Environmental Amenities and Quality of Life Across the United States
Posted: 28 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 27, 2017
This paper investigates the spatial variation in subjective well-being across the United States (U.S.). 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 subjective well-being 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 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.
Keywords: Subjective well-being, Life satisfaction, Regional variation, Local amenities, Spatial equilibrium
JEL Classification: I31,Q50
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