Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 79–102

Happiness Prospers in Democracy

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

DOI: 10.1023/A:1010028211269

Cite this article as:
Frey, B.S. & Stutzer, A. Journal of Happiness Studies (2000) 1: 79. doi:10.1023/A:1010028211269


An econometric analysis of a happiness function, based on a surveyof 6,000 persons in Switzerland, indicates that:

(1) the more developed the institutions of direct democracy, the happier the individuals are;

(2) people derive procedural utility from the possibility of participating in the direct democratic process over and above a more favorable political outcome;

(3) the unemployed are much less happy than the employed, independent of income;

(4) higher income is associated with higher levels of happiness.

The consideration of institutional differences in cross-regional data offers important new insights into happiness research.

institutions direct democracy procedural utility 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno S. Frey
    • 1
  • Alois Stutzer
  1. 1.Institute of Empirical economic ResearchUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations