Life Satisfaction and Political Participation: Evidence from the United States
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Are people who are more satisfied with their lives more likely to participate in politics? Although the literature on political participation in the United States is one of the most theoretically and methodologically developed in political science, little research has sought to incorporate subjective life satisfaction into models of political participation. Instead, life satisfaction has been studied nearly exclusively as a dependent variable. By turning to life satisfaction as an independent variable, we contribute to the literatures on both political participation and life satisfaction. Using survey data, we find that individuals who are more satisfied with their lives are more likely to turn out to vote and participate in the political process through other avenues, and that the magnitude of this relationship rivals that of education. We also find that the relationship between life satisfaction and political participation is confined to “non-conflictual” forms of participation, and exhibits no relationship with the decision to engage in political protest.
KeywordsPolitical science Effects of life satisfaction
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