs between women and men. Data from 20 European countries from Round 8 of the European Social Survey (ESS) are used to undertake an ordered probit analysis. Job discretion is approached through autonomy at work, supervision of other employees and influence on organisational policy decisions. Additionally, the individual’s educational level is controlled to further explore gendered differences of job characteristics on SWB. The results show that job discretion does indeed affect SWB, and this effect is different for women and men. Moreover, the effect of job discretion on SWB is not homogeneous across different education levels.
Maria Bastida, Isabel Neira, Maricruz Lacalle-Calderon, “Employee’s subjective-well-being and job discretion: Designing gendered happy jobs,” European Research on Management and Business Economics, Volume 28, Issue 2, 2022, 100189, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iedeen.2021.100189.
Simple questionnaires outperform behavioral tasks to measure socio-emotional skills in students
Abstract: Recent empirical research has shown that improving socio-emotional skills such as grit, conscientiousness and self-control leads to higher academic achievement and better life outcomes. However, both theoretical and empirical works have raised concerns about the reliability of the different methods used to measure socio-emotional skills. We compared the reliability and validity of the three leading measurements methods—a student-reported questionnaire, a teacher-reported questionnaire, and a behavioral task—in a sample of 3997 French students. Before analyzing the data, we polled 114 international researchers in cognitive development and education economics; most researchers in both fields predicted that the behavioral task would be the best method. We found instead that the teacher questionnaire was more predictive of students’ behavioral outcomes and of their grade progression, while the behavioral task was the least predictive. This work suggests that researchers may not be using optimal tools to measure socio-emotional skills in children.
Boon-Falleur, M., Bouguen, A., Charpentier, A. et al. Simple questionnaires outperform behavioral tasks to measure socio-emotional skills in students. Sci Rep 12, 442 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-04046-5
Effects of teaching practices on life satisfaction and test scores: evidence from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)
Abstract: Schools are ripe for policy intervention. We demonstrate that implementing different teaching practices is effective, finding a greater prevalence of group discussion used in schools positively affects students’ life satisfaction and noncognitive skills but has no impact on test scores. The benefits do not apply to girls, however, unless they attend all-girl schools. These findings are based on a sample from the 2015 PISA which includes more than 35 thousand students from approximately 1500 schools in 14 countries or regions. We perform regressions of student life satisfaction on the prevalence of group discussion and lecturing used in their school, including a battery of individual, teacher, and school controls, as well as random intercepts by school. For robustness we use instrumental variables and methods to account for school-selection. The average impact of group discussion is not small – a one standard deviation leads to an increase in life satisfaction that is about one-half of the negative association with grade repetition. On the other hand, more or less lecturing does not affect life satisfaction, noncognitive skills, nor test scores. We conclude that teaching practices – group discussion – can be used to improve student life satisfaction, thereby likely positively affecting future economic outcomes and well-being.
Bartolini, Stefano & O’Connor, Kelsey J., 2022. “Effects of teaching practices on life satisfaction and test scores: evidence from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA),” GLO Discussion Paper Series 1009, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
Subjective well-being and the gender composition of the reference group: Evidence from a survey experiment
Abstract: This paper tests how people’s subjective well-being reacts when they compare themselves with other people of the same gender, and if this reaction differs between women and men. We implement a randomized control trial prompting some respondents to compare themselves with people of the same gender and leaving the reference group of others unconstrained. Treated women report higher income and leisure satisfaction. Evaluating satisfaction in relation to a given reference group may be cognitively demanding. When accounting for this, we find that the treatment also increases women’s health satisfaction. No or small effects are found for men, suggesting that the reference group affects subjective well-being reporting of men and women differently.
Elena Fumagalli, Laura Fumagalli,, “Subjective well-being and the gender composition of the reference group: Evidence from a survey experiment,” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 194, 2022, Pages 196-219, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2021.12.016.
Heterogeneity in Household Spending and Well-being Around Retirement
Abstract: We study heterogeneity in spending patterns around the time of retirement. Using rich consumption data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and exploiting within-household spending variation, we systematically classify households into groups characterized by differences in consumption transitions at retirement. We decompose the overall spending changes into the contribution made by different subcomponents of consumption. We find that the households that increase their spending shift budget away from food and toward transportation, recreation, and trips. In contrast, those households for which spending falls reduce the budget share spent on transportation and food away from home, while increasing the share allocated to food at home and housing expenditures. Using a life-cycle model, we characterize the mechanisms capable of driving these observed patterns.
Moran, Patrick, Martin O’Connell, Cormac O’Dea, and Francesca Parodi. 2021. “Heterogeneity in Household Spending and Well-being Around Retirement.” Ann Arbor, MI. University of Michigan Retirement and Disability Research Center (MRDRC) Working Paper; MRDRC WP 2021-427. https://mrdrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/papers/pdf/wp427.pdf
Home alone: Widows’ well-being and time
Abstract: Losing a partner is a life-changing experience. We draw on numerous datasets to examine differences between widowed and partnered older women and to provide a comprehensive picture of well-being in widowhood. Most importantly, our analysis accounts for time use in widowhood, an aspect which has not been studied previously. Based on data from several European countries we trace the evolution of well-being of women who become widowed by comparing them with their matched non-widowed ‘statistical twins’ and examine the role of an exceptionally broad set of potential moderators of widowhood’s impact on well-being. We confirm a dramatic decrease in mental health and life satisfaction after the loss of partner, followed by a slow recovery. An extensive set of controls recorded prior to widowhood, including detailed family ties and social networks, provides little help in explaining the deterioration in well-being. Unique data from time-diaries kept by older women from several European countries and the U.S. tell us why: the key factor behind widows’ reduced well-being is increased time spent alone.
Adena, Maja, Hamermesh, Daniel S., Myck, Michal and Oczkowska, Monika, (2021), Home alone: Widows’ well-being and time, No SP II 2021-305, Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
Associations between anxiety and the willingness to be exposed to COVID-19 risk among French young adults during the first pandemic wave
Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak has generated significant uncertainty about the future, especially for young adults. Health and economic threats, as well as more diffuse concerns about the consequences of COVID-19, can trigger feelings of anxiety, leading individuals to adopt uncertainty-reducing behaviours. We tested whether anxiety was associated with an increase in willingness to be exposed to the risk of COVID-19 infection (WiRE) using an online survey administered to 3,110 French individuals aged between 18 and 35 years old during the first pandemic wave and lockdown period (April 2020). Overall, 56.5% of the sample declared a positive WiRE. A one standard deviation increase in psychological state anxiety raised the WiRE by +3.9 pp (95% CI [+1.6, 6.2]). Unemployment was associated with a higher WiRE (+8.2 percentage points (pp); 95% CI [+0.9, 15.4]). One standard deviation increases in perceived hospitalisation risk and in income (+1160€) were associated with a -4.1 pp (95% CI [-6.2, 2.1]) decrease in the WiRE and +2.7 pp increase (95% CI [+1.1, 4.4]), respectively. Overall, our results suggest that both psychological anxiety and the prospect of economic losses can undermine young adults’ adherence to physical distancing recommendations. Public policies targeting young adults must consider both their economic situation and their mental health, and they must use uncertainty-reducing communication strategies.
Etilé F, Geoffard P-Y (2022) Associations between anxiety and the willingness to be exposed to COVID-19 risk among French young adults during the first pandemic wave. PLoS ONE 17(1): e0262368. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262368