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Superstitions, street traffic, and subjective well-being

Michael Anderson (), Fangwen Lu, Yiran Zhang, Jun Yang and Ping Qin

Journal of Public Economics, 2016, vol. 142, issue C, 1-10

Abstract: Congestion plays a central role in urban and transportation economics. Existing estimates of congestion costs rely on stated or revealed preferences studies. We explore a complementary measure of congestion costs based on self-reported happiness. Exploiting quasi-random variation in daily congestion in Beijing that arises because of superstitions about the number four, we estimate a strong effect of daily congestion on self-reported happiness. When benchmarking this effect against the relationship between income and self-reported happiness we compute implied congestion costs that are several times larger than conventional estimates. Several factors, including the value of reliability and externalities on non-travelers, can reconcile our alternative estimates with the existing literature.

Keywords: Congestion; Happiness; Value of travel time; Value of reliability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R41 R48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Working Paper: Superstitions, Street Traffic, and Subjective Well-Being (2015) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:142:y:2016:i:c:p:1-10

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.07.005

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