Does Sunshine make you Happy? Subjective Measures of Well-Being and the Weather: Evidence from the UK Panel Data

Franz Buscha, University of Westminster

Franz Buscha

weather, sunshine, happiness, satisfaction, well-being

This paper examines to what extent individual measures of well-being are correlated with daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom. Merging daily weather data with data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) allows us to test whether measures of well-being are correlated with temperature, sunshine, rainfall and wind speed. We are able to make a strong case for causality due to ‘randomness’ of weather in addition to using regression methods that eliminate time-invariant individual level heterogeneity. Results suggest that some weather parameters (such as sunshine) are correlated with some measures of well-being (job satisfaction); however, in general the effect of weather is very small. Life events such as long-term disabilities, unemployment or job changes influence well-being measures by 10 to 100 magnitudes more than any weather variable. However, we do find evidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder with individuals consistently reporting lower well-being scores in winter months.