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Does Better Rail Access Improve Homeowners’ Happiness?: Evidence Based on Micro Surveys in Beijing

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  • Wenjie Wu
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    Abstract

    Development of urban transport infrastructures is a key policy focus---particularly in countries like China which have experienced fast urbanisation over the past decade. While existing studies provide marginal values for rail access on the real estate market, little is known about the consequences of local public goods improvements for homeowners' subjective wellbeing using reported happiness data. This paper uses a difference-in-difference method to empirically measure the impact of rail access on homeowners' happiness. My identification strategy takes advantage of micro happiness survey data conducted before-and-after the opening of new rail stations in 2008 Beijing. I deal with the potential concern about the endogeneity in sorting effects by focusing on "stayers" and using non-market (fang gai) housings with pre-determined locations. I find the significantly heterogeneity in the effects from better rail access on homeowners' happiness with respect to different dimensions of residential environment. The welfare estimates suggest that better rail access provided substantial benefits to homeowners' happiness, but these benefits have strong social-spatial differentiations. These findings add to the evidence that transport improvement has an important role to play in influencing local residents' subjective wellbeing.

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    File URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/textonly/SERC/publications/download/sercdp0134.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE in its series SERC Discussion Papers with number 0134.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0134

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    Web page: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/SERC/publications/default.asp

    Related research

    Keywords: Happiness; transport improvement; Geographical Information System; Wellbeing; China;

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    1. Francesca Cornaglia & Andrew Leigh, 2012. "Crime and mental wellbeing," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 357, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    3. Tra, Constant I., 2010. "A discrete choice equilibrium approach to valuing large environmental changes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 183-196, February.
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