Study: Big Government Makes People ‘More Satisfied’

Sep 1, 2014 by

A study from Baylor University says that “People living in countries with governments that spend more on social services report being more contented.”

“The effect of state intervention into the economy equals or exceeds marriage or employment status — two traditional predictors of happiness — when it comes to satisfaction,” said Patrick Flavin, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

Four measures of government policies were used by Flavin and co-researchers at the University of Notre Dame and Texas A&M University:

• The overall size of government consumption as a percentage of national gross domestic product.

• Social welfare expenditures as a percentage of the gross domestic product.

• Welfare state generosity measured in terms of the ease of access to welfare benefits, the expansiveness of coverage to citizens of different statuses and life circumstances, and the degree to which social benefits replace incomes lost due to unemployment, retirement, or family circumstances.

• Labor market regulations governing such circumstances as job dismissals, temporary employment, and mass layoffs.

The U.S. is located right in the middle of “satisfaction,” with countries like Belgium, France, and Germany reporting less contentment — countries with greater social spending (and arguably more of the other noted measures) than the U.S.

Which is a good thing, since Dr. Flavin is somewhat at odds with the very headline of the Baylor article: “Are we saying we need a bigger government to be happier? No. Instead, our goal is to objectively examine the data and let people draw their own conclusions.”

Read the full article here.

Study: Big Government Makes People ‘More Satisfied’.

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