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Freedom and Happiness in Nations: A Research Synthesis

Author

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  • Amanina Abdur Rahman

    (Monash University Malaysia)

  • Ruut Veenhoven

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam
    Opentia Research Program, North-West University)

Abstract

Freedom is highly valued, but there are limits to the amount of freedom a society can allow its members. This begs the question of how much freedom is too much. The answers to that question differ across political cultures and are typically based on ideological argumentation. In this paper, we consider the compatibility of freedom and happiness in nations by taking stock of the research findings on that matter, gathered in the World Database of Happiness. We find that freedom and happiness are positively correlated in contemporary nations. The pattern of correlation differs somewhat across cultures and aspects of freedom. We found no pattern of declining happiness returns, which suggests that freedom has not passed its maximum in the freest countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Amanina Abdur Rahman & Ruut Veenhoven, 2018. "Freedom and Happiness in Nations: A Research Synthesis," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 13(2), pages 435-456, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ariqol:v:13:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11482-017-9543-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s11482-017-9543-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Ary José A. Souza-Jr., 2021. "Climate change and behavior: Do environmental attitudes and perceptions impact on subjective well-being in Europe?," Working Papers REM 2021/0207, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, REM, Universidade de Lisboa.
    3. Hock‐Eam Lim & Daigee Shaw & Le‐Yu Chen & Pei‐Shan Liao, 2023. "Distributional Effects of Freedom and Income on Life Satisfaction: Evidence from East Asian Chinese Societies," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 113-143, March.
    4. Ma, Yong & Chen, Diandian, 2020. "Openness, rural-urban inequality, and happiness in China," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 44(4).
    5. Kwang-Hi Park & Hyunlye Kim & Suin Park, 2021. "Leisure Factors Predicting the Happiness of Self-Employed Workers in South Korea," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(18), pages 1-11, September.
    6. Gabriele Prati, 2022. "The Association between Subjective Well-being and Regime Type across 78 countries: the moderating role of Political Trust," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 17(6), pages 3393-3413, December.
    7. Barbara Dluhosch, 2021. "The Gender Gap in Globalization and Well-Being," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 16(1), pages 351-378, February.
    8. Yomna M. Sameer & Suzanna Elmassah & Charilaos Mertzanis & Lujain El-Maghraby, 2021. "Are Happier Nations More Responsible? Examining the Link Between Happiness and Sustainability," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 267-295, November.
    9. Arzu Atan & Hale Ozgit & Fatos Silman, 2021. "Happiness at Work and Motivation for a Sustainable Workforce: Evidence from Female Hotel Employees," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(14), pages 1-17, July.
    10. Ruut Veenhoven & Felicia Chiperi & Xin Kang & Martijn Burger, 2021. "Happiness and Consumption: A Research Synthesis Using an Online Finding Archive* â€," SAGE Open, , vol. 11(1), pages 21582440209, March.

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