Policies for Happiness in the Global Village

Open access


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).

Alesina, A., Spolaore, E. (2003). The Size of Nations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Alesina, A., Spolaore, E. (1997). On the Number and Size of Nations. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112 (4): 1027-1056.

Anderlini, L., Gerardi, D. and Lagunoff, R. (2010) Social Memory, Evidence, and Conflict. Review of Economic Dynamics, 13:559-574.

Arndt, C., Oman, C. (2006) Uses and Abuses of Governance Indicators, Paris: OECD Development Center Study.

Blanchflower, D.G., Oswald, A.J. (2005). Happiness and the Human Development Index:The paradox of Australia. The Australian Economic Review, vol. 38: 307–318.

Bok, D. (2009). The Politics of Happiness What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being. Princeton University Press.

Child, D. (1990). The essentials of factor analysis, second edition. London: Cassel Educational Limited.

Cypher, J.M. and Dietz, J.L. (2009). The process of economic development, third edition. New York: Routledge.

Delhey, J. (2010). From Materialist to Post-Materialist Happiness? National Affluence and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Cross-National Perspective. Social Indicators Research, May 2010, Volume 97, Issue 1: 65-84.

Diener, E. (2000). Subjective Well-Being. The Science of Happiness and a Proposal for a National Index. American Psychologist, January, 34-43.

Diener, E and Seligman, M. (2004). Beyond Money. Toward an Economy of Well-Being. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5 (1): 1-31.

Diener, E., Sandvik, E. and Pavot, W. (1991). Happiness is the frequency, not the intensity, of positive versus negative effect. Published in F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.) „Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective”, New York: Pergamon, 119-139.

Diener, E., Suh, E. and Oishi, S. (1997). Recent findings on subjective wellbeing. Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology, 24(1): 25-41.

Diener, E., Lucas, R.E. and Scollon, C.N. (2006). Beyond the hedonic treadmill: Revising the adaptation theory of well-being. American Psychologist, Vol 61(4): 305-314.

Diener, E., Diener, M. and Diener, C. (1995). Factors Predicting the Subjective Well-Being of Nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5): 851–864.

Diener, E., and Lucas, R.E. (1999). Personality and Subjective Well-Being. In Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, (Ed.) Kahneman, D., Diener, E. and Schwarz, N.. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 213–229.

Di Tella, R. and MacCulloch, R. (2006). Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics. Journal of Economic Perspectives 20(1): 25-46.

Di Tella, R., MacCulloch, R. and Oswald, A.J.(2001). Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness. American Economic Review, 91: 335-341.

Dreher, A. (2006): Does Globalization Affect Growth? Evidence from a new Index of Globalization. Applied Economics, 38, 10: 1091-1110.

Dreher, A., Gaston, N. and Martens, P. (2008). Measuring Globalisation – Gauging its Consequences. New York: Springer.

Easterlin, R.A. and Angelescu, L. (2009). Happiness and Growth the World Over: Time Series Evidence on the Happiness-Income Paradox. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4060, March, Available at: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4060.pdf.

Easterlin, R.A. Angelescu McVey, L., Switek, M., Sawangfa, O. and Smith Zweig, J. (2011). The Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5799, June, Available at: http://ftp.iza.org/dp5799.pdf.

Eichhorn, J. (2012). Context Matters. The Effect of National-Level Factors on the Relationship between Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Individuals on Their Life-Satisfaction. World Values Research, 5(2).

Fatás, A. and Mihov, I. (2005) Policy Volatility, Institutions and Economic Growth, Centre for Economic Policy, Research Discussion Papers, DP5388, Available at: www.cepr.org/pubs/dps/DP5388.asp.

Featherstone, Mike (1995). Undoing Culture. Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity. London: Sage Publications.

Featherstone, Mike (1996). Localism, Globalism, and Cultural Identity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Frey, B. and Stutzer, A. (2002). What can economists learn from happiness research? Journal of Economic Literature, 40: 402-435.

Fujita, F. and Diener, E. (2005). Life Satisfaction Set Point: Stability and Change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(1): 158-164.

Graham, Carol (2005). The Economics of Happiness. Insights on globalization from a novel approach. World Economics, 6(3), July–September: 41-55.

Hagerty, M.R. and Veenhoven, R. (2003). Wealth and Happiness Revisited. Growing wealth of nations does go with greater happiness. Social Indicators Research, 64: 1-27.

Headey, B., Wearing, A.(1992). Understanding happiness: A theory of subjective well-being. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire.

Helliwell, J. Layard, R. and Sachs, J.(2012). World Happiness Report. The Earth Institute, Columbia University http://www.earth.columbia.edu/sitefiles/file/Sachs%20Writing/2012/World%20Happiness%20Report.pdf.

Helliwell, J. and Putnam, R. D. (2004). The Social Context of Well-Being. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Studies 359: 1435–46.

Helliwell, John F., Huang, Haifang (2008). How’s Your Government? International Evidence Linking Good Government and Well-Being. British Journal of Political Science, 38: 595–619.

Hirschman, Albert O. (1970) Exit, voice, and loyalty:Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Inglehart, R. and Klingemann, H.-D. (2000). Genes, Culture, Democracy, and Happiness. Published in Diner, E. and Suh, E.M. (eds.)”Culture and Subjective Well-Being”, The MIT Press, Cambridge and London: 165-184, Available at: http://www2000.wzb.eu/alt/iw/pdf/genecult.pdf.

Inglehart, R., Foa, R., Peterson, C. and Wetzel, C. (2008). Development, Freedom, and Rising Happiness: A Global Perspective (1981-2007). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(4): 264-285.

Kahler, M., Lake, D.A. (2004). Governance in a Global Economy: Political Authority in Transition. PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul., 2004): 409-414.

Kahneman, D. (2000). Experienced Utility and Objective Happiness:A Moment-Based Approach. Published in: Kahneman, D. And Tversky, A. (eds.) „Choices, Values and Frames”, Cambridge University Press and the Russell Sage Foundation: New York, Available at: http://faculty.som.yale.edu/keithchen/negot.%20papers/Kahneman_ExperiencedUtility00.pdf.

Kahneman, D. and Krueger, A.B. (2006). Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Economic Perspectives 20(1): 3-24.

Karsten, Luchien (2013). Globalization and Time. New York: Routledge.

Kaufman, D., Kraay, A. and Mastruzzi, M. (2007) The Worldwide Governance Indicators Project: Answering the Critics, World Bank Policy Research, Working Paper 4149, March, Available on line at: http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/pdf/critics.pdf.

Kaufman, D., Kraay, A. and Mastruzzi, M. (2008) Governance Matters VII: Governance Indicators for 1996–2007, World Bank Policy Research, June, Washington, DC: World Bank.

Kaufman, D., Kraay, A. and Zoido-Lobatón, P. (1999) Governance matters, World Bank Policy Working Paper no. 2196, World Bank, Washington, DC.

Kaufman, D., Kraay, A., and Mastruzzi, M. (2010) The Worldwide Governance Indicators. Methodology and Analytical Issues, The World Bank Development Research Group, Macroeconomics and Growth Team, Policy Research, Working Paper 5430, September.

Kaufmann, D. and Kraay, A. and Mastruzzi M. (2003) Governance Matters III: governance indicators for 1996-2002, The World Bank Institute, Draft for comment, Available on line at: http://www.worldbank.org/wbi/governance/pubs/govmatters3.html.

Kaufmann, D. and Kraay, A. and Zoido-Lobaton, P. (2002) Governance matters II: updated indicators for 2000/01, World Bank Policy Research, Working Paper 2772, Available on line at: http://www.worldbank.org/wbi/governance/pdf/govmatters2.pdf.

Kahler, Miles, Lake, David A. (2004). Governance in a Global Economy: Political Authority in Transition. PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul., 2004): 409-414.

Kurtz, M., and Shrank, A. (2007) Growth and Governance: A Defense, Journal of Politics, 69: 563-569.

Hatcher, L. (1994). A step-by-step approach to using the SAS®System for factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.

New Economic Foundation (2013). The Happy Planet Index: 2012 Report. A global index of sustanaible well-being. Available at: http://www.happyplanetindex.org/assets/happy-planet-index-report.pdf

Langbein, Laura, Knack, Stephen (2008). The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Six, One, or None? The Journal of Development Studies, Volume 46, Issue 2: 350-370.

Leigh, Andrew, Wolfers, Justin (2006). Happiness and the Human Development Index: Australia Is Not a Paradox. The Australian Economic Review, vol. 39, no. 2:176–184.

Liang, Kung-Yee, Zeger, Scott L. (1986). Longitudinal data analysis using generalized linear models. Biometrika, 73: 13–22.

Lin, N. (2002). Social capital: A theory of social structure and action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Luechinger, Simon (2009). Valuing air quality using the life satisfaction approach. Economic Journal, 119: 482-515.

Mimicopoulos, M. and Kyj, L. (2007) Public Governance Indicators: a Literature Review, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: New York.

Nelder, J. and Wedderburn, R.W.M. (1972) Generalized Linear Models, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (General) (Blackwell Publishing) 135(3): 370–384.

Nitschke, Jens (2008). Happiness vs. HDI. The correlation between life expectancy, literacy, GDP and happiness. Humboldt-Universitätzu Berlin Seminar Papers in Development Economics, May, Available at: http://www.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/professuren-en/vwl/fw/dissertations/Seminararbeiten/Development_Economics/Wintersemester_2007_-_2008/Jens_Nitschke_-_Happiness_vs_HDI

Ott, Jan C. (2010). Good Governance and Happiness in Nations: Technical Quality Precedes Democracy and Quality Beats Size. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11:353–368.

Powdthavee, Nattavudh, van den Berg, Bernard (2011). Putting different price tags on the same health condition: re-evaluating the well-being valuation approach. Journal of Health Economics, 30: 1032-1043.

Radcliffe, B. (2005). Class Organization and Subjective Well-Being: A Cross-National Analysis. Social Forces 84(1): 513-530.

Rodrik, D. (2000) Institutions for High-Quality Growth: What They are and How to Acquire Them, NBER, Working Paper No. 7540, February.

Rodrik, D., Subramanian, A. and Trebbi, F. (2004) Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development, Journal of Economic Growth, 9(2), pp 131–165.

Romero, C. (2001). Globalization, Civil Society and Religion from a Latin American Standpoint. Sociology of Religion, Vol. 62, No. 4, Special Issue: Religion and Globalization at the Turn of the Millennium (Winter, 2001):475-490.

Saribas, H. (2010). Economic Freedom and Economic Well-Being: A Granger causality Analysis of 49 Countries, 1995-2004. Applied Econometrics and International Development, 10(2).

Schorr, Juliet B. (1993). The overworked American: The unexpected decline of leisure. New York: Basic Books.

Schorr, Juliet B. (1999). The overspent American: Why we want what we don’t need. New York: Basic Books.

Siedlecki, K.L., Tucker-Drob, E.M., Oishi, S. and Salthouse, T.A. (2008). Life satisfaction across adulthood: different determinants at different ages? The Journal of Positive Psychology, July, 3(3): 153–164.

Spolaore, Enrico (2008). Federalism, Regional Redistribution, and Country Stability. Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University, 0726, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

Spolaore, E., Alesina, A., Wacziarg, R. (2000). Economic Integration and Political Disintegration. American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5): 1276-1296, December.

Spolaore, E., Wacziarg, R. (2005). Borders and Growth. Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(4): 331-386, December.

Stevenson, B. and Wolfers, J. (2008). Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, (Spring), 39(1): 1-102.

Suárez-Orozco, M., Qin-Hilliard, D.B. (Eds.) (2004). Globalization. Culture and Education in the New Millennium. University of California Press

Thomas, M. (2010). What Do the Worldwide Governance Indicators Measure? European Journal of Development Research (2010) 22: 31–54.

Van Praag, Bernard M.S., and Baarsma, Barbara E. (2005). Using happiness surveys to value intangibles: the case of airport noise. Economic Journal, 115: 224-246.

Veenhoven, R. (2000). Freedom and Happiness: A Comparative Study in Forty-Four Nations in the Early 1990s. Published in: Diner, E. and Suh, E.M. (eds.).”Culture and Subjective Well-Being”, The MIT Press, Cambridge and London: 257-288, Available at: http://www2.eur.nl/fsw/research/veenhoven/Pub2000s/2000a-full.pdf.

Veenhoven, R. (2009a). World Database of Happiness Tool for Dealing with the ‘Data-Deluge’. Psychological Topics, 18 (2009), 2, 221-246.

Veenhoven, R. (2009b). How do we assess how happy we are? Tenets, implications and tenability of three theories. Published in: Dutt, A. K. and Radcliff, B. (eds.) „Happiness, Economics and Politics: Towards a multi-disciplinary approach”, Edward Elger Publishers, Cheltenham UK, Chapter 3, 45-69.

Veenhoven, R. (2012). Cross-national differences in happiness: Cultural measurement bias or effect of culture? International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(4), 333-353.

Veenhoven, R. (2013a). Average happiness in 149 nations 2000-2009. World Database of Happiness. Rank report Average Happiness. Assessed on (01/10/2013) at: worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_nat/findingreports/RankReport_AverageHappiness.php

Veenhoven, R. (2013c). World Database of Happiness, collection Happiness in Nations, Overview of happiness surveys using Measure type: 111C / 4-step verbal Happiness, viewed on 2013-11-17 at http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl

Veenhoven, R. (2013c). World Database of Happiness, collection Happiness in Nations, Overview of happiness surveys using Measure type: 236 / 14-item Yesterday’s Affect Balance, viewed on 2013-10-02 at: http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl

Veenhoven, R., Berg, M. (2013). Has modernisation gone too far? Modernity and happiness in 141 contemporary nations. International Journal of Happiness and Development, Volume 1, Number 2/2013: 172-195.

Wang, Yi (2007). Globalization Enhances Cultural Identity. Intercultural Communication Studies, XVI / 1: 83-86.

Uchida, Y., Ogihara, Y. (2012). Personal or interpersonal construal of happiness: A cultural psychological perspective. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(4): 354-369.

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 235 232 17
PDF Downloads 108 108 10