Subjective Well-being and Peaceful Uprisings

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2018-074/VII

47 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2018

See all articles by Caroline Witte

Caroline Witte

Copenhagen Business School

Martijn Burger

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO)

Elena Ianchovichina

World Bank

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 27, 2018


This study analyzes whether subjective well-being measures can explain variation in peaceful uprisings, in addition to the objective measures typically used in analyses of uprisings. Using a database combining data on uprisings and subjective well-being for 118 countries over the period 2007 to 2014, we find evidence of a positive effect of life dissatisfaction on the incidence of peaceful uprising, but not its violent counterpart. This effect does not depend on the type of political regime, nor the stage of development and reflects, to a large extent, changes to perceived satisfaction with living standards and the ability to have a purposeful and meaningful life.

Keywords: Civil Resistance, Civil Uprisings, Subjective Well-being, Happiness, Political Economy, Grievances, Political conflict

JEL Classification: D74, I31

Suggested Citation

Witte, Caroline and Burger, Martijn and Ianchovichina, Elena, Subjective Well-being and Peaceful Uprisings (September 27, 2018). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2018-074/VII, Available at SSRN: or

Caroline Witte (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000

Martijn Burger

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Rotterdam, 3000

Elena Ianchovichina

World Bank ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-458-8910 (Phone)
202-522-1159 (Fax)

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