IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Valuing scenic amenity using life satisfaction data

  • Ambrey, Christopher L.
  • Fleming, Christopher M.

The life satisfaction approach has recently emerged as a new technique in the suite of options available to non-market valuation practitioners. Employing data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this paper examines the influence of scenic amenity on the life satisfaction of residents of South East Queensland (SEQ), Australia. Measuring scenic amenity on a 10-point scale, it is found that, on average, a respondent is willing-to-pay approximately AUD$14,000 in household income per annum to obtain a one-unit improvement in scenic amenity. However, on closer inspection, we find that the relationship between willingness-to-pay and the level of scenic amenity is not linear. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to value scenic amenity using the life satisfaction approach and is the first paper to use this approach to value any type of environmental good or service in SEQ. As such, this paper represents a genuine contribution to a small, yet growing, body of literature.

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:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 106-115

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:72:y:2011:i:c:p:106-115
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.09.011
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative income, happiness, and utility: An explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles," Post-Print halshs-00754299, HAL.
  2. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2011. "Money and Happiness: Evidence from the Industry Wage Structure," CEP Discussion Papers dp1051, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "The Life Satisfaction Approach to Environmental Valuation," Working papers 2009/08, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  4. Benson, Earl D author-name: Hansen, Julia L. & Schwartz Jr., Arthur & Smersh, Greg T., 1998. "Pricing Residential Amenities: The Value of a View," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 55-73, January.
  5. 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.
  6. Samarasinghe, Oshadhi & Sharp, Basil, 2010. "Flood prone risk and amenity values: a spatial hedonic analysis," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 54(4), December.
  7. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Nick Carroll & Paul Frijters & Michael Shields, 2009. "Quantifying the costs of drought: new evidence from life satisfaction data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 445-461, April.
  9. V. Kerry Smith, 2008. "Reflections on the Literature," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 292-308, Summer.
  10. John F. Helliwell, 2002. "How's Life? Combining Individual and National Variables to Explain Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 9065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. MacKerron, George & Mourato, Susana, 2009. "Life satisfaction and air quality in London," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1441-1453, March.
  12. Alan B. Krueger & David A. Schkade, 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," NBER Working Papers 13027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Joop Hartog & Hessel Oosterbeek, 1997. "Health, Wealth and Happiness: Why pursue a Higher Education?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-034/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  14. Ferreira, Susana & Moro, Mirko, 2009. "On the Use of Subjective Well-Being Data for Environmental Valuation," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2009-24, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  15. Mark Wooden & Diana Warren & Robert Drago, 2009. "Working Time Mismatch and Subjective Well-being," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(1), pages 147-179, 03.
  16. Michael Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price & Mark Wooden, 2009. "Life satisfaction and the economic and social characteristics of neighbourhoods," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 421-443, April.
  17. Christopher L Ambrey & Christopher M Fleming, 2011. "The influence of the natural environment and climate on life satisfaction in Australia," Discussion Papers in Economics economics:201101, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
  18. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  19. 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.
  20. Welsch, Heinz, 2002. "Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 473-94.
  21. Ian D Bishop, 2002. "Determination of thresholds of visual impact: the case of wind turbines," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(5), pages 707-718, September.
  22. Rachel Margolis & Mikko Myrskylä, 2010. "A global perspective on happiness and fertility," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2010-025, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  23. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  24. Katrin Rehdanz, 2007. "Species Diversity And Human Well-Being: A Spatial Econometric Approach," Working Papers FNU-151, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Oct 2007.
  25. Rehdanz, Katrin & Maddison, David, 2005. "Climate and happiness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 111-125, January.
    • Katrin Rehdanz & David J. Maddison, 2003. "Climate and Happiness," Working Papers FNU-20, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
  26. Sorada Tapsuwan & Gordon Ingram & Michael Burton & Donna Brennan, 2009. "Capitalized amenity value of urban wetlands: a hedonic property price approach to urban wetlands in Perth, Western Australia ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 53(4), pages 527-545, October.
  27. P B McLeod, 1984. "The Demand for Local Amenity: An Hedonic Price Analysis," Environment and Planning A, SAGE Publishing, vol. 16(3), pages 389-400, March.
  28. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, 03.
  29. P B McLeod, 1984. "The demand for local amenity: an hedonic price analysis," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 16(3), pages 389-400, March.
  30. 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.
  31. Smyth, Russell & Mishra, Vinod & Qian, Xiaolei, 2008. "The Environment and Well-Being in Urban China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 547-555, December.
  32. Luechinger, Simon & Raschky, Paul A., 2009. "Valuing flood disasters using the life satisfaction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 620-633, April.
  33. Bienabe, Estelle & Hearne, Robert R., 2006. "Public preferences for biodiversity conservation and scenic beauty within a framework of environmental services payments," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 335-348, December.
  34. Russell Smyth & Ingrid Nielsen & Qingguo Zhai & Tiemin Liu & Yin Liu & C.Y. Tang & Zhihong Wang & Zuxiang Wang & Juyong Zhang, 2008. "Environmental Surroundings And Personal Well-Being In Urban China," Monash Economics Working Papers 32/08, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  35. Brereton, Finbarr & Clinch, J. Peter & Ferreira, Susana, 2008. "Happiness, geography and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 386-396, April.
  36. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  37. Randall, Alan & Ives, Berry & Eastman, Clyde, 1974. "Bidding games for valuation of aesthetic environmental improvements," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 132-149, August.
  38. Nicole Watson & Mark Wooden, 2010. "The HILDA Survey: Progress and Future Developments," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 43(3), pages 326-336.
  39. Boyce, Christopher J., 2010. "Understanding fixed effects in human well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-16, February.
  40. Oshadhi Samarasinghe & Basil Sharp, 2010. "Flood prone risk and amenity values: a spatial hedonic analysis," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 54(4), pages 457-475, October.
  41. Pearson, L. J. & Tisdell, C. & Lisle, A. T., 2002. "The Impact of Noosa National Park on Surrounding Property Values: An Application of the Hedonic Price Method," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 155-171, June Spec.
  42. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  43. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1998. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 6826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. 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.
  45. Welsch, Heinz, 2006. "Environment and happiness: Valuation of air pollution using life satisfaction data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 801-813, July.
  46. 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.
  47. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2010. "How much does money really matter? Estimating the causal effects of income on happiness," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 77-92, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:72:y:2011:i:c:p:106-115. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.