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Decentralization, Subjective Well-Being And The Perception Of Institutions

  • Luis Diaz-Serrano

    ()

  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

This paper analyses whether the different powers and resources at the disposal of local and regional governments across Europe deliver greater satisfaction with political institutions and lead to greater personal happiness. The analysis uses microdata from the four available waves of the European social survey (2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008), including more than 160,000 observations of individuals living in 29 European countries. Our results reveal that fiscal and some forms of political decentralization have a positive and significant effect on the overall subjective well-being of individuals. However, fiscal decentralization has a different effect on the perception of institutions depending on whether we consider subnational expenditure or revenues. Similarly, the effect of political decentralization on the level of satisfaction with institutions also varies depending on whether the capacity of local governments to influence national politics or to exert authority over their own citizens is considered. The results also show that citizens seem to be happier with the actual capacity of their local governments to deliver than with the general principle that they can have a say on their daily politics and policies. Keywords: Happiness, subjective well-being, satisfaction, fiscal and political decentralization, Europe. JEL codes: H11, H77

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa12p586.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa12p586
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  1. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  2. Luis Diaz-Serrano & Alexandrina P. Stoyanova, 2010. "Mobility and housing satisfaction: an empirical analysis for 12 EU countries," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(5), pages 661-683, September.
  3. Diaz-Serrano, Luis, 2009. "Disentangling the housing satisfaction puzzle: Does homeownership really matter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 745-755, October.
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  8. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Roberto Ezcurra, 2010. "Is fiscal decentralization harmful for economic growth? Evidence from the OECD countries," Working Papers 2010-09, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
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  11. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
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