Assessing Public Welfare Policy Effects on Subjective Well-Being

Chang B Kwon, George Mason University
Connie L McNeely, George Mason University

The study of Subjective Well-Being (SWB) has consistently grown over recent years, with researchers identifying a number of social and individual determinants derived from extensive analyses. That being said however, the current literature still offers limited insight into what and how specific functions of government influence levels of SWB. Thus, this research focuses on the extent to which public welfare policy affects levels of SWB by conducting combined analyses based on various cross-country level datasets, such as the World Values Surveys, the International Monetary Fund’s Government Finance Statistics, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Social Expenditure Database, etc. The research principally uses differentiated public financial expenditures on public welfare as a proxy for the level of government efforts in this arena and incorporates several other important individual and societal level determinants of SWB in various models (including structural and multivariate regression models) in order to estimate and assess related effects of public welfare policy on SWB. The main findings from the analyses are expected to provide general evidence and support for hypotheses positing significant positive effects of public welfare expenditure on individual SWB. This research is based on arguments that securing basic human needs or essential human conditions through public welfare policy will lead to more people attaining higher levels of SWB and, notably, increasing the overall level of well-being in society more generally.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 147. Inequality and Well-Being