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Journal Article

Happiness and voting: evidence from four decades of elections in Europe


Publication date

Jul 2020


There is a growing interest among policy makers in the use of subjective well‐being (or “happiness”) data to measure societal progress, as well as to inform and evaluate public policy. Yet despite a sharp rise in the supply of well‐being‐based policymaking, it remains unclear whether there is any electoral demand for it. In this article, I study a long‐run panel of general elections in Europe and find that well‐being is a strong predictor of election results. National measures of subjective well‐being are able to explain more of the variance in governing party vote share than standard macroeconomic indicators typically used in the economic voting literature. Consistent results are found at the individual level when considering subjective well‐being and voting intentions, both in cross‐sectional and panel analyses.

Published in

American Journal of Political Science

Volume and page numbers

64 , 504 -518





Politics, Psychology, Elections. Electoral Behaviour, Public Policy, Government, Well Being, and Finance


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