Formal Institutions and Subjective Well-Being: Revisiting the Cross-Country Evidence

KOF Working Paper No. 192

41 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2008

See all articles by Christian Bjørnskov

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Center for Political Studies; Institute for Corruption Studies

Axel Dreher

Heidelberg University

Justina A. V. Fischer

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD); Stockholm School of Economics; University of Hohenheim

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

A long tradition in economics explores the association between the quality of formal institutions and economic performance. The literature on the relationship between such institutions and happiness is, however, rather limited. In this paper, we revisit the findings from recent cross-country studies on the institutions-happiness association. Our findings suggest that the conclusions reached by previous studies are fairly sensitive to the specific measure of 'happiness' used. In addition, the results indicate that the welfare effects of policies may differ across phases of a country's economic development. This bears important policy implications which we discuss in the concluding section of the paper.

Keywords: Happiness, institutions, policy implications

JEL Classification: I31, H10, H40

Suggested Citation

Bjørnskov, Christian and Dreher, Axel and Fischer, Justina A.V., Formal Institutions and Subjective Well-Being: Revisiting the Cross-Country Evidence (April 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1121283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1121283

Christian Bjørnskov (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, DK-8210
Denmark

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Center for Political Studies

Landgreven 3
Copenhagen K, DK-1301
Denmark

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Axel Dreher

Heidelberg University ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.axel-dreher.de

Justina A.V. Fischer

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

Stockholm School of Economics

PO Box 6501
Stockholm, 11383
Sweden

University of Hohenheim

Fruwirthstr. 48
Stuttgart, 70599
Germany

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