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Subjective wellbeing: why weather matters


  • John Feddersen
  • Robert Metcalfe
  • Mark Wooden


type="main" xml:id="rssa12118-abs-0001"> The paper reports results from the first ever study of the effect of short-term weather and long-term climate on self-reported life satisfaction that uses longitudinal data. We find robust evidence that day-to-day weather variation impacts self-reported life satisfaction. Utilizing two sources of variation in the cognitive complexity of satisfaction questions, we present evidence that weather effects arise because of the cognitive challenge of reporting life satisfaction. We do not detect a relationship between long-term climate and self-reported life satisfaction by using an individual fixed effects specification, which identifies climate impacts through individuals moving location.

Suggested Citation

  • John Feddersen & Robert Metcalfe & Mark Wooden, 2016. "Subjective wellbeing: why weather matters," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(1), pages 203-228, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:179:y:2016:i:1:p:203-228

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    Cited by:

    1. Yonas Alem & Jonathan Colmer, 2015. "Consumption Smoothing and the Welfare Cost of Uncertainty," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 059, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    2. Iacus Stefano M. & Salini Silvia & Siletti Elena & Porro Giuseppe, 2020. "Controlling for Selection Bias in Social Media Indicators through Official Statistics: a Proposal," Journal of Official Statistics, Sciendo, vol. 36(2), pages 315-338, June.
    3. Ekaterina Oparina & Sorawoot Srisuma, 2022. "Analyzing Subjective Well-Being Data with Misclassification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 730-743, April.
    4. Dolan, Paul & Kavetsos, Georgios & Krekel, Christian & Mavridis, Dimitris & Metcalfe, Robert & Senik, Claudia & Szymanski, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2019. "Quantifying the intangible impact of the Olympics using subjective well-being data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 1-1.
    5. Paul Dolan & Georgios Kavetsos & Christian Krekel & Dimitris Mavridis & Robert Metcalfe & Claudia Senik & Stefan Szymanski & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2016. "The Host with the Most? The Effects of the Olympic Games on Happiness," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 858, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Elsayed, Ahmed, 2020. "Global terror, well-being and political attitudes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    7. Guglielmo Zappalà, 2022. "Drought exposure and accuracy: Motivated reasoning in climate change beliefs," Working Papers 2022.02, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    8. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Elsayed, Ahmed, 2018. "Everybody's a Victim? Global Terror, Well-Being and Political Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 11597, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Yonas Alem & Jonathan Colmer, 2015. "Consumption smoothing and the welfare cost of uncertainty," GRI Working Papers 118b, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    10. Alem, Yonas & Colmer, Jonathan, 2015. "Consumption smoothing and the welfare cost of uncertainty," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 63816, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Clément S. Bellet & Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & George Ward, 2019. "Does employee happiness have an impact on productivity?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1655, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Eleftherios Giovanis, 2019. "Worthy to lose some money for better air quality: applications of Bayesian networks on the causal effect of income and air pollution on life satisfaction in Switzerland," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 57(5), pages 1579-1611, November.
    13. Knight, S.J; Howley, P.;, 2017. "Can clean air make you happy? Examining the effect of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on life satisfaction," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/08, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    14. Patel, Pankaj C. & Devaraj, Srikant & Quigley, Narda R. & Oghazi, Pejvak, 2020. "The influence of sunlight on taxi driver productivity," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 456-468.
    15. Yonas Alem & Jonathan Colmer, 2015. "Consumption Smoothing and the Welfare Cost of Uncertainty," CEP Discussion Papers dp1369, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    16. Shuai Zhang & Binbin Liu & Dajian Zhu & Mingwang Cheng, 2018. "Explaining Individual Subjective Well-Being of Urban China Based on the Four-Capital Model," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(10), pages 1-14, September.
    17. Barbara Felderer & Jannis Kueck & Martin Spindler, 2021. "Big Data meets Causal Survey Research: Understanding Nonresponse in the Recruitment of a Mixed-mode Online Panel," Papers 2102.08994,

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