Sport opportunities and local well-being: is sport a local amenity?

Tim Pawlowski, Christoph Breuer, Jorge Leyva

Publication: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContributions to collected editions/anthologiesResearchpeer-review


For centuries, happiness has been a central theme of famous philosophers like Aristotle or Kant. However, recent important contributions have been developed by psychologists, political scientists and economists. In the context of economics, happiness can be seen as a subjective approach to utility, and therefore it offers a wide range of possibilities to understand human behaviour. It is considered to be the ultimate goal in life and consequently appears to be a far better measure of individual welfare than income. A number of studies have explored the relationship between sport and self-reported, subjective well-being (SWB). With few exceptions, most of the research focused on the direct health benefits associated with physical activity and leisure. Empirical proof was found that physical activity in general, increases SWB. Since previous research could detect that the frequency and intensity with which a sport is practised depends on the allocation of sport facilities, a certain allocation of sport facilities itself might contribute to SWB. In order to make strategic political decisions, it is of great importance to know if the allocation of public sport facilities (decentralized versus centralized allocation), that is, the time people need to reach a public sports facility, has a direct impact on SWB. Therefore, this chapter primarily analyses the relationship between SWB and the availability of public sport facilities, while controlling for other factors. The chapter is organized as follows: section 2 discusses the state of research and the theoretical background of happiness research; section 3 discusses the used data and the applied methods; section 4 presents the results of our analysis of the relationship of individual well-being and the availability of public sports facilities; and section 5 discusses the implications of the results and possible policy responses. Einleitung (gekürzt)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe economics of sport, health and happiness : the promotion of well-being through sporting activities
EditorsP. Rodriguez, S. Késenne, B. Humphreys
Number of pages21
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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