Partisan Social Happiness
We use a new approach to study questions in political economy that relies on data on the subjective well-being of a large sample of people living in the OECD over the period 1975-1992. Controlling for the personal characteristics of the respondents, year and country fixed effects and country-specific time trends, we find that the data describe social happiness functions for left-wing and right-wing individuals where inflation and unemployment enter negatively. We use these functions to test the root assumption of partisan business cycle models. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that left-wing individuals care more about unemployment relative to inflation than right-wingers. Interestingly, we find that individuals declare themselves to be happier when the party they support is in power, even after controlling for macroeconomic variables. The effect of politics is large. Finally, we find that these partisan differences cannot be traced back to income differences. That is, it is misleading to assume—as it is done in the previous literature—that the poor (rich) behave similarly to the left (right). For example, inflation and unemployment do not have differential effects across rich and poor and the happiness levels of these two groups are unaffected by the identity of the party in power. Our findings are hard to explain using median voter models but are to be expected in a partisan world. Copyright 2005, Wiley-Blackwell.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 72 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert J. Shiller, 1996.
"Why Do People Dislike Inflation?,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
1115, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
- Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008.
"The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
- Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2007. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is Homo Economicus Happier?," MPRA Paper 2728, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986.
"Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles,"
NBER Working Papers
1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Blinder, Alan S & Esaki, Howard Y, 1978. "Macroeconomic Activity and Income Distribution in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(4), pages 604-09, November.
- Alberto Alesina & Nouriel Roubini, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 663-688.
- Michael Fordyce, 1988. "A review of research on the happiness measures: A sixty second index of happiness and mental health," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 355-381, August.
- 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.
- Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 1999.
"The macroeconomics of happiness,"
ZEI Working Papers
B 03-1999, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
- Di Tella, R. & MacCulloch, R.J.: Oswald, A.J., 1997. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," Papers 19, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
- Morawetz, David, 1977. "Income Distribution and Self-Rated Happiness: Some Empirical Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(347), pages 511-22, September.
- Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
- Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991.
"What Makes an Entrepreneur?,"
Economics Series Working Papers
99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Roubini, Nouriel & Alesina, Alberto, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Scholarly Articles 4553025, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Tinbergen, Jan, 1991. "On the measurement of welfare," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 7-13, October.
- Yew-Kwang Ng, 1996. "Happiness surveys: Some comparability issues and an exploratory survey based on just perceivable increments," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 1-27, May.
- Thurow, Lester C, 1970. "Analyzing the American Income Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 261-269, May.
- Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
- Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Macroeconomics and Politics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:72:y:2005:i:2:p:367-393. 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: (Oxford University Press)or (Christopher F. Baum)
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.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.