IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Losing Hurts: The Happiness Impact of Partisan Electoral Loss


  • Pierce, Lamar
  • Rogers, Todd
  • Snyder, Jason A.


Partisan identity shapes social, mental, economic, and physical life. Using a novel dataset, we study the consequences of partisan identity by examining the immediate impact of electoral loss and victory on happiness and sadness. Employing a quasi-experimental regression discontinuity model we present two primary findings. First, elections strongly affect the immediate happiness/sadness of partisan losers, but minimally impact partisan winners. This effect is consistent with psychological research on the good-bad hedonic asymmetry, but appears to dissipate within a week after the election. Second, the immediate happiness consequences to partisan losers are relatively strong. To illustrate, we show that partisans are affected two times more by their party losing the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election than both respondents with children were to the Newtown shootings and respondents living in Boston were to the Boston Marathon bombings. We discuss implications regarding the centrality of partisan identity to the self and its well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierce, Lamar & Rogers, Todd & Snyder, Jason A., 2016. "Losing Hurts: The Happiness Impact of Partisan Electoral Loss," Journal of Experimental Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 44-59, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jexpos:v:3:y:2016:i:01:p:44-59_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kavetsos, Georgios & Kawachi, Ichiro & Kyriopoulos, Ilias & Vandoros, Sotiris, 2018. "The effect of the Brexit referendum result on subjective well-being," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 91709, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Robert MacCulloch, 2017. "How political systems and social welfare policies affect well-being: A literature review," Working Papers 17_14, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    3. repec:eee:poleco:v:58:y:2019:i:c:p:192-202 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:jes:journl:y:2018:v:9:p:133-150 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jexpos:v:3:y:2016:i:01:p:44-59_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.