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Political participation and life satisfaction: a cross-European analysis

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Author Info

  • Gail Pacheco
  • Thomas Lange

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to model the link between political participation and life satisfaction whilst correcting for the endogenous nature of the relationship; explore the impact of different strengths of political participation and aim to uncover if the relationship displays different patterns by gender. Design/methodology/approach – The data originate from the 2006/2007 European Social Survey. The analysis spanned across a pooled data set for 20 European countries. Three alternative empirical frameworks were trialled: an ordered probit regression, a linear regression model and a two-step, simultaneous treatment effect model to address endogeneity concerns. Findings – Following the correction for endogeneity via two-step, simultaneous treatment regressions, political participation – and specifically strong political engagement – displays a robust, statistically significant, strong and positive impact on life satisfaction. It was deduced that actual political participation, and not merely the right to participate in the political process, is a source of procedural utility. Research limitations/implications – The cross-sectional nature of the data imposes design limitations to examining trends and changes over time. It follows that the analysis cannot rely on fixed-effect estimations to control for time-invariant factors. Originality/value – Once the results are corrected for endogeneity, the empirical results reveal that the effect of actual political participation on life satisfaction not only matters, but also as the strength of political engagement grows it matters even more. Findings hold true even when a multitude of socio-demographic characteristics are controlled for. These are important results for researchers and policy makers who are concerned about the happiness of people in democratic societies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2010)
Issue (Month): 9 (September)
Pages: 686-702

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:37:y:2010:i:9:p:686-702

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Related research

Keywords: Citizen participation; Democracy; Europe; Individual psychology; Politics; Society;

References

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  1. Clark, Andrew E & Georgellis, Yannis & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-41, May.
  2. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2003. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," CREMA Working Paper Series 2003-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "Beyond Outcomes: Measuring Procedural Utility," IEW - Working Papers 076, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Yannis Georgellis & Nicholas Tsitsianis & Ya Yin, 2009. "Personal Values as Mitigating Factors in the Link Between Income and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the European Social Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 91(3), pages 329-344, May.
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  6. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  7. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina A. V. Fischer, 2006. "Cross-Country Determinants of Life Satisfaction:Exploring Different Determinants across Groups inSociety," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 21, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  9. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2005. "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IZA Discussion Papers 1811, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  11. Thomas Lange, 2012. "Job satisfaction and self-employment: autonomy or personality?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 165-177, February.
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  13. Ulrich Schimmack & Richard Lucas, 2007. "Marriage Matters: Spousal Similarity in Life Satisfaction," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 105-111.
  14. Bjornskov, Christian, 2006. "The multiple facets of social capital," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 22-40, March.
  15. Scott Fargher & Stefan Kesting & Thomas Lange & Gail Pacheco, 2008. "Cultural heritage and job satisfaction in Eastern and Western Europe," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(7), pages 630-650, November.
  16. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness Prospers in Democracy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 79-102, March.
  17. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Shang Ha & Seokho Kim, 2013. "Personality and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from South Korea," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 341-359, March.
  2. Dluhosch, Barbara & Horgos, Daniel & Zimmermann, Klaus W., 2012. "EU Enlargement and Satisfaction with Democracy: A Peculiar Case of Immizerising Growth," Working Paper 119/2012, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  3. Patricio Valdivieso & Benjamín Villena-Roldán, 2012. "Participation in Organizations, Trust, and Social Capital Formation: Evidence from Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 293, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  4. repec:cge:warwcg:168 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Liberini, Federica & Redoano, Michela & Proto, Eugenio, 2013. "Happy Voters," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 169, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  6. Gail Pacheco & Barrett Owen, 2013. "Moving through the political participation hierarchy: A focus on personal values," Working Papers 2013-02, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.

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