IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Institutional Change and Macroeconomic Performance in OECD Countries: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data


  • Heinz Welsch

    () (University of Oldenburg; ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies)

  • Jan Kühling

    (University of Oldenburg; ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies)


This paper explores the relationship between institutional change and macroeconomic performance in 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). We use data on the subjective well-being (SWB) of more than 91,000 individuals in these countries to assess the well-being effects of national income growth, unemployment and inflation, and we employ the relationships found to construct an index of macroeconomic performance in terms of SWB. Applying the index to the period 1990-2009, we find that macroeconomic performance has improved in OECD overall and in the majority of countries, and that there has been a convergence of performance within the OECD. We then present evidence that OECD countries’ performance, as measured, is positively related to institutional change towards more trade openness and better institutional quality. We argue that both increased openness and improved institutional quality are correlates of economic and political integration and conclude that international integration has enhanced SWB by improving OECD countries’ national macroeconomic performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2015. "Institutional Change and Macroeconomic Performance in OECD Countries: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 58 / 2015, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Dec 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:zen:wpaper:58

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2015
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    institutional change; macroeconomic performance; international integration; subjective well-being; OECD;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zen:wpaper:58. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Finn Marten Koerner). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.