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Election Outcomes and Individual Well-being: Evidence from British Panel Data


  • Daniel Gray

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield, UK)

  • Harry Pickard

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield, UK)

  • Luke Munford

    () (School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, UK)


Given the recent seismic changes in the political landscape across Europe and in the US, it is important to understand how voting behaviour and election results in influence an individual's subjective well-being. Exploiting novel longitudinal data on individuals in the UK matched to their parliamentary constituency, we find that supporting the incumbent political party exerts a positive influence on individual well-being. This relationship is different across overall life satisfaction and psychological well-being, gender and personal characteristics. Potential endogeneity concerns are addressed in two ways; we employ an instrumental variable approach and a regression discontinuity in time design to estimate the impact of a quasi-natural experiment. The results relating to the instrumental variable approach support the positive relationship between national and constituency incumbency support and well-being. In the regression discontinuity in time design, we identify a causal relationship by exploiting the timing of survey questions around the 2010 election date. We find that Liberal Democrat supporters have approximately one-unit higher level of overall life satisfaction after their party's surprise electoral success.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Gray & Harry Pickard & Luke Munford, 2018. "Election Outcomes and Individual Well-being: Evidence from British Panel Data," Working Papers 2018018, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2018018

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    File Function: First version, December 2018
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    More about this item


    Election Results; Subjective Well-being; United Kingdom; Voting Behaviour;

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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