The Link between Voting and Life Satisfaction in Latin America

44 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2010

See all articles by Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro

Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro

Brown University - Department of Political Science

Matthew S. Winters

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science; Institute for Corruption Studies

Date Written: October 1, 2010

Abstract

What is the relationship between voting and individual life satisfaction in Latin America? While studies of Western Europe suggest that voters are happier than non-voters, this relationship has not been explored in the younger democracies of the developing world, including those of Latin America. Using multilevel regression models to examine individual-level survey data, we show a positive correlation between voting and happiness in the region, noting, however, that the relationship is attenuated in those countries that have enforced compulsory voting. We then explore the causal direction of this relationship: while the existing literature points to voting as a possible determinant of individual happiness, it is also possible that happier individuals are more likely to vote. We use three different strategies in an attempt to disentangle this relationship. On balance, the evidence suggests that individual happiness is more likely to be a cause rather than an effect of voting in Latin America.

Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Political Participation, Latin America

Suggested Citation

Weitz-Shapiro, Rebecca and Winters, Matthew S., The Link between Voting and Life Satisfaction in Latin America (October 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1702969 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1702969

Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 1844
Providence, RI 02912
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://vivo.brown.edu/display/rweitzsh

Matthew S. Winters

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science ( email )

702 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/mswinters1/home

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

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