How moderates and extremists find happiness: Ideological orientation, citizen-government proximity, and life satisfaction

Luigi Curini, Willy Jou, Vincenzo Memoli

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    While the topic of life satisfaction and its determinants has drawn increasing attention among political scientists, most studies have focused mainly on macro-level variables, and often overlooked the role of individuals' attitudes vis-à-vis their governments. The present article attempts to fill this gap by examining whether citizens' left-right self-placement and ideological distance from their governments exert an independent effect on life satisfaction. Utilizing a dataset spanning a quarter century and containing nearly 70,000 respondents, we demonstrate a curvilinear relationship between ideological orientations and happiness, with self-identified radicals on both ends of the spectrum happier than moderate citizens. Moreover, we show that while propinquity between self-position and government position contributes to happiness, this effect is highly mediated by individual locations along the left-right spectrum: centrists report higher levels of happiness the closer they are to their government, while the opposite is true for radicals. The normative implication of our findings is that moderate governments may present a comparative advantage in enhancing the overall level of happiness of their citizens.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-152
    Number of pages24
    JournalInternational Political Science Review
    Volume35
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Fingerprint

    citizen orientation
    happiness
    citizen
    political scientist
    macro level
    determinants

    Keywords

    • happiness
    • ideological congruence
    • left
    • life satisfaction
    • political ideology
    • right

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations
    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    How moderates and extremists find happiness : Ideological orientation, citizen-government proximity, and life satisfaction. / Curini, Luigi; Jou, Willy; Memoli, Vincenzo.

    In: International Political Science Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2014, p. 129-152.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    @article{256b1fd4c29444a491fe0ff624a89e9b,
    title = "How moderates and extremists find happiness: Ideological orientation, citizen-government proximity, and life satisfaction",
    abstract = "While the topic of life satisfaction and its determinants has drawn increasing attention among political scientists, most studies have focused mainly on macro-level variables, and often overlooked the role of individuals' attitudes vis-{\`a}-vis their governments. The present article attempts to fill this gap by examining whether citizens' left-right self-placement and ideological distance from their governments exert an independent effect on life satisfaction. Utilizing a dataset spanning a quarter century and containing nearly 70,000 respondents, we demonstrate a curvilinear relationship between ideological orientations and happiness, with self-identified radicals on both ends of the spectrum happier than moderate citizens. Moreover, we show that while propinquity between self-position and government position contributes to happiness, this effect is highly mediated by individual locations along the left-right spectrum: centrists report higher levels of happiness the closer they are to their government, while the opposite is true for radicals. The normative implication of our findings is that moderate governments may present a comparative advantage in enhancing the overall level of happiness of their citizens.",
    keywords = "happiness, ideological congruence, left, life satisfaction, political ideology, right",
    author = "Luigi Curini and Willy Jou and Vincenzo Memoli",
    year = "2014",
    doi = "10.1177/0192512113489922",
    language = "English",
    volume = "35",
    pages = "129--152",
    journal = "International Political Science Review",
    issn = "0192-5121",
    publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
    number = "2",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - How moderates and extremists find happiness

    T2 - Ideological orientation, citizen-government proximity, and life satisfaction

    AU - Curini, Luigi

    AU - Jou, Willy

    AU - Memoli, Vincenzo

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - While the topic of life satisfaction and its determinants has drawn increasing attention among political scientists, most studies have focused mainly on macro-level variables, and often overlooked the role of individuals' attitudes vis-à-vis their governments. The present article attempts to fill this gap by examining whether citizens' left-right self-placement and ideological distance from their governments exert an independent effect on life satisfaction. Utilizing a dataset spanning a quarter century and containing nearly 70,000 respondents, we demonstrate a curvilinear relationship between ideological orientations and happiness, with self-identified radicals on both ends of the spectrum happier than moderate citizens. Moreover, we show that while propinquity between self-position and government position contributes to happiness, this effect is highly mediated by individual locations along the left-right spectrum: centrists report higher levels of happiness the closer they are to their government, while the opposite is true for radicals. The normative implication of our findings is that moderate governments may present a comparative advantage in enhancing the overall level of happiness of their citizens.

    AB - While the topic of life satisfaction and its determinants has drawn increasing attention among political scientists, most studies have focused mainly on macro-level variables, and often overlooked the role of individuals' attitudes vis-à-vis their governments. The present article attempts to fill this gap by examining whether citizens' left-right self-placement and ideological distance from their governments exert an independent effect on life satisfaction. Utilizing a dataset spanning a quarter century and containing nearly 70,000 respondents, we demonstrate a curvilinear relationship between ideological orientations and happiness, with self-identified radicals on both ends of the spectrum happier than moderate citizens. Moreover, we show that while propinquity between self-position and government position contributes to happiness, this effect is highly mediated by individual locations along the left-right spectrum: centrists report higher levels of happiness the closer they are to their government, while the opposite is true for radicals. The normative implication of our findings is that moderate governments may present a comparative advantage in enhancing the overall level of happiness of their citizens.

    KW - happiness

    KW - ideological congruence

    KW - left

    KW - life satisfaction

    KW - political ideology

    KW - right

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84896374901&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84896374901&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1177/0192512113489922

    DO - 10.1177/0192512113489922

    M3 - Article

    AN - SCOPUS:84896374901

    VL - 35

    SP - 129

    EP - 152

    JO - International Political Science Review

    JF - International Political Science Review

    SN - 0192-5121

    IS - 2

    ER -