Tuesday, November 26

Three essays on the economics of gender, health and happiness.


you don't have to read the full dissertation, but at least check out the first chapter. It is a fascinating study in the field of happiness and economics. As you know, one of the objectives of life is to be happy so there is a burgeoning body of research which is analysing this area.

the first one was about headscarfs, i don't understand this but then who does….there are strange reasons given to cover your head and wear ties, but as long as its done voluntarily, who cares? but in this case, the Ataturkian militantly secular state bans headscarfs in public institutions. Result? women are statistically significantly unable to work as well as they could, hence they stay at home and pump out more babies resulting in more babies being brought up by women in veils. If the idea was to reduce the number of religious people, it fell foul of the law of unintended circumstances. As a libertarian, you will appreciate this, eh?

the second one was interesting, as you know, in our family we have a tradition of donating our bodies to medicine and organs for transplants. Your great uncle did so, Dadu and Didu have written so in their wills, while your parents have organ donor cards. This is informed consent, son. But where this happens, the rate of organ donation is very low. But where there’s presumed consent, like in Belgium, where bodies are taken assuming consent has been given, the donation rates are double or triple. Excellent news, eh? the nudge theory, son. This is why you need to be very careful about what questions and public policy angles you take. Its like the question, “when did you stop beating up your dog” and you can only answer yes or no. stiffed. in some cases, it works like in pension provision. Everybody knows that you should save for your pension, but hardly anybody saves. Read the HSBC report I linked into. But there is a difference, if you have presumed consent and force everybody to store and save before your salary lands in your bank account, then automatic savings happen.

And finally the question of charity. As you know, I do loads of this stuff and yes, I feel good, so its not purely altruistic. The lady in question has found evidence for this. But yes, that makes me happy. Doing stuff for others, son, makes you feel good, really really good. So I felt so proud when you were teaching your friend. Seriously proud. I know you are getting a reputation of a good friend and somebody who is always willing to help others. Keep it up, son, it helps to be happy with helping others.

If you were a libertarian, then each of these cases will challenge your thinking and enforce your principles even better. It’s the gray areas where the principles are tested, son. Religion, personal aspects, etc. etc. Fascinating area to keep thinking and challenging one self.





    1. From headscarves to donation: Three essays on the economics of gender, health and happiness.




Ugur, Z.B. (Tilburg University)



Abstract: Zeynep’s research interests are mainly in the field of health and labor economics. In this thesis, she explores a broad range of topics within the domain of the economics of gender, health and happiness. The first chapter provides the motivations for the studies and summarizes the main findings. The second chapter documents differences in educational attainment, labor market outcomes and childbearing among women by their use of headscarves and investigates the impact of the headscarf ban in Turkey on women’s educational attainment, labor force participation and childbearing decisions. In Chapter 3, she explores the relationship between presumed consent legislation and various organ donation indicators such as willingness to donate one’s organs, organ donation card holding, actual organ donation rates and kidney transplantation rates. The last chapter looks at the relationship between pro-social behavior and subjective wellbeing and tries to quantify the happiness effect of donating in the Netherlands.

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