2020 | 2(80) | 5-21
Article title

Can Smog Make Us Unhappy? Effects of Perceived and Objective Air Quality on Subjective Well-being

Title variants
Czy smog nas unieszczęśliwia? Wpływ postrzeganej i obiektywnej jakości powietrza na subiektywny dobrostan
Languages of publication
Celem badania jest eksploracja związku między postrzeganym a obiektywnym zanieczyszczeniem powietrza w kontekście różnych miar dobrostanu. Dane z ankiety przeprowadzonej w jednej z dzielnic Warszawy zostały zestawione z wynikami pomiarów PM2.5 w celu uchwycenia krótkoterminowej ekspozycji na zanieczyszczenie oraz bieżącej oceny dobrostanu. Wyniki analizy log-linearnej oraz modelu dwustopniowej estymacji metodą największej wiarygodności wskazują na negatywny związek zarówno postrzeganego, jak i obiektywnego zanieczyszczenia, z deklarowanym poziomem satysfakcji życia. Wykorzystując metodę zmiennej instrumentalnej, odrzucono hipotezę o endogenności postrzeganego zanieczyszczenia względem subiektywnego dobrostanu.
The study aims to explore the interrelation of perceived air pollution and objective air pollution in the context of various subjective wellbeing (SWB) measures. An original survey data is used, and matched with exogenous levels of PM2.5 pollution in one of Warsaw’s city districts, to capture the short-term exposure and immediate SWB assessments. The log-linear analysis and the Two-Stage Conditional Maximum Likelihood estimations have found both the perceived and objective air pollution to have a negative effect on reported life satisfaction. Using the instrumental variable approach, the hypothesis of endogeneity of perceived pollution to SWB is rejected.
  • Uniwersytet Warszawski, Centrum Europejskich Studiów Regionalnych i Lokalnych (EUROREG)
  • Ambrey, C.L., and Fleming, C.M., 2014, “Valuing ecosystem diversity in South East Queensland: A life satisfaction approach”, Social Indicators Research, 115, 45–65.
  • Alkon, M., and Wang, E.H., 2018, “Pollution lowers support for China’s regime: Quasiexperimental evidence from Beijing”, The Journal of Politics, 80(1), 327–331.
  • Alvarez, R.M., and Glasgow, G., 1999, “Two-stage estimation of nonrecursive choice models”, Political Analysis, 8(2), 147–165.
  • Arendt, J.N., 2004, “Endogeneity and heterogeneity in LDV panel data models”, Paper presented at the International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, Germany, 05.07.2004–06.07.2004.
  • Barrington-Leigh, C., and Behzadnejad, F., 2017, “Evaluating the short-term cost of low-level local air pollution: A life satisfaction approach”, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 19(2), 269–298.
  • Brereton, F., Clinch, J.P., and Ferreira, S., 2008, “Happiness, geography and the environment”, Ecological Economics, 65(2), 386–396.
  • Day, R., 2007, “Place and the experience of air quality”, Health & Place, 13(1), 249–260.
  • Diener, E., Heintzelman, S.J., Kushlev, K., Tay, L., Wirtz, D., Lutes, L.D., and Oishi, S., 2017, “Findings all psychologists should know from the new science on subjective well-being”, Canadian Psychology, 58(2), 87–104.
  • Dolan, P., and Laffan, K., 2016, “Bad air days: The effects of air quality on different measures of subjective well-being”, Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, 7(1), 147–195.
  • Du, G., Shin, K.J., and Managi, S., 2018, “Variability in impact of air pollution on subjective well-being”, Atmospheric Environment, 183, 175–208.
  • EEA, 2018, Air quality in Europe – 2018 report, Copenhagen: European Environment Agency.
  • ESS, 2016, European Social Survey: Round 8 Source Questionnaire. London: ESS ERIC Headquarters, City University London.
  • Frey, B.S., Luechinger, S., and Stutzer, A., 2010, “The life satisfaction approach to environmental valuation”, Annual Review of Resource Economics, 2(1), 139–160.
  • Goetzke, F., and Rave, T., 2015, “Regional air quality and happiness in Germany”, International Regional Science Review, 38(4), 437–451.
  • Graham, C., 2005, “The economics of happiness”, World Economy, 6(3), 41–55.
  • Gu, D., Huang, N., Zhang, M., and Wang, F., 2015, “Under the dome: Air pollution, wellbeing, and pro-environmental behaviour among Beijing residents”, Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, 9(2), 65–77.
  • Holnicki, P., Tainio, M., Kałuszko, A., and Nahorski, Z., 2017, “Burden of mortality and disease attributable to multiple air pollutants in Warsaw, Poland”, International
  • Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(11), 1359.
  • Kahneman, D., and Krueger, A.B., 2006, “Developments in the measurement of subjective well-being”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(1), 3–24.
  • Laffan, K., 2018, “Every breath you take, every move you make: Visits to the outdoors and physical activity help to explain the relationship between air pollution and subjective wellbeing”, Ecological Economics, 147, 96–113.
  • Lelieveld, J., Klingmüller, K., Pozzer, A., Pöschl, U., Fnais, M., Daiber, A., and Münzel, T., 2019, “Cardiovascular disease burden from ambient air pollution in Europe reassessed using novel hazard ratio functions”, European Heart Journal, 40(20), 1590–1596.
  • Levinson, A., 2012, “Valuing public goods using happiness data: The case of air quality”, Journal of Public Economics, 96(9–10), 869–880.
  • Li, Y., Guan, D., Tao, S., Wang, X., and He, K., 2018, “A review of air pollution impact on subjective well-being: Survey versus visual psychophysics”, Journal of Cleaner Production, 184, 959–968.
  • Liao, P.S., Shaw, D., and Lin, Y.M., 2015, “Environmental quality and life satisfaction: Subjective versus objective measures of air quality”, Social Indicators Research, 124(2), 599–616.
  • Liu, I., and Agresti, A., 2005, “The analysis of ordered categorical data: An overview and a survey of recent developments”, Test, 14(1), 1–73.
  • Luechinger, S., 2009, “Valuing air quality using the life satisfaction approach”, The Economic Journal, 119(536), 482–515.
  • MacKerron, G., and Mourato, S., 2009, “Life satisfaction and air quality in London”, Ecological Economics, 68(5), 1441–1453.
  • O’Neill, D.W., Fanning, A.L., Lamb, W.F., and Steinberger, J.K., 2018, “A good life for all within planetary boundaries”, Nature Sustainability, 1(2), 88–95.
  • Odermatt, R., and Stutzer, A., 2017, Subjective Well-Being and Public Policy, Bonn: IZA Institute of Labor Economics.
  • OECD, 2013, OECD guidelines on measuring subjective well-being. Paris: OECD Publishing.
  • Oguz, S., Merad, S., and Snape, D., 2013, Measuring National Well-being-What matters most to Personal Well-being?, London: UK Office for National Statistics.
  • Orru, K., Nordin, S., Harzia, H., and Orru, H., 2018, “The role of perceived air pollution and health risk perception in health symptoms and disease: A population-based study combined with modelled levels of PM 10”, International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 91(5), 581–589.
  • Orru, K., Orru, H., Maasikmets, M., Hendrikson, R., and Ainsaar, M., 2016, “Well-being and environmental quality: Does pollution affect life satisfaction?”, Quality of Life Research, 25(3), 699–705.
  • Praag, B.M.S. van, and Baarsma, B.E., 2005, “Using happiness surveys to value intangibles: The case of airport noise”, The Economic Journal, 115, 224–246.
  • Rehdanz, K., and Maddison, D., 2008, “Local environmental quality and life-satisfaction in Germany”, Ecological Economics, 64(4), 787–797.
  • Rivers, D., and Vuong, Q.H., 1988, “Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models”, Journal of Econometrics, 39(3), 347–366.
  • Rodríguez, G., 2007, Lecture Notes on Generalized Linear Models, Available at (access: 10.07.2019).
  • Sekulova, F., van den Bergh, J.C., 2013, “Climate change, income and happiness: An empirical study for Barcelona”, Global Environmental Change, 23(6), 1467–1475.
  • Staiger, D., and James, H. Stock, 1997, “Instrumental variables with weak instruments”, Econometrica, 65(3), 557–586.
  • Steger, M.F., Kashdan, T.B., and Oishi, S., 2008, “Being good by doing good: Daily eudaimonic activity and well-being”, Journal of Research in Personality, 42(1), 22–42.
  • Stiglitz, J., Fitoussi, J., and Durand, M., 2018, For good measure: Advancing research on well-being metrics beyond GDP, Paris: OECD Publishing.
  • UNGC, 2018, Zrównoważone miasta. Poprawa jakości powietrza w Polsce 2018, Warsaw: United Nations Global Compact.
  • Veenhoven, R., 1997, “Advances in understanding happiness”, Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 18(2), 29–74.
  • Welsch, H., and Kühling, J., 2009, “Using happiness data for environmental valuation: Issues and applications”, Journal of Economic Surveys, 23(2), 385–406.
  • WHO, 2018, Global ambient air quality database. Update 2018, World Health Organization, available at: [Access: 10.07.2019].
  • Wooldridge, J.M., 2002, Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • World Bank, 2016, The Cost of Air Pollution: Strengthening the Economic Case for Action, Washington, DC: World Bank.
  • Zelenski, J.M., and Nisbet, E.K.. 2014, “Happiness and feeling connected: The distinct role of nature relatedness”, Environment and Behavior, 46(1), 3–23.
  • Zhang, X., Zhang, X., and Chen, X., 2017, Happiness in the air: How does a dirty sky affect mental health and subjective well-being?, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 85, 81–94.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.