Well-Being and the Democratic State: How the Public Sector Promotes Human Happiness Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018, Springer Nature B.V. While a growing literature within the study of subjective well-being demonstrates the impact of socio-political factors on subjective well-being, scholars have conspicuously failed to consider the role of the size and scope of government as determinants of well-being. In this study, we examine the size of the public sector as a determinant of cross-national variation in life satisfaction across the industrial democracies. At the individual-level, we find that public employees are happier and exhibit greater life satisfaction than otherwise similar others. At the aggregate level, the data strongly suggest that the subjective well-being varies positively with the size of the public sector. The implications for the study of life satisfaction are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Social Indicators Research

altmetric score

  • 7.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Pacek, A., Radcliff, B., & Brockway, M.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Pacek, Alexander||Radcliff, Benjamin||Brockway, Mark

publication date

  • June 2019