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In pursuit of happiness: Life satisfaction drives political support

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Peter Esaiasson
Stefan Dahlberg
Andrej Kokkonen
Publicerad i European Journal of Political Research
Volym 59
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 25-44
ISSN 0304-4130
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Sidor 25-44
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.1...
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap

Sammanfattning

It is argued in this article that citizens in democracies use their subjective well-being (SWB) as an evaluative criterion when deciding how willing they are to support and comply with government dictates (political system support). When life is satisfactory, government authorities are rewarded with support, when it is not, citizens punish authorities by withholding their support. To make sense of the relationship, it is suggested that citizens act as if they have signed a happiness contract with ‘those in power’. In support of this argument, comparative survey data shows that SWB predicts attitudes on political system support across country contexts and under strong control conditions. Establishing that the relationship is causal, panel data documents that attitudes on political system support can be undermined following the termination of a close personal relationship, and that the causal effect is mediated via changes in SWB. Finally, as predicted, the happiness-support relationship is weaker among individuals who are high on spirituality/religiousness and attribute blame for external events to both worldly and non-worldly powers.

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