What Aspects of Society Affect the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index

Social Indicators Research, Forthcoming

IFN Working Paper No. 1101

48 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2015 Last revised: 14 Apr 2016

See all articles by Niclas Berggren

Niclas Berggren

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); University of Economics, Prague - Faculty of Economics and Public Administration

Christian Bjørnskov

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

Therese Nilsson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Lund University - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 22, 2015

Abstract

There is great variation in views on and treatment of minorities such as gay men across the world. We are the first to pinpoint what features of societies that are beneficial to gay men’s quality of life by making use of a unique new cross-country dataset covering 110 countries, the Gay Happiness Index. It covers how gays perceive public opinion about them, how they experience behavior towards them and how satisfied they are with their lives. Our study is based on the premise that it is important to look at minority-specific effects of policies and institutions and not solely at the effects for the average citizen, as well as the transmission mechanisms through which policies and institutions affect life satisfaction. We find that legal rights for gay men, GDP per capita, democracy and economic globalization tend to benefit gays, primarily by shaping public opinion and behavior in a pro-gay direction, while religion and living in a post-communist country exert a negative effect. These factors have largely been shown to matter for the well-being of people in general as well, which interestingly implies that “special rights” are not necessarily needed for gays but the same policies that provide a good life for most people.

Keywords: Gays, homosexuality, minorities, happiness, wellbeing, life satisfaction, institutions, democracy, globalization

JEL Classification: I31, Z13, Z18

Suggested Citation

Berggren, Niclas and Bjørnskov, Christian and Nilsson, Therese, What Aspects of Society Affect the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index (December 22, 2015). Social Indicators Research, Forthcoming; IFN Working Paper No. 1101. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2707210

Niclas Berggren (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

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

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifn.se/nb

University of Economics, Prague - Faculty of Economics and Public Administration ( email )

nám. W. Churchilla 4
Praha, 130 67
Czech Republic

Christian Bjørnskov

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

Therese Nilsson

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

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

Lund University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7082
S-220 07 Lund
Sweden
+46 46 222 46 43 (Phone)

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