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- PublicationValuing the environment using the life-satisfaction approachThis paper presents a comprehensive theoretical and methodological framework clarifying the relationship between non-market environmental valuation techniques, in particular hedonic and life-satisfaction methods. The paper shows how life satisfaction scores can be used to test correctly the equilibrium condition in location markets required by the hedonic approach and that in the absence of equilibrium, the life-satisfaction approach is still a theoretically valid valuation technique. Valuation using the life-satisfaction approach suffers from caveats associated with the cardinalisation of utility, however. Using data from Ireland, we apply this framework to the valuation of amenities linked to respondents’ dwelling areas using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
- PublicationUnderstanding and measuring quality of life in Ireland : sustainability, happiness and well-beingIn the last decade, the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy grew at a record rate for a developed country.Nevertheless, there has been much concern regarding the implications of the pace of economic growth for localised environmental quality and life satisfaction generally. It has long been recognised by economists, psychologists and others that traditional macro-measures of national income such as GDP and GNP are inadequate measures of the performance of an economy and wider society – such measures are unable to give value to environmental and social capital and are unable to capture the performance of a country in sustainability terms. The briefing note outlines the various approaches to measuring quality of life and sustainability for Ireland specifically focusing on a modified genuine savings approach and the use of life satisfaction scores to measure well-being and individual happiness with life. The paper presents results for Ireland. Finally, the paper discusses the importance of this research for developing an evidence-base for public policy and sets out the need for investment in such research.