Does Satisfaction with Democracy Really Increase Happiness? Direct Democracy and Individual Satisfaction in Switzerland

Does Satisfaction with Democracy Really Increase Happiness? Direct Democracy and Individual... This paper takes the influential “direct democracy makes people happy”-research as a starting point and asks whether direct democracy impacts individual satisfaction. Unlike former studies we distinguish two aspects of individual satisfaction, namely satisfaction with life (“happiness”) and with how democracy works. Based on multilevel analysis of the 26 Swiss cantons we show that the theoretical assumption on which the happiness hypothesis is based has to be questioned, as there is very little evidence for a robust relationship between satisfaction with democracy and life satisfaction. Furthermore, we do not find a substantive positive effect of direct democracy on happiness. However, with respect to satisfaction with democracy, our analysis shows some evidence for a procedural effect of direct democracy, i.e. positive effects related to using direct democratic rights, rather than these rights per se. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Does Satisfaction with Democracy Really Increase Happiness? Direct Democracy and Individual Satisfaction in Switzerland

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-011-9164-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper takes the influential “direct democracy makes people happy”-research as a starting point and asks whether direct democracy impacts individual satisfaction. Unlike former studies we distinguish two aspects of individual satisfaction, namely satisfaction with life (“happiness”) and with how democracy works. Based on multilevel analysis of the 26 Swiss cantons we show that the theoretical assumption on which the happiness hypothesis is based has to be questioned, as there is very little evidence for a robust relationship between satisfaction with democracy and life satisfaction. Furthermore, we do not find a substantive positive effect of direct democracy on happiness. However, with respect to satisfaction with democracy, our analysis shows some evidence for a procedural effect of direct democracy, i.e. positive effects related to using direct democratic rights, rather than these rights per se.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: May 10, 2011

References

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