This article employs three different measures of life satisfaction viewed as proxy for social utility, in order to test for the possible non-linear interactions between the quality of public governance, as reflected by the World Bank indicators, and globalization, as captured by the KOF index, for a dataset of 99 countries for a time span between 2001 and 2010. We conclude that efficient and trustworthy public policies may enhance life satisfaction. Moreover, there may occur a synergy effect between ‘good’ governance and globalization (especially for those components describing social globalization), while there is no substitute for the failure of public policies, in terms of human development and growth (with the effects on human development being substantially more important than those corresponding to the increase in national wealth).
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