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Do Large Governments Decrease Happiness?

Author

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  • Sequeira, Tiago
  • Minas, Tiago
  • Ferreira-Lopes, Alexandra

Abstract

Until now there was little evidence of the influence of large governments on happiness and when it existed, it was positive. We show that structural government consumption and other measures of long-term government imbalances significantly decrease happiness and life satisfaction in European countries. In some cases there is evidence of an inverted U-shaped relationship between the Government burden and happiness, for which the negative relationship begin just before the median. This evidence may lead European politicians to reject the idea that bigger Governments lead to higher people satisfaction and to win elections. This result is consistent with people valuing (negatively) expectations for future tax increases, macroeconomic imbalances, and austerity.

Suggested Citation

  • Sequeira, Tiago & Minas, Tiago & Ferreira-Lopes, Alexandra, 2014. "Do Large Governments Decrease Happiness?," MPRA Paper 54418, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:54418
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/54418/1/MPRA_paper_54418.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Simon Luechinger & Mark Schelker & Alois Stutzer, 2014. "Governance, bureaucratic rents, and well-being differentials across US states," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 443-464.
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    5. M. Ali Choudhary & Paul Levine & Peter McAdam & Peter Welz, 2012. "The happiness puzzle: analytical aspects of the Easterlin paradox," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(1), pages 27-42, January.
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    7. William Hauk & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "A Monte Carlo study of growth regressions," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 103-147, June.
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    9. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2008. "Gross national happiness as an answer to the Easterlin Paradox?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 22-42, April.
    10. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini, 2010. "If not only GDP, what else? Using relational goods to predict the trends of subjective well-being," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 57(2), pages 199-213, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Life Satisfaction; Government Size; Fiscal Deficits; Public Debt; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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