Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Don’t Worry, Be Happy: The Welfare Cost of Climate Variability – A Subjective Well-Being Approach

Contents:

Author Info

  • Yonas Alem
  • Jonathan Colmer

Abstract

Using a household panel data set in rural Ethiopia combined with a new data set containing daily atmospheric parameters, we are able to show that increased climate variability reduces the level of a farmer’s subjective assessment of their individual well-being. Resulting from the impact that climate variability has on uncertainty about future income, those living in riskier areas report lower life satisfaction than those living in more stable environments. The magnitude of our result indicates that a one standard deviation increase in climate variability has an equivalent e?ect on life satisfaction to a two standard deviation (1-2%) decrease in real consumption expenditure per capita. Out of all of the determinants examined, this e?ect is shown to be one of the largest determinants of life satisfaction in rural Ethiopia. Robustness tests demonstrate the resilience of our results and help to disentangle the e?ects of climate variability from weather e?ects. They also help to draw out the mechanism by which climate variability impacts life satisfaction. We also demonstrate, using a second panel data set in urban Ethiopia, that increased climate variability has no impact on subjective well-being for urban households. In light of the resilience and magnitude of our result, policies that reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture, improve farmers’ ability to deal with climatic risk, and provide credible insurance are likely to be welfare-enhancing.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/WP118-welfare-cost-of-climate-variability.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in its series Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers with number 118.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp118

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham.
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Florencia Devoto & Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & William Parient� & Vincent Pons, 2012. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 68-99, November.
  2. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Vinha, Katja & Conroy, Hector V., 2011. "The impacts of climate variability on welfare in rural Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5555, The World Bank.
  3. Jonathan A. Parker & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2004. "Optimal Expectations," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 426, Econometric Society.
  4. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2008. "Life Satisfaction in Urban China: Components and Determinants," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2325-2340, November.
  5. Welsch, Heinz, 2006. "Environment and happiness: Valuation of air pollution using life satisfaction data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 801-813, July.
  6. Robert Metcalfe & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Paul Dolan, 2011. "Destruction and Distress: Using a Quasi‐Experiment to Show the Effects of the September 11 Attacks on Mental Well‐Being in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages F81-F103, February.
  7. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  8. Russell Smyth & Xiaolei Qian, 2008. "Inequality and Happiness in Urban China," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(24), pages 1-10.
  9. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, 03.
  10. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  11. Katrin Rehdanz & David J. Maddison, 2003. "Climate and Happiness," Working Papers FNU-20, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
  12. Bookwalter, Jeffrey T. & Dalenberg, Douglas R., 2010. "Relative to What or Whom? The Importance of Norms and Relative Standing to Well-Being in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 345-355, March.
  13. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2002. "Rich and powerful? Subjective power and welfare in Russia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2854, The World Bank.
  14. Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Paul Dolan & Richard Layard & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "Measuring subjective well-being for public policy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 35420, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2000. "Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(4), pages 827-874, December.
  17. Rehdanz, Katrin & Maddison, David, 2008. "Local environmental quality and life-satisfaction in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 787-797, February.
  18. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2004. "Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 393-415, October.
  19. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2010. "Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 113-124, January.
  20. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2008:i:24:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Arik Levinson, 2009. "Valuing Public Goods Using Happiness Data: The Case of Air Quality," Working Papers gueconwpa~09-09-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  22. Ferreira, Susana & Akay, Alpaslan & Brereton, Finbarr & Cuñado, Juncal & Martinsson, Peter & Moro, Mirko & Ningal, Tine F., 2013. "Life satisfaction and air quality in Europe," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 1-10.
  23. Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2009. "Using Happiness Data For Environmental Valuation: Issues And Applications," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 385-406, 04.
  24. Anthony C. Fisher & W. Michael Hanemann & Michael J. Roberts & Wolfram Schlenker, 2012. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Output and Random Fluctuations in Weather: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3749-60, December.
  25. Robert Metcalfe & John Feddersen & Mark Wooden, 2012. "Subjective Well-Being: Weather Matters; Climate Doesn't," Economics Series Working Papers 627, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  26. Nick Carroll & Paul Frijters & Michael Shields, 2009. "Quantifying the costs of drought: new evidence from life satisfaction data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 445-461, April.
  27. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & John Knight, 2006. "Subjective well-being poverty vs. Income poverty and capabilities poverty?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1224.
  28. Welsch, Heinz, 2002. "Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 473-94.
  29. Susana Ferreira & Mirko Moro, 2010. "On the Use of Subjective Well-Being Data for Environmental Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 249-273, July.
  30. Jeffrey Bookwalter & Douglas Dalenberg, 2004. "Subjective Well-Being and Household Factors in South Africa," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 333-353, February.
  31. Davies, Simon & Hinks, Tim, 2009. "Crime and Happiness Amongst Heads of Households in Malawi," Department of Economics Working Papers 15969, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
  32. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Gowdy, John M., 2007. "Environmental degradation and happiness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 509-516, January.
  33. Paul Dolan & Daniel Kahneman, 2008. "Interpretations Of Utility And Their Implications For The Valuation Of Health," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 215-234, 01.
  34. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  35. Deschenes, Olivier & Greenstone, Michael, 2006. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Output and Random Fluctuations in Weather," Working paper 291, Regulation2point0.
  36. Romina Boarini & Margherita Comola & Conal Smith & Robert Manchin & Femke de Keulenaer, 2012. "What Makes for a Better Life?: The Determinants of Subjective Well-Being in OECD Countries – Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2012/3, OECD Publishing.
  37. Tim Hinks & Simon Davies, 2008. "Life satisfaction in Malawi and the importance of relative consumption, polygamy and religion," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(7), pages 888-904.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp118. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (The GRI Administration).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.