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Happiness, Economy and Institutions

  • Economics
  • Political Science


A cross-regional econometric analysis suggests that institutional factors in the form of direct democracy (via initiatives and referenda) and of federal structure (local autonomy) systematically and sizeably raise s elf-reported individual well-being. This positive effect can be attributed to political outcomes closer to voters' preferences, as well as to the procedural utility of political participation. Moreover, the results of "standard" microeconometric well-bein g functions previously published for other countries are generally supported. Unemployment has a strongly depressing effect on happiness. A higher income level raises happiness, however, only to a small extent.

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