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Is It Culture or Democracy? The Impact of Democracy, Income, and Culture on Happiness

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  • DAVID DORN

    ()

  • Justina Fischer

    ()

  • GEBHARD KIRCHGÄSSNER

    ()

  • ALFONSO SOUSA-POZA

    ()

Abstract

We look at the relation between democracy and perceived subjective well-being, taking also into account the impact of income and culture. After briefly reviewing the empirical results for Switzerland, we re-estimate this relationship allowing for the relative income position of individuals and also using a new more recent data from the Swiss Household Panel. No robust relationship between the extent of (direct) democracy and happiness can be observed. In a second step, we conduct a cross-national analysis, covering 28 countries with data from the 1998 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). There we observe a robust positive and significant relationship between democracy and happiness.

Suggested Citation

  • DAVID DORN & Justina Fischer & GEBHARD KIRCHGÄSSNER & ALFONSO SOUSA-POZA, 2005. "Is It Culture or Democracy? The Impact of Democracy, Income, and Culture on Happiness," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 2005-12, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2005:2005-12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Torgler, Benno & Schmidt, Sascha L & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "The Power of Positional Concerns: A Panel Analysis," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1z14v7zt, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    2. Lars P. Feld & Justina A.V. Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "The Effect Of Direct Democracy On Income Redistribution: Evidence For Switzerland," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 817-840, October.
    3. Elizabeth Monk-Turner & Charlie Turner, 2010. "Subjective Well-being Among Those Who Exchange Sex and Money, Yunnan, China and Thailand," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 99(1), pages 13-23, October.
    4. Ann L. Owen & Julio Videras & Christina Willemsen, 2008. "Democracy, Participation, and Life Satisfaction," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(4), pages 987-1005.
    5. Benno Torgler & Sascha L. Schmidt & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Relative Income Position and Performance: An Empirical Panel Analysis," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    6. Justina A.V. Fischer & Benno Torgler, 2006. "The Effect of Relative Income Position on Social Capital," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 26(4), pages 1-20.
    7. Benno Torgler & Justina A.V. Fischer, 2006. "Does Envy Destroy Social Fundamentals? The Impact of Relative Income Position on Social Capital," Working Papers 2006.38, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    8. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2007. "Is It Culture or Democracy? The Impact of Democracy and Culture on Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 82(3), pages 505-526, July.
    9. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2007. "Direkte Demokratie, Steuermoral und Steuerhinterziehung: Erfahrungen aus der Schweiz," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8(1), pages 38-64, January.
    10. Krause, Annabelle, 2011. "Work to Live or Live to Work? Unemployment, Happiness, and Culture," IZA Discussion Papers 6101, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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