People residing in liberal countries are happier on average, finds new study.
The study conducted by the State University of New Jersey in 16 Western European countries found that people living in countries with more liberal policies reported higher life satisfaction than those in countries with less liberal policies, irrespective of their own political views.
Lead author, Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, PhD, of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, asserted that liberal governments tend to do more to shield citizens against certain hardships, such as unemployment and poverty, which could make people feel happier overall.
The researchers analyzed surveys collected from 1,134,384 people between 1970 and 2002 in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Austria and Norway.
Researchers also examined each country's level of spending on welfare, which was found in a report produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The surveys also had each person rate his or her level of personal life satisfaction on a scale from "not at all satisfied" to "very satisfied."
Okulicz-Kozaryn said that "politics was everywhere, and their findings suggested that citizens were best served when governments and organizations worked together by instituting policies that have been shown to increase citizens' well-being.
The study is published in American Psychological Association's Journal of Applied Psychology.