National and International Dimensions of Subjective Well-Being
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
- Chair: Carol Graham, Brookings Institution
Global Terror and Well-Being
AbstractTerror has become a global issue. Terror acts perpetuated by religious, nationalist or political groups at any corner of the globe can propagate rapidly through many media. The background noise of global terror is susceptible to affect the world's well-being and to change economic and political behavior. We test this hypothesis with an original evaluation of the average welfare loss experienced by the citizens of six Western countries (representing around 640 million people) over 1994-2013. We combine large panel datasets for Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Russia, Australian and the US to obtain individual well-being information for 750,000 time-individual observations recorded on precise dates. It is matched with daily information about the 71,000 terror events that took place over this period worldwide. We find a significantly negative effect of terror intensity on individual well-being overall and in all countries. People recover from terror events quickly but the cumulated cost is high, i.e. about 9-17% of annual income. We test several diffusion channels (traditional and social media, stock markets, economic anticipations) and find substantial heterogeneity of the terror effect depending on the level of perceived exposure to terrorism and the physical, genetic or cultural proximity to the victims. We pursue a more detailed analysis of individual heterogeneity on a subset of countries. People more likely to experience fear or more exposed to potential threats show larger emotional responses to global terror. We also find that global terror tends to increase conservative voting over the period, and obtain a striking correspondence between the profile of those exhibiting a conservative shift and those most afflicted by world terror.
Black Lives Matter: The Wellbeing Cost of Racial Shootings in the United States
AbstractThis paper discusses the impact of racial shootings on Black well-being in the United States between 2008 and 2015. Using data from the Gallup Daily Polls, we first reveal a sudden and persistent drop in life satisfaction recorded by Blacks compared to similar Whites from early 2013. There is no similar effect for Hispanic individuals, and results are robust to the inclusion of state, time effects and household characteristics. To explain this finding, we exploit within-state variation in public and media awareness of police-race interactions, following the Trayvon Martin case in 2012. Contrary to other groups, internet searches and reported cases of arrest-related deaths have a strong negative well-being effect within the Black community that can explain up to half the Black-White decline after 2013.
Unequal Hopes and Life Years in the United States of America: Race, Place, and Premature Mortality
AbstractThe 2016 election highlighted remarkably deep social and political divisions in the United States, and related unhappiness and frustration among poor and uneducated whites in particular. The starkest marker of desperation is the increase in mortality rates – driven by preventable deaths - among the middle aged in this same cohort. That stands in sharp contrast to gradual improvements in the health and well-being of blacks and Hispanics over the past decades, and high levels of life satisfaction and optimism about the future among these same groups. The trends among poor whites have complex causes that we do not fully understand. In this paper, we contribute to the extant knowledge by matching our detailed data on subjective well-being – and patterns of hope, stress, and anger in particular – with the CDC mortality rate data at the MSA and county levels. Our results suggest that the absence of hope, which is related to fears about downward mobility among poor and middle class whites, matches the trends in premature mortality among 45-54 year olds of the same cohorts and in the same places – primarily but not only in the heartland. We also explore the mediating effects of reported pain, reliance on disability insurance, and differential levels of resilience across blacks, Hispanics, and whites. These trends – and the associated failure to invest in health and education - constitute a social crisis of extreme proportions. Meanwhile, respondents in urban places, which are also more ethnically diverse, are healthier, happier, and more optimistic about the future. We highlight the importance of documenting the extent of the crisis and exploring its causes as a first step towards finding solutions in the safety net, health, and well-being arenas.
- I3 - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
- D6 - Welfare Economics