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The relationship between environmental degradation and happiness in 23 developed contemporary economies

Aviral Kumar Tiwari (Faculty of Management, IBS Hyderabad, IFHE University, Hyderabad, India)
Mihai Mutascu (Faculté de Droit d'Economie et de Gestion, University of Orléans, Orléans, France AND Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, West University of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the dynamics between gross domestic product (GDP), environmental degradation and happiness, by using country-level panel-data covering 23 countries, for the period 1961-2005.


For the analysis the authors employed the vector autoregression (VAR) approach in a panel framework.


The main results show that a high level of happiness is associated with a low level of GDP on short term (one year). The joint influence of GDP and environmental degradation on happiness is not significant, while GDP and happiness are unrelated to environmental degradation.

Research limitations/implications

The paper extends the literature on developed countries and offers a particular perspective on the relationship between environment degradation and happiness through a GDP growth impulse analysis.


The paper offers two main novelties: it simultaneously investigates the “well-being – environment”, and “well-being – economic dimension”, and it uses a panel-VAR approach, including the cross-country variation.



JEL Classification – O40, I30, C33, Q50

The authors are thankful to the anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of the paper. Special thanks go to Liliana Harding for her support. The authors are, however, solely responsible for any remaining errors.


Tiwari, A.K. and Mutascu, M. (2015), "The relationship between environmental degradation and happiness in 23 developed contemporary economies", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 301-321.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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