Good governance and wellbeing

John Helliwell, Haifang Huang, Shawn Grover, Shun Wang 30 November 2014

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People’s evaluations of the quality of their own lives provide reliable and inexpensive new ways to show how and how much good governance matters (Bryson et al. 2014). Life evaluations complement and encompass more established indicators of economic and social progress (OECD 2013). Such evaluations focus on life as a whole, thereby permitting income, health, trust, freedom, and social relations to be consistently taken into account. Survey-based life evaluations, thus, provide a research basis for establishing what matters most.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  wellbeing, measuring wellbeing, governance, trust

The audit society and its enemies

Niklas Bengtsson, Per Engström 28 October 2014

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In the second season of The Wire, thirteen dead women are discovered in a cargo container in Baltimore. Being a case with a low probability of being solved, the different managers of the police force immediately start arguing over which department is responsible for investigating the issue. The incentives are clear – whoever gets the case will have poor statistics to show when the management of the department is audited at the end of the year. The consequence is bribes, corruption, and a dysfunctional police force.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  agency, motivation, motivation crowding-out, intrinsic motivation, incentives, performance-related pay, trust, audits, Sweden, non-profits, charity

Trust and the welfare state: The twin-peaked curve

Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, Marc Sangnier 17 July 2014

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It is commonly argued that the persistence of large welfare states in Scandinavian countries is explained by the trustworthiness of their citizens. Those large welfare states presumably rely on conditional cooperation. Trustworthy, or ‘civic’ individuals consent to pay high rates of tax only because they are convinced that their compatriots are paying their taxes too, and not misusing social benefits (Rothstein and Uslaner 2005).

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Topics:  Welfare state and social Europe

Tags:  welfare state, trust, social capital, cheating

Trust-based working time spurs innovation

Holger Görg, Olivier N. Godart, Aoife Hanley, Christiane Krieger-Boden 08 July 2014

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The organisation of work has changed dramatically over the last few decades. In particular, the formerly rigidly regulated working time has been replaced by flexible working hour schemes in numerous firms around the world. Taking Germany as an example, in 2010, 36% of employees were entitled to some form of flexible working hours scheme (Figure 1).

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Topics:  Health economics Labour markets Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  Germany, working hours, trust, health, innovation, motivation, overtime, flexibility, working time

Will voters turn out in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections?

Owen McDougall, Ashoka Mody 17 May 2014

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The extent of voter turnout in the 2014 European Parliamentary (EP) election is widely viewed as a critical test for European democracy. Turnout in the EP elections has steadily declined over three decades, from 62% in the first election in 1979 to 43% in the 2009 election (EP Liaison Office undated). There is great concern that the legitimacy of the EU is at stake should there be a further slide in voter turnout.

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Topics:  EU institutions Politics and economics

Tags:  elections, ECB, democracy, EU, trust, voting, European parliament, turnout

New evidence on the durability of social norms

John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu 12 March 2014

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Recent studies find that individuals’ social norms – as evidenced by their opinions and behaviour – can be transmitted from one generation to the next within the same cultural setting (Algan and Cahuc 2010, Bjørnskov 2012, Dohmen et al. 2012, Guiso et al. 2006, Rainer and Siedler 2009, Rice and Feldman 1997). Studies also find that the current environment – such as institutions – plays an important role in shaping an individual’s social norms (Dinesen 2012, Nannestad et al. 2014, Alesina and La Ferrara 2002, Bjørnskov 2007, Glaeser et al. 2000, Helliwell and Wang 2011, Kosfeld et al.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Migration

Tags:  institutions, immigration, social attitudes, trust, migration, Culture, social norms

Global and Eurozone imbalances: A question of civic capital?

Sascha Bützer, Christina Jordan, Livio Stracca 23 November 2013

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Macroeconomic imbalances have been the subject of much debate in recent years, and are still in the spotlight. Before and during the financial crisis, a lot of attention was devoted to global imbalances – in particular to the persistent current-account deficits of some countries (such as the US) and the persistent surpluses of others (such as China). With the advent of the Eurozone sovereign-debt crisis, the attention has shifted to imbalances within the Eurozone.

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions International trade

Tags:  eurozone, global imbalances, trust, World Values Survey, civic capital

Unemployment, labour-market flexibility and IMF advice: Moving beyond mantras

Olivier Blanchard, Florence Jaumotte, Prakash Loungani 18 October 2013

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Growth in advanced economies is gaining some speed. The IMF projects these economies will grow 2% next year, up from an expected 1.2% this year. The average unemployment rate in advanced economies is expected to inch down from its peak of 8.3% in 2010 to 8% next year. This is progress, but it is clearly not enough. The state of labour markets remains dismal for a number of reasons.

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Topics:  Labour markets Welfare state and social Europe

Tags:  unemployment, institutions, IMF, trust, Unemployment insurance, labour-market flexibility, EZ crisis, collective bargaining

Understanding trust: The role of false consensus

Jeffrey V. Butler, Paola Giuliano, Luigi Guiso 18 December 2012

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Every day millions of people deal with others they know nothing or very little about. A Norwegian tourist buys a carpet in Casablanca. A woman in Mexico City hails a cab on the street. A person with a never-before-experienced eye pain asks an ophthalmologist for advice. In each case, individuals must form a belief about the reliability of a counterparty to decide whether to deal with this person at all.

How do individuals form beliefs about how others will behave in the absence of prior interaction? And do these initial beliefs persist in the face of evidence?

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  trust, Culture, false consensus

Crisis and public support for the euro

Felix Roth, Lars Jonung, Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann 05 November 2012

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The euro is a unique currency in at least two ways. It is the first time that a group of democratic countries have abolished their national currencies and replaced them with a single currency that is managed by a common central bank, the ECB. The euro is also unique in that data on public attitudes towards the euro have been collected for more than 20 years (Eurobarometer 2012). No such data exist for any other currency. Uniquely, we are able to trace how public support for the euro has evolved over time, and how attitudes have changed during the present financial crisis.

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Topics:  EU institutions Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  public opinion, euro, trust, Eurozone crisis

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