Economic Openness and Subjective Well-being in China



Using a large household survey administered across 30 cities in September 2003, we examine the relationship between the degree of economic openness, measured as the sum of imports and exports as a share of GDP, and subjective well-being in urban China. We find that respondents who live in cities with high levels of economic openness report significantly lower levels of subjective well-being ceteris paribus. We offer four explanations for this result; namely, inadequate social protection in the face of globalization, unfulfilled expectations, political dissatisfaction and anomie.