Democracy and Happiness: A True Correlation?


  • Jacob Charles Potts Emory University



Democracy, Happiness, Happiness Economics, Liberal Democracy, Illiberal Democracy


Democracy has exploded in the 20th and 21st centuries, and while many assume that this would increase happiness, recently there has been evidence presented by critics that prove otherwise. Thus, one must ask the question, does democracy truly cause happiness? Literature suggests this is indeed the case, and through qualitative and comparative analysis it has been demonstrated that democracy does indeed cause happiness, but only if civil liberties are respected by their government. This was done by examining the arguments made by the critics of democracy and happiness. These arguments often focus on fledgling, illiberal democracies, instead of strong, established liberal democracies. These critics additionally use non-democracies who are economically powerful and stable to prove their point, instead of providing a more full view of non-democracies. These results are often cherry-picked, and it is clear that more democratic nations are happier on average than non-democracies. Additionally, in order to increase the happiness of liberal democracies, tenants such as direct democracy can help a country struggling to find happiness for its citizens. That way, democracy can provide the happiness through choice as it was intended to.

Author Biography

Jacob Charles Potts, Emory University

Major: Political Science Minor: History


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