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Environmental Surroundings And Personal Well-Being In Urban China

  • Russell Smyth
  • Ingrid Nielsen
  • Qingguo Zhai
  • Tiemin Liu
  • Yin Liu
  • C.Y. Tang
  • Zhihong Wang
  • Zuxiang Wang
  • Juyong Zhang

We examine the relationship between atmospheric pollution, water pollution, traffic congestion, access to parkland and personal well-being using a survey administered across six Chinese cities in 2007. In contrast to existing studies of the determinants of well-being by economists, which have typically employed single item indicators to measure well-being, we use the Personal Well-Being Index (PWI). We also employ the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) to measure job satisfaction, which is one of the variables for which we control when examining the relationship between environmental surroundings and personal well-being. Previous research by psychologists has shown the PWI and JSS to have good psychometric properties in western and Chinese samples. A robust finding is that in cities with higher levels of atmospheric pollution and traffic congestion, respondents report lower levels of personal well-being ceteris paribus. We find that a one standard deviation increase in suspended particles or sulphur dioxide emissions is roughly equivalent to a 12-13 percent reduction in average monthly income in the six cities. This result suggests that the personal well-being of China's urban population can be enhanced if China were to pursue a more balanced growth path which curtailed atmospheric pollution.

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File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/2008/3208environmentalsmythnielsenzhai.pdf
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Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 32/08.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 02 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2008-32
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
Phone: +61-3-9905-2493
Fax: +61-3-9905-5476
Web page: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/
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