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Happiness and Air Pollution

Arik Levinson ()
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Arik Levinson: Department of Economics, Georgetown University, https://www.ariklevinson.com/

Working Papers from Georgetown University, Department of Economics

Abstract: I pose three questions: Does pollution make people unhappy? How much? And is the effect proportional to pollution’s estimated effects on mortality and productivity? Answers to those three questions must overcome three obstacles: unobserved characteristics of locales correlated with both pollution and happiness; selection by pollution-averse individuals to less polluted areas; and habituation by residents to local circumstances. Since 2010, when the initial few studies relating happiness to pollution were last surveyed, thirty more have been published. I discuss how the new studies tackle each of those three problems and I devise a method of comparing their findings despite their different measures of both happiness and pollution. I combine the happiness and income coefficients from each study into a willingness-to-pay measure, for a one-day, one-standard-deviation pollution reduction. Finally, I document a surprising concordance between those calculated willingness-to-pay measures and new research assessing the effects of pollution on mortality and productivity

Keywords: Stated well-being; willingness-to-pay; habituation; short-termism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H41 Q51 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23
Date: 2020-09-30
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dcm, nep-ene and nep-hap
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~20-20-03

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Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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