Some Like it Mild and Not Too Wet: The Influence of Weather on Subjective Well-Being
University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - Department of Economics; Centre Interuniversitaire Sur le Risque, les Politiques Économiques et l'Emploi (CIRPEE); Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)
July 5, 2011
More and more economists and politicians are advocating the use of comprehensive measures of well-being, on top of the usual national accounting measures, to assess the welfare of populations. Researchers using subjective well-being data should be aware of the potential biasing effects of the weather on their estimates. In this paper, I investigated the responsiveness of well-being to climate and transitory weather conditions by analyzing subjective well-being data collected in the Princeton Affect and Time Survey. I studied general satisfaction questions about life in general, life at home, health and one's job, as well as questions concerning feelings intensities during specific episodes. I found that women are much more responsive than men to the weather, and that life satisfaction decreases with the amount of rain on the day of the interview. Low temperatures increase happiness and reduce tiredness and stress, raising net affect, and high temperatures reduce happiness, consistent with the fact that the survey was conducted in the summer. I concluded by suggesting methods to reduce the possible biases.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: subjective well-being, life satisfaction, happiness, weather, temperature, precipitation
JEL Classification: D6, I3working papers series
Date posted: July 6, 2011
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