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Correlational findings

Study Helliwell et al. (2014b): study ZZ World samples 2005

Public:
15+ years, general public, 157 countries, 2005-2012
Survey name:
Gallup poll
Sample:
Respondents:
N = 900000
Non Response:
Assessment:
Interview: face-to-face

Correlate

Authors's label
Freedom to make life choices
Our Classification
Operationalization
National average of self-reports for the question, "Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?"
1: Yes
0: No

Observed Relation with Happiness

Happiness Measure Statistics Elaboration / Remarks C-BW-c-sq-l-11-c b = +1.2 p < .01 AVERAGE happiness by AVERAGE freedom to make life choices in 154 nations in the period 2005-2012 (n=776).
- Without country fixed effects
C-BW-c-sq-l-11-c b = +.95 p < .01 - With country fixed effects C-BW-c-sq-l-11-c b = +.79 p < .05 Countries with high delivery quality (greater than 0) (n=303) C-BW-c-sq-l-11-c b = +.96 p < .01 Countries with low delivery quality (lower than 0) (n=473)

b controls for:
- democratic quality
- delivery quality
- log GDP per capita
- healthy life expectancy
- generosity
- social support
- year fixed effects

Similar patterns are obtained when b additionally controls for:
- Regional fixed effects

A similar result is also obtained when a regression is conducted for 2005-2012 averages at the country level without regional fixed effects.
C-BW-c-sq-l-11-c b = +.60 ns Regression with 2005-2012 country averages.

b controls for:
- democratic quality
- delivery quality
- log GDP per capita
- healthy life expectancy
- generosity
- social support
- year fixed effects
- regional fixed effects
C-BW-c-sq-l-11-c b = +.52 p < .05 AVERAGE happiness by AVERAGE democratic quality in 146 nations in the period 2005-2012 (n=696).

b controls for:
- Confidence in the national government (Gallup)
- Logged GDP
- Democratic quality
- Delivery quality
- Country fixed effects
- Year fixed effects
- Freedom to make life choices
- Generosity
- Social support

Similar results are obtained when some controls are removed.

In sum: Freedom to make life choices has a significant positive effect on life satisfaction in all model specifications except for one.