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Decentralization, Happiness, and the Perception of Institutions

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  • Diaz-Serrano, Luis
  • Rodriguez-Pose, Andres

Abstract

This paper analyses whether the different powers and resources at the disposal of local and regional governments across Europe deliver greater satisfaction with political institutions and lead to greater personal happiness. The analysis uses microdata from the four available waves of the European social survey (2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008), including more than 160,000 observations of individuals living in 29 European countries. Our results reveal that political and fiscal decentralization have a positive and significant effect on individuals’ overall happiness. Fiscal decentralization also exerts a significant effect on the level of satisfaction with political and economic institutions and with the education and health systems, whereas the effect of political decentralization on these variables is more limited. The results show that citizens seem to be happier with the actual capacity of their local governments to deliver than with the general principle that they can have a say on their daily politics and policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Diaz-Serrano, Luis & Rodriguez-Pose, Andres, 2011. "Decentralization, Happiness, and the Perception of Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8356
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Kristina Maslauskaite, 2011. "Can policy make us happier? Individual characteristics, socio-economic factors and life satisfaction in Central and Eastern Europe," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 5(1), pages 77-96.
    2. 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.
    3. Andrea Filippetti & Giovanni Cerulli, 2014. "Decentralization and the quality of local governments: Evidence in European regions with a dose-response approach," ERSA conference papers ersa14p367, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Nadir Preziosi, 2013. "Life is Getting Worse in ESS Data: Is This Due to Micro or Macro Factors?," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 28, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; fiscal and political decentralization; happines; satisfaction; well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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