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Is happiness a predictor of election results?

Ward, George (2015) Is happiness a predictor of election results? CEP Discussion Papers (CEPDP1343). Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Is it in politicians’ interest to focus policy on subjective well-being (SWB)? Many governments and international organisations have recently begun to measure progress at least partly in terms of the population’s SWB or “happiness”. This paper investigates the extent to which citizens themselves judge national success in such terms. Using cross-country panel data, the analysis shows that the electoral fate of governing parties is associated not only with the state of the macroeconomy—as a substantial literature on ‘economic voting’ suggests—but also with the electorate’s wider well-being. A country’s aggregate level of SWB is able to account for more of the variance in government vote share than standard macroeconomic variables. This is consistent with a simple political agency model, and has implications for the incentives faced by politicians to act in the interests of voters.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?...
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I31 - General Welfare; Basic Needs; Living Standards; Quality of Life; Happiness
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 15:03
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 23:22
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/61698

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