Research Paper RENSSELAER Working Papers in Economics 0503
Environmental awareness and happiness
The focus of this paper is on the relationship between an individual's environmental attitudes (or awareness) and well-being. We use an ordered probit model to examine the relationship between individual measures of subjective well-being and environmental attitudes regarding ozone pollution and species extinction. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey we find a negative correlation between well-being and concern about ozone pollution and a positive correlation between well-being and concern about species extinction. These relationships hold when explanatory variables are included indicating whether or not the person lives in a polluted environment and whether or not the person engages in outdoor leisure activities. These relationships also hold when we control for individual psychological traits. Our results are an important step in clarifying some of the subtleties of the relationship between environmental quality and well-being. This research area is important in addressing the related issues of sustainability and environmental policy design.