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Local environmental quality and life-satisfaction in Germany

  • Rehdanz, Katrin
  • Maddison, David

Hitherto the task of valuing differences in environmental quality arising from air pollution and noise nuisance has been carried out mainly by using the hedonic price technique. This paper proposes a different approach to deriving information on individual preferences for local environmental quality. It analyses data drawn from the German socio economic panel in an attempt to explain differences in self-reported levels of well-being in terms of environmental quality. Mindful of existing research a large number of other explanatory variables are included to control for socio-demographic differences, economic circumstances as well as neighbourhood characteristics. Differences in local air quality and noise levels are measured by how much an individual feels affected by air pollution or noise exposure in their residential area. The evidence suggests that even when controlling for a range of other factors higher local air pollution and noise levels significantly diminish subjective well-being. But interestingly differences in perceived air and noise pollution are not capitalised into differences in house prices.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 64 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (February)
Pages: 787-797

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:64:y:2008:i:4:p:787-797
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Di Tella, R. & MacCulloch, R.J.: Oswald, A.J., 1997. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," Papers 19, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  2. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
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    • Katrin Rehdanz & David J. Maddison, 2003. "Climate and Happiness," Working Papers FNU-20, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
  6. Bernard M.S. van Praag & Barbara E. Baarsma, 2004. "Using Happiness Surveys to Value Intangibles: The Case of Airport Noise," CESifo Working Paper Series 1163, CESifo Group Munich.
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  8. Smith, V Kerry & Huang, Ju-Chin, 1995. "Can Markets Value Air Quality? A Meta-analysis of Hedonic Property Value Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 209-27, February.
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  10. Jon P. Nelson, 2004. "Meta-Analysis of Airport Noise and Hedonic Property Values," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 38(1), pages 1-27, January.
  11. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  12. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
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  15. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
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