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Can clean air make you happy? Examining the effect of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on life satisfaction

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  • Knight, S.J; Howley, P.;

Abstract

In order to estimate the welfare effects of exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), we combine life satisfaction data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and UK Household Longitudinal Survey (UKHLS) with detailed air quality records held by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). To address endogeneity concerns, we linked these with a variety of georeferenced datasets capturing differences in economic, social and environmental conditions across neighbourhoods. We also took advantage of the panel nature of our data by employing individual fixed effects. Our results suggest a significant and negative association between mean annual ambient NO2 and life satisfaction, and moreover that these effects are substantive and comparable to that of many ’big hitting’ life events.

Suggested Citation

  • Knight, S.J; Howley, P.;, 2017. "Can clean air make you happy? Examining the effect of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on life satisfaction," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/08, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:17/08
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    Keywords

    NO2; air pollution; life satisfaction; well-being; environmental quality; Understanding Society; British Household Panel Survey; Geographic Information Systems(GIS); England;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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