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Formal Institutions and Subjective Wellbeing: Revisiting the Cross-Country Evidence

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  • Christian Bjørnskov
  • Axel Dreher, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
  • Justina Fischer, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

A long tradition in economics explores the association between the quality of formal institutions and economic performance. The literature on the relationship between such institutions and happiness is, however, rather limited. In this paper, we revisit the findings from recent cross-country studies on the institutions-happiness association. Our findings suggest that the conclusions reached by previous studies are fairly sensitive to the specific measure of 'happiness' used. In addition, the results indicate that the welfare effects of policies may differ across phases of a country's economic development. This bears important policy implications which we discuss in the concluding section of the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Publication year2008
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventIALMH - Padova, Italy
Duration: 25 Jun 200730 Jun 2007



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