How are happy and unhappy people differently affected by their local environments? The heterogeneous relationship between happiness and local environments in Seoul, Korea

Sohyeon Lee, Taesoo Song, Up Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aims to reveal that the subjective happiness of individuals is affected not only by socioeconomic conditions but also by the local environments in which they live, and the conditions demanded by citizens in the local environment may vary depending on the level of happiness. We use the 2018 Seoul Survey of approximately 40,000 citizens (±0.4%p sampling error at 95% confidence level) and generate a final sample of 30,728 individuals between the ages of 25 and 65 years. The results of the unconditional quantile regression show a heterogeneous (non-linear) relationship between happiness and local environments. More specifically, we observe a decreasing importance of physical environments (leisure, green spaces, pedestrian spaces, public transit, public amenities, and community pride) and a increasing importance of socio-relational characteristics of the environment (trust, altruism, and safety) with increasing quantiles of happiness. Our findings suggest that public policies aimed at promoting citizen happiness through improving the local environments should more actively consider issues of efficiency and equity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103768
JournalCities
Volume127
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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