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What Aspects of Society Matter for the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index

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

There is great variation in views on and treatment of minorities such as gay men across the world. We are the first to pinpoint what features of societies are beneficial to gay men’s quality of life by using a unique new cross-country dataset covering 110 countries, the Gay Happiness Index. It covers how gays perceive public opinion about them, how they experience behavior towards them and how satisfied they are with their lives. Our study is based on the premise that it is important to look at minority-specific effects of policies and institutions and not solely at the effects for the average citizen, as well as the transmission mechanisms through which policies and institutions affect life satisfaction. We find that factors such as equal legal rights for gay people, GDP per capita, democracy and globalization relate positively to the quality of life of gay men, primarily by shaping public opinion and behavior in a pro-gay direction. Religion (the shares of Muslims and Orthodox Christians) and living in a post-communist country tend to relate negatively to our quality of life indicators. Most of these factors have been shown to matter for the well-being of people in general as well, which may be taken to suggest that gay people benefit from being included in society—legally, socially and economically—on the same terms as others.

Suggested Citation

  • Niclas Berggren & Christian Bjørnskov & Therese Nilsson, 2017. "What Aspects of Society Matter for the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 1163-1192, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1340-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-016-1340-3
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    2. Giulia M. Dotti Sani & Mario Quaranta, 2020. "Let Them Be, Not Adopt: General Attitudes Towards Gays and Lesbians and Specific Attitudes Towards Adoption by Same-Sex Couples in 22 European Countries," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 351-373, July.
    3. Gutmann, Jerg & Voigt, Stefan, 2018. "The rule of law: Measurement and deep roots," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 68-82.
    4. Kauder Björn & Potrafke Niklas, 2019. "Conservative Politicians and Voting on Same-sex Marriage," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 20(4), pages 600-617, December.
    5. Niclas Berggren & Jerg Gutmann, 2020. "Securing personal freedom through institutions: the role of electoral democracy and judicial independence," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 165-186, April.
    6. Badgett, M.V. Lee & Waaldijk, Kees & Rodgers, Yana van der Meulen, 2019. "The relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development: Macro-level evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-14.
    7. Moamen Gouda & Jerg Gutmann, 2021. "Islamic constitutions and religious minorities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 186(3), pages 243-265, March.
    8. Gouveia, Filipe & Nilsson, Therese & Berggren, Niclas, 2020. "Religiosity and discrimination against same-sex couples: The case of Portugal's rental market," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C).
    9. 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.

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