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photo: Bechetti Professor Leonardo Bechetti
Professor of Economics, University of Rome Tor Vergata

Closing the border can do more harm than good to national wellbeing.

April 2017
Wellbeing of EU citizens increases on average with free movement within the EU.Response
the problem is that migration of low skilled workers creates competition on the low end of the skill distribution reducing wages of unskilled domestic workers. This reduces wellbeing of this group of workers and produces as well hostility and extreme voting (https://www.unibz.it/it/events/121268-research-seminar-does-migration-cause-extreme-voting). The elephant-shape graph of Milanovic explains the same point documenting why the current phase of globalisation risks to become politically unsustainable Reality is exacerbated by perceptions induced by media and political parties that have interests in extreme votingDisagree

The UK closing its borders for EU nationals who want to work in the UK after Brexit would harm both UK wellbeing and that of the rest of the EU.Response
I agree that restricting movement of EU nationals with the US is not a good solution to the problem I described with my previous answer. It creates another problem to solve an ongoing problemAgree

Understanding the effect of policy on national wellbeing

March 2017
Despite dozens of years of research, we still know precious little about what policies increase national wellbeing.Response
We know that wellbeing is related to basic issues (health, income, employment) but also to issues less explored by standard economics such as quality of relational life and generativity (in the sense of J.S.Mill, that is the capacity of doing something that has good effects on other people's life or in the sense of Erikson (give life, accompany, let leave). Hence all policies in support of these points may increase national wellbeing. In addition to it wellbeing depend on the relationship between realisations and expectations (Deci and Ryan) Hence management of expectations is also crucial to it. An explosion of expectations can reduce wellbeing even in presence of good objective conditionsDisagree

In order to find out what raises national wellbeing, we need to have thousands of randomised controlled trials in all major areas of national policy.Response
We have thousands of econometric analyses but, for what I know, scarce randomised controlled trials. Much more should be done in this directionDisagree

Wellbeing Effects of Anonymous Donation of Eggs and Sperm

February 2017
Donating gametes (eggs, sperm) via clinics as anonymous donors is one of the highest return-to-effort things individuals can do to increase overall wellbeing.Response
Uncertain effects on wellbeing on both the donor and the receiver sideDisagree

The right of a child to know who their donor was when they turn 18 outweighs (in an overall wellbeing sense) the possibility that this right-to-know leads to a shortage of donors and reduces the number of donor-conceived children.Response
Identity and wellbeing of an individual and information concerning something important for her/his life is more important You cannot sacrifice something of a human being to improve wellbeing of another human beingAgree strongly

Organisational structures on workers' wellbeing

January 2017
Employees in more hierarchical organisations have higher levels of wellbeing than those of flatter organisations.Response
The literature on wage differentials find a positive size wage differential not explained by standard factors that is probably a compensating effect for working in organisatons with more hierarchy job satisfaction literature tells that freedom of enterprising and initiative has significant positive effects on job satisfactionDisagree strongly

Tilting the tax and subsidy mix in favour of more hierarchical organisations (in a revenue neutral manner) would probably improve the wellbeing of employees.Response
The reasons are those explained above. I also believe that it would not be good to do the contrary since compensating wage differential s level the difference in wellbeing in equilibriumDisagree strongly

Wellbeing and Public Holidays

December 2016
Do you think that populations on average have higher wellbeing during major festive periods like Christmas?Response
Yes in general because it is a time where there is more time free from work and it is possible to enjoy social relationship that have a strong positive and significant effect on subjective wellbeing. However, if the relational life is poor Christmas period has the effect of forcing people to focus on their relational life and in such case this can create a negative effect on wellbeing. I however believe that the first effect dominates.Agree

Do you think on balance that average wellbeing would rise if there were more mandatory public holidays in your country?Response
For two reasons. More leisure and more time to invest in and enjoy relational lifeAgree