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Urbanization, Natural Amenities, and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Counties

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  • Winters, John V.

    () (Oklahoma State University)

  • Li, Yu

    (Oklahoma State University)

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of county-level urbanization and natural amenities on subjective well-being (SWB) in the U.S. SWB is measured using individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) which asks respondents to rate their overall life satisfaction. Using individual-level SWB data allows us to control for several important individual characteristics. The results suggest that urbanization lowers SWB, with relatively large negative effects for residents in dense counties and large metropolitan areas. Natural amenities also affect SWB, with warmer winters having a significant positive effect on self-reported life-satisfaction. Implications for researchers and policymakers are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Winters, John V. & Li, Yu, 2015. "Urbanization, Natural Amenities, and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Counties," IZA Discussion Papers 8966, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8966
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    Cited by:

    1. Karen Maguire & John V. Winters, 2017. "Satisfaction and Self-Employment: Do Women Benefit More from Being Their Own Boss?," Economics Working Paper Series 1713, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
    2. Karen Maguire & John V. Winters, 2016. "Energy Boom and Gloom? Local Effects of Oil and Natural Gas Drilling on Subjective Well-Being," Economics Working Paper Series 1607, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; urbanization; population density; amenities; quality of life;

    JEL classification:

    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General
    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General

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