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Do Equal Rights for a Minority Affect General Life Satisfaction?

Author

Listed:
  • Niclas Berggren

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
    University of Economics in Prague)

  • Christian Bjørnskov

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
    Aarhus University)

  • Therese Nilsson

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)
    Lund University)

Abstract

While previous research examines how institutions matter for general life satisfaction and how specific institutions embodying equal rights for gay people matter for the life satisfaction of gays, we combine these two issues to analyze how the latter type of institutions relates to general life satisfaction. The question is how people in general are affected by laws treating everyone equally irrespective of sexual orientation. We find that legal recognition of partnership, marriage and adoption rights, as well as an equal age of consent, relate positively to general life satisfaction. Consequently, same-sex marriage and similar reforms come at no “welfare” cost to society at large—if anything, the opposite appears to hold. We further build on previous research showing positive effects of economic freedom on happiness and on tolerance towards gay people and interact our rights measure with economic freedom. This reveals that the positive effect on general happiness of equal rights mainly appears in countries with low economic freedom. This likely follows because minority rights are perceived to indicate openness to much-desired reforms in other areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Niclas Berggren & Christian Bjørnskov & Therese Nilsson, 2018. "Do Equal Rights for a Minority Affect General Life Satisfaction?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(5), pages 1465-1483, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s10902-017-9886-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-017-9886-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Do Equal Rights for a Minority Affect General Life Satisfaction?
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2018-12-18 14:42:30

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life satisfaction; Same-sex marriage; Rights; Institutions; Culture; Immigration; Tolerance; Gays and lesbians; Minorities; Integration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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