Happiness and voting: evidence from four decades of elections in Europe
09 Dec 2019
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.
American Journal of Political Science
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