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Decentralization, Happiness, and the Perception of Institutions

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  • Diaz-Serrano, Luis
  • Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés

Abstract

This paper analyses whether the different powers and resources at the disposal of local and regional governments across Europe deliver greater satisfaction with political institutions and lead to greater personal happiness. The analysis uses microdata from the four available waves of the European social survey (2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008), including more than 160,000 observations of individuals living in 29 European countries. Our results reveal that political and fiscal decentralization have a positive and significant effect on individuals’ overall happiness. Fiscal decentralization also exerts a significant effect on the level of satisfaction with political and economic institutions and with the education and health systems, whereas the effect of political decentralization on these variables is more limited. The results show that citizens seem to be happier with the actual capacity of their local governments to deliver than with the general principle that they can have a say on their daily politics and policies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8356.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8356

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Keywords: Europe; fiscal and political decentralization; happines; satisfaction; well-being;

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  1. Luis Diaz-Serrano & Alexandrina P. Stoyanova, 2010. "Mobility and housing satisfaction: an empirical analysis for 12 EU countries," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(5), pages 661-683, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Kristina Maslauskaite, 2011. "Can policy make us happier? Individual characteristics, socio-economic factors and life satisfaction in Central and Eastern Europe," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 5(1), pages 77-96.
  2. Nadir Preziosi, 2013. "Life is Getting Worse in ESS Data: Is This Due to Micro or Macro Factors?," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 28, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.

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