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Ranking quality of life using subjective well-being data


  • Moro, Mirko
  • Brereton, Finbarr
  • Ferreira, Susana
  • Clinch, J. Peter


Indices ranking the quality of life in cities based on climatic, environmental and urban conditions have a long tradition in the hedonic literature. In this paper we propose an alternative set of indices based on subjective well-being (SWB) data linked to regional level amenities. SWB indicators provide a direct, self-reported evaluation of life satisfaction and can be used to rank quality of life among different locations in the absence of data on housing prices and wages. Using SWB data in Ireland, we show how to rank quality of life in regions in three different ways: 1) using a simple unconditional average of SWB across locations, 2) conditionally, controlling for personal characteristics of individuals and the environmental amenities in their area and 3) weighting the environmental endowments in each location by the marginal rate of substitution between income and the amenity. The results show a very high correlation between the three indices and suggest that variation in SWB across locations is not random, but is driven to a large extent by the endowment of location-specific amenities across locations.

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  • Moro, Mirko & Brereton, Finbarr & Ferreira, Susana & Clinch, J. Peter, 2008. "Ranking quality of life using subjective well-being data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 448-460, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:65:y:2008:i:3:p:448-460

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Barrington-Leigh, Christopher P, 2008. "Weather as a transient influence on survey-reported satisfaction with life," MPRA Paper 25736, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. David (David Patrick) Madden, 2012. "The Socioeconomic Determinants of Mental Stress in Ireland," Working Papers 201221, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. John V Winters & Yu Li, 2017. "Urbanisation, natural amenities and subjective well-being: Evidence from US counties," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 54(8), pages 1956-1973, June.
    5. Jacopo Baggio & Elissaios Papyrakis, 2014. "Agent-Based Simulations of Subjective Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(2), pages 623-635, January.
    6. Andrew J. Oswald & Stephen Wu, 2011. "Well-Being across America," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1118-1134, November.
    7. Fulvio Castellacci & Vegard Tveito, 2016. "The Effects of ICTs on Well-being: A Survey and a Theoretical Framework," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20161004, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    8. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M., 2011. "Valuing scenic amenity using life satisfaction data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 106-115.
    9. Emilio Colombo & Alessandra Michelangeli & Luca Stanca, 2014. "La Dolce Vita : Hedonic Estimates of Quality of Life in Italian Cities," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(8), pages 1404-1418, August.
    10. Susana Ferreira & Mirko Moro, 2010. "On the Use of Subjective Well-Being Data for Environmental Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 249-273, July.
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    15. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M., 2011. "Valuing Ecosystem Diversity in South East Queensland: A Life Satisfaction Approach," 2011 Conference, August 25-26, 2011, Nelson, New Zealand 115347, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    16. Felix N. Fernando & Dennis R. Cooley, 2016. "An Oil Boom’s Effect on Quality of Life (QoL): Lessons from Western North Dakota," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 1083-1115, December.
    17. Yoshiro Tsutsui, 2011. "Weather and Individual Happiness," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 11-01-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Mar 2012.
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    21. Angela Faßhauer & Katrin Rehdanz, 2015. "Estimating Benefits from Regional Amenities: Internal Migration and Life Satisfaction," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 748, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    22. repec:rom:terumm:v:12:y:2017:i:1:p:21-37 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Chan, Andrew Yiu-Chung & Fleming, Christopher M., 2013. "Estimating the cost of air pollution in South East Queensland: An application of the life satisfaction non-market valuation approach," 2013 Conference (57th), February 5-8, 2013, Sydney, Australia 152133, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    24. Murray, Thomas & Maddison, David & Rehdanz, Katrin, 2011. "Do geographical variations in climate influence life satisfaction?," Kiel Working Papers 1694, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    25. Elsa Tesfazghi & J. Martinez & J. Verplanke, 2010. "Variability of Quality of Life at Small Scales: Addis Ababa, Kirkos Sub-City," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 73-88, August.

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