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To what extent does air pollution affect happiness? The case of the Jinchuan mining area, China

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  • Li, Zhengtao
  • Folmer, Henk
  • Xue, Jianhong

Abstract

This paper presents a structural equation model of happiness, as influenced by inter alia perceived risk due to (i) intensity of exposure to polluted air, and (ii) hazard of pollutants. In addition, objective risk measured as proximity to the pollution source, is considered. The main finding is that both types of perceived risk negatively and significantly influence people's happiness, although in absolute terms, the total perceived risk effect is less than the (positive) effect of ability, measured by income and education. Other important determinants of happiness are family size, age, proximity to the pollution source, work environment and current health condition. Perceived risk due to intensity of exposure is influenced by environmental knowledge and proximity to the pollution source; perceived risk of hazard by ability, environmental knowledge, family size, family health experience and proximity to the pollution source. Environmental knowledge is found to be a function of age, ability and work environment. On the basis of the findings, we conclude that reducing air pollution is an important policy measure to ameliorate happiness. As environmental knowledge is an important determinant of perceived risk, reduction policies should be accompanied by disclosure of the state of air quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Zhengtao & Folmer, Henk & Xue, Jianhong, 2014. "To what extent does air pollution affect happiness? The case of the Jinchuan mining area, China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 88-99.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:99:y:2014:i:c:p:88-99 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.12.014
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:137:y:2017:i:c:p:29-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Asadullah, Niaz & Xiao, Saizi & Yeoh, Emile Kok-Kheng, 2016. "Subjective Well-being in China, 2005-2010: The Role of Relative Income, Gender and Location," IZA Discussion Papers 9637, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1387-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Binder, Martin & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin, 2016. "Environmental concerns, volunteering and subjective well-being: Antecedents and outcomes of environmental activism in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 1-16.
    5. Zhang, Xin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Chen, Xi, 2017. "Valuing Air Quality Using Happiness Data: The Case of China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 29-36.
    6. Kant, Shashi & Vertinsky, Ilan & Zheng, Bin, 2016. "Valuation of First Nations peoples' social, cultural, and land use activities using life satisfaction approach," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 46-55.
    7. Welsch, Heinz & Ferreira, Susana, 2014. "Environment, Well-Being, and Experienced Preference," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 7(3-4), pages 205-239, December.
    8. Cheng, Zhiming & Wang, Ben, 2015. "Valuing the environment: Happiness and willingness-to-pay," MPRA Paper 64676, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Verhofstadt, E. & Van Ootegem, L. & Defloor, B. & Bleys, B., 2016. "Linking individuals' ecological footprint to their subjective well-being," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 80-89.
    10. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-015-1218-9 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Money measures of well-being; Perceived risk; Objective risk; Environmental knowledge; Structural equation model; Mining; Air pollution; China;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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