Happiness lost: Was the decision to implement lockdown the correct one?

South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

Field Value
Title Happiness lost: Was the decision to implement lockdown the correct one?
Creator Rossouw, Stephanié Greyling, Talita Adhikari, Tamanna
Subject Economics; Sociology; Psychology happiness; COVID-19; Big Data; regulations; South Africa
Description Background: Amid the rapid global spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many governments enforced country-wide lockdowns, likely with severe well-being consequences. The actions by governments triggered a debate on whether the costs of a lockdown, economically and in well-being, surpass the benefits perceived from a lower infection rate.Aim: To use the Gross National Happiness index (GNH), derived from Big Data, to investigate the determinants of happiness before and during the first few months of a lockdown in a country as an extreme case, South Africa (a country with low levels of well-being and stringent lockdown regulations). Next, to estimate (1) the probability of being happy during a pandemic year, before and after the implemented lockdown, relative to the mean happiness levels of the previous year, and (2) to utilise simulations to estimate the probability of being happy if there were no lockdown.Setting: This study considers the effect of government-mandated lockdown on happiness in South Africa.Methods: We use Big Data in the forms of Twitter and Google Trends to derive variables and ordinary least squares and ordered probit estimation methods.Results: What contributes to happiness under lockdown, except for COVID-19 cases, are the factors linked to the implemented regulations themselves. If we compare scenarios pre- and post-lockdown, we report a happiness cost of 9%. The simulations indicate that assuming there were no lockdown in 2020, the relative well-being gain is 3%.Conclusion: If policymakers want to increase happiness levels and the probability of achieving the same happiness levels as in 2019, they should consider factors related to the regulations that can increase happiness levels.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Contributor AFSTEREO
Date 2021-04-28
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Big Data; Sentiment Analysis
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajems.v24i1.3795
Source South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences; Vol 24, No 1 (2021); 11 pages 2222-3436 1015-8812
Language eng
Relation https://sajems.org/index.php/sajems/article/view/3795/2356 https://sajems.org/index.php/sajems/article/view/3795/2355 https://sajems.org/index.php/sajems/article/view/3795/2357 https://sajems.org/index.php/sajems/article/view/3795/2354
Coverage South Africa January 2020 - May 2020 C55; I12; I31; J18
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Stephanié Rossouw, Talita Greyling, Tamanna Adhikari https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0