Government Partisanship and Human Well-Being
This paper shows that the partisan composition of government is strongly related to the well-being of citizens, measured by the reported level of life satisfaction and suicide rates in industrial countries. Our analysis, using survey data of 14 nations between 1980 and 2002, shows that the presence of left-leaning parties in government is associated with an increase the level of individual life satisfaction. The relationship holds true even after controlling for the effects of macroeconomic variables such as gross domestic product, unemployment rates and government welfare policies. Our panel data analysis of 21 nations between 1980 and 2004 also shows that suicide rates decrease when a country experiences a shift to more left-leaning government. The increased presence of right-wing parties in government has a negligible effect on suicide rates.