Pain at the pump

Gasoline prices and subjective well-being

Casey Boyd-Swan, Chris Herbst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the health implications of rising gasoline prices. This paper considers the impact of gasoline prices on subjective well-being, as captured by survey questions on happiness and life satisfaction. Using rich data from the DDB Worldwide Communications Life Style™ survey, we document a negative relationship between gasoline prices and self-reported life satisfaction over the period 1985-2005. The estimated reduction in well-being, moreover, is found to be nearly twice as large among groups of likely car owners. Interestingly, although rising gasoline prices lead to an immediate deterioration in subjective well-being, analyses of lagged prices suggest that well-being almost fully rebounds 1. year later and changes very little each year thereafter. Our contemporaneous estimates imply that rising gasoline prices generate well-being losses comparable to faltering labor market conditions, and likely offset some of the physical health benefits found in previous research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-175
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Volume72
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

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pain
pump
well-being
market conditions
life style
health
happiness
labor market
price
Gasoline prices
Pain
Subjective well-being
automobile
communications
communication
Well-being
Group
Life satisfaction
life satisfaction

Keywords

  • Gasoline prices
  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies

Cite this

Pain at the pump : Gasoline prices and subjective well-being. / Boyd-Swan, Casey; Herbst, Chris.

In: Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 72, No. 2-3, 09.2012, p. 160-175.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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