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Happy Voters

Author

Listed:
  • Liberini, Federica

    () (ETH Zurich)

  • Redoano, Michela

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    () (University of Warwick)

Abstract

Motivated by recent interest and initiatives taken by several governments and international organizations to come up with indicators of well-being to inform policy makers, we test if subjective well-being measures (SWB) can be employed to study voting behaviour. Controlling for financial and economic circumstances, we find that when citizens are more satisfied with their life, they are also more likely to cast their vote in favor of the ruling party. We address the possible concern of reverse causality in the relationship between SWB and political support by (i) analysing the political behaviour of a sample of ideologically neutral voters, and (ii) by identifying the effect of SWB on voting intentions in individuals' response to an exogenous shock of (un)happiness (i.e. the death of husband or wife). We conclude that SWB explains voting decisions, even when the event affecting well-being is beyond government's control.

Suggested Citation

  • Liberini, Federica & Redoano, Michela & Proto, Eugenio, 2014. "Happy Voters," IZA Discussion Papers 8498, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lockwood, Ben, 2017. "Confirmation Bias and Electoral Accountability," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 11(4), pages 471-501, February.
    2. Liberini, Federica & Oswald, Andrew J & Proto, Eugenio & Redoano, Michela, 2017. "Was Brexit Caused by the Unhappy and the Old?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 342, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Chadi, Adrian, 2015. "Concerns about the Euro and happiness in Germany during times of crisis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 126-146.
    4. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Plagnol, Anke C. & Frijters, Paul & Clark, Andrew E., 2017. "Who Got the Brexit Blues? Using a Quasi-Experiment to Show the Effect of Brexit on Subjective Wellbeing in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 11206, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Nikolova, Milena, 2016. "Minding the happiness gap: Political institutions and perceived quality of life in transition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 129-148.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; happiness; retrospective voting;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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