FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS IN NATIONS: A research synthesis
Amanina Abdur Rahman and Ruut Veenhoven
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization EHERO
Accepted for publication in Applied Research on Quality of Life, April 2017
Freedom is highly valued, but there are limits to the amount of freedom a society can allow its members. This begs the question of how much freedom is too much. The answers to that question differ across political cultures and are typically based on ideological argumentation. In this paper, we consider the compatibility of freedom and happiness in nations by taking stock of the research findings on that matter, gathered in the World Database of Happiness. We find that freedom and happiness are positively correlated in contemporary nations. The pattern of correlation differs somewhat across cultures and aspects of freedom. We found no pattern of declining happiness returns, which suggests that freedom has not passed its maximum in the freest countries.
Keywords: freedom; happiness; nations; synthesis; World Database of Happiness