Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 435–456 | Cite as

Freedom and Happiness in Nations: A Research Synthesis

  • Amanina Abdur RahmanEmail author
  • Ruut Veenhoven


Freedom is highly valued, but there are limits to the amount of freedom a society can allow its members. This begs the question of how much freedom is too much. The answers to that question differ across political cultures and are typically based on ideological argumentation. In this paper, we consider the compatibility of freedom and happiness in nations by taking stock of the research findings on that matter, gathered in the World Database of Happiness. We find that freedom and happiness are positively correlated in contemporary nations. The pattern of correlation differs somewhat across cultures and aspects of freedom. We found no pattern of declining happiness returns, which suggests that freedom has not passed its maximum in the freest countries.


Freedom Happiness Nations Synthesis World Database of Happiness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017
corrected publication July/2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, School of BusinessMonash University MalaysiaSubang JayaMalaysia
  2. 2.Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO)Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Opentia Research Program, North-West UniversityVanderbijlparkSouth Africa

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