Using detailed geographical and household survey data from Nepal, this article investigates the relationship between isolation and subjective welfare. This is achieved by examining how distance to markets and proximity to large urban centers affect responses to questions about income and consumption adequacy. Controlling for migration, results show that isolation significantly reduce subjective assessments of income and consumption adequacy. Part of this effect can be attributed to lower access to public goods and to a reduction in the variety of consumption items. Compensating variation estimates suggest that the subjective cost of isolation is large. We also find strong evidence that Nepalese households cannot relocate costlessly out of their village of origin.
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