Sub-National Fiscal Activity as a Determinant of Individual Happiness: Ideology Matters
30 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2008
Date Written: February 20, 2008
Though there has been a recent outpouring of studies on the determinants of individual happiness, there remains a paucity of research on the influence of specific sub-national government policies. Additionally, theoretical expectations about how fiscal variables influence happiness are unclear, making further empirical research imperative. Combining survey data and aggregate information about state and local government revenue and expenditures within the United States, we draw inferences about whether or not such activities affect individual happiness. We find no indication that the overall level of state or local fiscal activity affects life satisfaction. However, we offer evidence that personal happiness depends in part on the mix of state and local fiscal activity. Perhaps more importantly, we find that political ideology mediates the influence of a variety of fiscal variables on happiness.
Keywords: happiness, GSS, fiscal, ideology, sub-national government policies
JEL Classification: D12, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation