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Does Government Make People Happy?: Exploring New Research Directions for Government’s Roles in Happiness


  • Seoyong Kim


  • Donggeun Kim



Our study aims to explore new directions for researches on government’s role in enhancing quality of life (QOL). Although government can influence, to the greatest extent, people’s happiness, very few studies have systemically examined the quantitative or qualitative attributes of government in happiness enhancement, compared with the large volume of studies on economic, political, and cultural factors’ impact on QOL. Related to government’s role in happiness, we suggest ‘nine new research directions,’ all of which can generally be related with its’ quantitative and qualitative attributes. Even though much existing researches have focused on a part of quantitative sides of government, there are still many remaining attributes to be highlighted. Moreover, we expect that new, composite and nonlinear quality attributes of government will provide bountiful research topics in the future. Also, cross-boundary comparisons and mixtures between quality and quantity, as well as the conditional macro-context for government’s role, suggest new ideas for QOL studies. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Seoyong Kim & Donggeun Kim, 2012. "Does Government Make People Happy?: Exploring New Research Directions for Government’s Roles in Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(5), pages 875-899, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:13:y:2012:i:5:p:875-899 DOI: 10.1007/s10902-011-9296-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jan Ott, 2005. "Level and Inequality of Happiness in Nations: Does Greater Happiness of a Greater Number Imply Greater Inequality in Happiness?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 397-420, December.
    2. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2007. "The bigger the better? Evidence of the effect of government size on life satisfaction around the world," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 267-292, March.
    3. Scully, Gerald W, 2001. "Government Expenditure and Quality of Life," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 108(1-2), pages 123-145, July.
    4. Kaisa Kotakorpi & Jani-Petri Laamanen, 2010. "Welfare State and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Public Health Care," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(307), pages 565-583, July.
    5. yamamura, eiji, 2008. "The influence of government size on economic growth and life satisfaction. A case study from Japan," MPRA Paper 10835, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:04:p:939-952_40 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zohal Hessami, 2010. "The Size and Composition of Government Spending in Europe and Its Impact on Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 346-382, August.
    8. Rati Ram, 2009. "Government spending and happiness of the population: additional evidence from large cross-country samples," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 483-490, March.
    9. Elia Kacapyr, 2008. "Cross-country determinants of satisfaction with life," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 400-416, May.
    10. 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.
    11. Jan Ott, 2010. "Good Governance and Happiness in Nations: Technical Quality Precedes Democracy and Quality Beats Size," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 353-368, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. João Leitão & Helena Alves & Dina Pereira, 2016. "Open innovative governance, transparency and citizens´ quality of life: An application to Portuguese municipalities," Working Papers. Collection B: Regional and sectoral economics 1606, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    2. Yee Ngoo & Nai Tey & Eu Tan, 2015. "Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Asia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 141-156, October.
    3. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto & Gindo Tampubolon, 2015. "Decentralisation and Citizen Happiness: A Multilevel Analysis of Self-rated Happiness in Indonesia," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 455-475, April.


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