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Formal Institutions and Subjective Well-Being: Revisiting the Cross-Country Evidence

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  • Christian Bjørnskov
  • Axel Dreher
  • Justina A.V. Fischer

Abstract

A long tradition in economics explores the association between the quality of formal institutions and economic performance. The literature on the relationship between such institutions and happiness is, however, rather limited. In this paper, we revisit the findings from recent cross-country studies on the institutions-happiness association. Our findings suggest that the conclusions reached by previous studies are fairly sensitive to the specific measure of 'happiness' used. In addition, the results indicate that the welfare effects of policies may differ across phases of a country's economic development. This bears important policy implications which we discuss in the concluding section of the paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina A.V. Fischer, 2008. "Formal Institutions and Subjective Well-Being: Revisiting the Cross-Country Evidence," KOF Working papers 08-192, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:08-192
    DOI: 10.3929/ethz-a-005626337
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Institutions; Policy implications;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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