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Environmental amenities and quality of life across the United States

Mona Ahmadiani and Susana Ferreira

Ecological Economics, 2019, vol. 164, issue C, -

Abstract: This paper investigates the spatial variation in subjective well-being across the United States. We match individual-level survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) that includes a life-satisfaction question, to county-level local amenities between 2005 and 2010. We show that life satisfaction varies widely across U.S. counties (even if these are in the same state and after controlling for individual characteristics), which suggests that housing price and wage differentials are not fully compensating for differences in amenities across locations. We also show that local amenities including climate, geography, environmental externalities, and other local public goods, explain a sizable fraction of this variation, stressing the importance of environmental management across space.

Keywords: Subjective well-being; Life satisfaction; Regional variation; Local amenities; Spatial equilibrium (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I31 Q50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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