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HappinessA Revolution in Economics$
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Bruno S. Frey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262062770

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262062770.001.0001

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The Public Sphere

The Public Sphere

(p.61) 6 The Public Sphere

Bruno S. Frey

The MIT Press

Democracy is generally considered a value in itself, an institution created by political decisions that best reflect the preferences of the citizens. This chapter argues that democracy is a good institution that systematically increases people’s subjective happiness and life satisfaction to a considerable extent. It shows that democracy increases outcome utility by providing the citizens with more desirable political decisions and that the right to participate in the process of political decision making is valued as such (procedural utility). The chapter examines two good institutions that enhance life satisfaction: direct democracy (individual participation rights via referenda) and federalism (decentralization of political decision making to lower jurisdictions).

Keywords:   happiness, democracy, life satisfaction, outcome utility, procedural utility, direct democracy, federalism, decentralization, political decision making, referenda

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