Conference Programme 2015

Conference floor plans and map
Tuesday 14th July      Wednesday 15th July      Thursday 16th July      Friday 17th July     

Tuesday 14th July, 11:00 - 12:30 Room: N-131

Social indicators as predictors of subjective well-being

Convenor Mr Nicholas Otis (McGill University )

Session Details

A growing body of empirical evidence suggests that numerous subjective and objective factors are significantly associated with individual well-being. However, the interplay and causal linkages between these factors are frequently contested. Questions tapping well-being often vary between surveys, potentially impacting research outcomes. In this session, presenters are invited to share research examining the relationships between a diverse range of measures of well-being and its determinants. We encourage submissions from a wide variety of disciplinary, theoretical, and methodological backgrounds.

Paper Details

1. Agency as an indicator of wellbeing
Ms Kadri Rootalu (University of Tartu)
Dr Ave Roots (University of Tartu)

As previous research has found, human agency is connected to wellbeing and this relationship is often mediated by other variables for example relationships or health. The current study looks at different indicators of agency in different contexts of family and welfare regimes. Our special focus is on comparing married people with divorced and separated people. Here the role of agency might play a different role depending on the cultural context. For example in liberal context higher agency could lead to more divorce and in conservative context to more sustained marriages.

2. Trust as a factor of subjective life satisfaction in Russia
Mrs Anna Mironova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

This paper is dedicated to analyze the impact of trust as the element of social capital on individual subjective well-being. Are trustful people happier than suspicious people? By using data of value research in two federal districts of the Russian Federation, which was conducted by the Centre for Comparative Social Research in summer of 2012, we give the estimate of trust level in Russia. Using the method of structural equation modeling the main hypothesis was tested - is there a positive relationship between the level of trust and subjective life satisfaction.

3. Associations with Income, Net Worth, and Relative Standard of Living in China
Mr Nicholas Otis (McGill University)

Numerous studies have examined the impact of income on subjective well-being (SWB) . However, the impact of economic circumstances on SWB is better captured through a combination of income, net worth (wealth), and relative perceptions of economic conditions. Using nationally representative data from China, I find that net worth significantly predicts SWB, exhibiting decreasing marginal returns independent of more common measures of economic circumstances such as income and occupational status. I also find significant positive associations between perceived relative standard of living. These finding emphasize the importance of using complex measures to understand SWB.

4. Alternatives to GDP - Measuring the Impact of Natural Disasters using Panel Data
Mr Philip Maschke (University of Applied Sciences Merseburg)
Professor Joerg Doepke (University of Applied Sciences Merseburg)

A frequent criticism of GDP is that events that obviously reduce welfare can nevertheless increase GDP. We use data for natural disasters around the world as quasi-experiments to, first, re-evaluate the previously conflicting results with respect to (real) GDP (per capita) and, secondly, discuss the question whether alternatives to GDP proposed in the literature lead to more plausible results. We use a difference-in-differences approach and estimates from a panel of countries and find no noteworthy differences between the response of real GDP to a natural disaster and the response of suggested alternative measures.