Welfare Perceptions of Public Expenditure on Environmental and Non-Environmental Goods

Abstract Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:255KB) PP. 457-464
DOI: 10.4236/tel.2014.46057    2,979 Downloads   3,897 Views   Citations


Increasing research shows that income growth has a less than substantial impact on people’s well-being. In contrast, environmental factors are found to have non-negligible impact on people’s well-being. The research raises the question of whether more can be done to improve the well-being of the public through government spending on the environment. We conducted pair comparison surveys using the variance stable rank method on preferences for public expenditure on education, environment and transportation in Singapore. Both aggregate preference rankings as well as rank ordered logitregression analysis on individuals’ rankings reveal that respondents perceive larger improvements in well-being from increasing public expenditure on environment goods compared to an equivalent increase in public expenditure on education goods.

Cite this paper

Ong, Q. and Quah, E. (2014) Welfare Perceptions of Public Expenditure on Environmental and Non-Environmental Goods. Theoretical Economics Letters, 4, 457-464. doi: 10.4236/tel.2014.46057.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Diener, E., Diener, M. and Diener, C. (1995) Factors Predicting the Subjective Well-Being of Nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 851-864. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.69.5.851
[2] Easterlin, R. (1974) Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence” In: David, R. and Reder, R., Eds., Nations and Households in Economic Growth: Essays in Honor of Moses Abramovitz, Academic Press, New York.
[3] Easterlin, R.A. (2005) A Puzzle for Adaptive Theory. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 56, 513-521. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2004.03.003
[4] Oswald, A.J. (1997) Happiness and Economic Performance. Economic Journal, 107, 1815-1831. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.1997.tb00085.x
[5] Ng, Y.K. (2001) Is Public Spending Good for You? World Economics, 2, 1-17.
[6] Ng, Y.K. (2008) Environmentally Responsible Happy Nation Index: Towards an Internationally Acceptable National Success Indicator. Social Indicators Research, 85, 425-446.
[7] Quah, E. and Tan, K.C. (2002) Siting Environmentally Unwanted Facilities: Risks, Trade-Offs and Choices. Edward Elgar Publishers, Aldershot.
[8] Welsch, H. (2002) Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys. Kyklos, 55, 473-494. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-6435.00198
[9] Welsch, H. (2006) Environment and Happiness: Valuation of Air Pollution Using Life Satisfaction Data. Ecological Economics, 58, 801-813. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2005.09.006
[10] Rehdanz, K. and Maddison, D. (2005) Climate and Happiness. Ecological Economics, 52, 111-125. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2004.06.015
[11] Peterson, G. and Brown, T. (1998) Economic Valuation by the Method of Paired Comparison, with Emphasis on Evaluation of the Transitivity Axiom. Land Economics, 74, 240-261.
[12] Shin, D. and Johnson, D. (1978) Avowed Happiness as an Overall Assessment of the Quality of Life. Social Indicators Research, 5, 475-492. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00352944
[13] Compton, W.C. (2005) An Introduction to Positive Psychology. Thomson Wadsworth, Belmont.
[14] Suh, E., Diener, E., Oishi, S. and Triandis, H. (1998) The Shifting Basis of Life Satisfaction Judgments across Cultures: Emotions versus Norms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 482-493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.74.2.482
[15] Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. and Thaler, R. (1991) The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5, 193-206. http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/jep.5.1.193
[16] Kahneman, D. and Knetsch, J. (1992) Valuing Public Goods: The Purchase of Moral Satisfaction. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 22, 57-70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0095-0696(92)90019-S
[17] Boyle, K., Bishop, R. and Welsh, M. (1985) Starting Point Bias in Contingent Valuation Bidding Games. Land Economics, 61, 188-196. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3145811
[18] Rutherford, M., Knetsch, J. and Brown, T. (1998) Assessing Environmental Losses: Judgments of Importance and Damage Schedules. Harvard Environmental Law Review, 20, 51-101.
[19] Chuenpagdee, R., Knetsch, J. and Brown, T. (2001) Costal Management Using Public Judgments, Importance Scales, and Predetermined Schedules. Coastal Management, 29, 253-270.
[20] Quah, E., Choa, E. and Tan, K.C. (2006) Use of Damage Schedules in Environmental Valuation: The Case of Urban Singapore. Applied Economics, 38, 1501-1512.
[21] Brown, T., Kingsley, D., Peterson, G., Flores, N., Clarke, A. and Birjulin, A. (2008) Reliability of Individual Valuations of Public and Private Goods: Response Time, Preference Learning, and Choice Consistency. Journal of Public Economics, 92, 1595-1606.
[22] Loomis, J., Peterson, G., Champ, P., Brown, T. and Lucero, B. (1998) Paired Comparison Estimates of Willingness to Accept versus Contingent Valuation Estimates of Willingness to Pay. Journal of Economic Behaviour & Organization, 35, 501-515. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0167-2681(98)00050-X
[23] Dunn-Rankin, R. (1983) Scaling Methods. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Lawrence.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.