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Happiness in the air: How does a dirty sky affect subjective well-being?:

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  • Zhang, Xin
  • Zhang, Xiaobo
  • Chen, Xi

Abstract

Existing studies that evaluate the impact of pollution on human beings understate its negative effect on cognition, mental health, and happiness. This paper attempts to fill in the gap via investigating the impact of air quality on subjective well-being using China as an example. By matching a unique longitudinal dataset at the individual level, which includes self-reported happiness and mental well-being measures, with contemporaneous local air quality and weather information according to the exact date and place of interview, we show that worse air quality reduces shorter-term hedonic happiness and increases the rate of depressive symptoms. However, life satisfaction, an evaluative measure of happiness, is largely immune from immediate bad air quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Xin & Zhang, Xiaobo & Chen, Xi, 2015. "Happiness in the air: How does a dirty sky affect subjective well-being?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1463, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1463
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Bosi, Stefano & Desmarchelier, David, 2018. "Natural cycles and pollution," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 10-20.
    3. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin, 2017. "Smog in Our Brains: Gender Differences in the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 10628, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Nie, Peng & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2018. "Commute time and subjective well-being in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 188-204.
    5. Yu Qin & Hongjia Zhu, 2018. "Run away? Air pollution and emigration interests in China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 235-266, January.
    6. Chen, Xi, 2018. "Smog, Cognition and Real-World Decision Making," GLO Discussion Paper Series 266, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    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. Castellacci, Fulvio & Tveito, Vegard, 2018. "Internet use and well-being: A survey and a theoretical framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 308-325.
    9. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhang, Xin, 2017. "Smog in our brains: Gender differences in the impact of exposure to air pollution on cognitive performance in China," IFPRI discussion papers 1619, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    air pollution; welfare; psychology;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • 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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