ABSTRACT. An econometric analysis of a happiness function, based on a survey of 6,000 persons in Switzerland, indicates that: (1) the more developed the institutions of direct democracy, the happier the individ- uals are; (2) people derive procedural utility from the possibility of participating in the direct democratic process over and above a more favorable political outcome; (3) the unemployed are much less happy than the employed, independent of income; (4) higher income is associated with higher levels of happiness. The consideration of institutional differences in cross-regional data offers important new insights into happiness research.
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