Is it Culture or Democracy? The Impact of Democracy, Income, and Culture on Happiness

University of St. Gallen Economics Working Paper No. 2005-12

40 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2005

See all articles by David Dorn

David Dorn

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Justina A. V. Fischer

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

Gebhard Kirchgässner

Universität St. Gallen; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Alfonso Sousa-Poza

University of Hohenheim - Institute of Household and Consumer Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: June 2005

Abstract

We look at the relation between democracy and perceived subjective well-being, taking also into account the impact of income and culture. After briefly reviewing the empirical results for Switzerland, we re-estimate this relationship allowing for the relative income position of individuals and also using a new more recent data from the Swiss Household Panel. No robust relationship between the extent of (direct) democracy and happiness can be observed. In a second step, we conduct a cross-national analysis, covering 28 countries with data from the 1998 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). There we observe a robust positive and significant relationship between democracy and happiness.

Keywords: Culture, democracy, direct democracy, happiness, institutions, utility

JEL Classification: I31, H10, D02

Suggested Citation

Dorn, David and Fischer, Justina A.V. and Kirchgaessner, Gebhard and Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, Is it Culture or Democracy? The Impact of Democracy, Income, and Culture on Happiness (June 2005). University of St. Gallen Economics Working Paper No. 2005-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=757629 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.757629

David Dorn

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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

Gebhard Kirchgaessner (Contact Author)

Universität St. Gallen ( email )

SIAW, Bodanstrasse 8
CH-9000 St.Gallen
Switzerland
+41 71 224 23 47 (Phone)
+41 71 224 22 98 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Alfonso Sousa-Poza

University of Hohenheim - Institute of Household and Consumer Economics ( email )

Fruwirthstrasse 48
Kavaliershaus 4 116
70599 Stuttgart
Germany
++49 (0)711/459-22863 (Phone)
++49 (0)711/459-23953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-hohenheim.de/hhoek/englisch/people/alfonsosousapoza/index.html

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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