Quality & Quantity

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 449–469 | Cite as

Does life satisfaction matter for pro-environmental behavior? Empirical evidence from China General Social Survey

  • Erda Wang
  • Nannan KangEmail author


A large body of literature has documented the effect of people’s environmental behavior on their life satisfaction. However, no attention has been paid to a plausibly reversal relation between the two, i.e., the effect of people’s life satisfaction on their environmental behaviors. As a result, the commonly recognized empirical findings might implicate some risks of biases and inaccuracy due to the present of the endogeneity complexity. To fill in this gap, this paper attempts to investigate whether there exists a causal effect of people’s life satisfaction on their pro-environmental behavior by utilizing an instrument variable model. In the process, a two stages least squares model was utilized for parameter estimation using a large dataset collected by China General Social Survey, and in meanwhile an unexpected length of sunshine hours was introduced as being an instrument variable. The results show that people’s life satisfaction indeed spurs their interest of participating in pro-environmental behavior. Consequently, an individual’s environmental concern poses a prime influential mechanism for one’s life satisfaction, and in turn the level of people’s satisfaction could exert a considerable influence to their environment behavior. Thus, improving the life well-being for the general public may turn into a spontaneous instrument in resolving the potential conflicts between economic growth and environment protection.


Life satisfaction Pro-environmental behavior Environmental concern IV probit model 



Two stages least squares


Unexpected length of sunshine


Actual length of sunshine


Expected length of sunshine


Life satisfaction


Instrumental variable

JEL Classification

D03 D69 Q56 I32 



This research was funded by the National Nature Science Foundation of China [N0. 71640035].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Management and EconomicsDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina
  2. 2.School of Business ManagementDalian University of TechnologyDalianPeople’s Republic of China

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