169/2013 Federica Liberini, Michela Redoano and Eugenio Proto
In this paper we investigate whether or not recent initiatives taken by governments and international organizations to come up with indicators of Subjective Well Being (SWB) to inform policy makers go in the same direction as citizens expectations on what policy makers should do. We test retrospective voting hypotheses by using standard measures of SWB as a proxy for utility instead of the commonly used indicators of economic and financial circumstances. Using the British Household Panel Survey Data we find that citizens who are satisfied with their life are more likely to cast their vote in favour of the ruling party, even taking into account ideological preferences. We show that SWB influences voting decision even when the event affecting the SWB is beyond the government's control, like the spouse death.
Behavioural Economics and Wellbeing
Journal of Public Economics