Morrison. Whose happiness in which cities..pdf (1.24 MB)
Whose happiness in which cities? A quantile approach
journal contributionposted on 2023-10-25, 08:39 authored by Philip MorrisonPhilip Morrison
The proposition that living in the largest urban agglomerations of an advanced economy reduces the average wellbeing of residents is known as the urban wellbeing paradox. Empirical tests using subjective wellbeing have produced mixed results and there are two reasons for being cautious. Firstly, the default reliance on the conditional mean can disguise uneven effects across the wellbeing distribution. Secondly, relying on respondents to define their settlement size does not ensure a consistent measure of the agglomeration. I therefore apply quantile regression to the life satisfaction and happiness measures of wellbeing as collected by the 2018 European Social Survey (ESS9) and employ a consistent local labour market-based definition of agglomeration-the Functional Urban Area (FUA). I compare three countries as proof of concept: one with a known strong negative (respondent defined) agglomeration effect (Austria), one with a slight negative effect (Czech Republic), and one where living in the main agglomeration is positively associated with average wellbeing (Slovenia). The uneven wellbeing effect of living in the largest agglomeration in each country raises questions about who benefits in which cities.