Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Researcher Finds Life Satisfaction, State Intervention Go Hand In Hand

From the 8 May 2011 Medical News Today article

People living in countries with governments that have a greater number of social services report being more satisfied with life, according to a study by a Baylor University researcher.

Dr. Patrick Flavin, assistant professor of political science at Baylor, said the effect of state intervention into the economy equaled or exceeded marriage when it came to satisfaction. The study is published in the spring issue of the journalPolitics & Policy.

[The abstract of the article is here,

for suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here]

Free market capitalism has been championed by leaders such as the late President Ronald Reagan and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, while left-leaning political parties and labor movements argue for more government intervention into the market. But scholars have paid little empirical attention to the debate in terms of which leads to more satisfaction among citizens, Flavin said. …

…The study measured government intervention into the economy in four ways: government tax revenue as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP), government consumption of GDP, generosity of unemployment benefits and a country’s welfare expenditures as a percentage of GDP.

“In many cases, less government intervention can allow for a more efficient economy, but greater economic efficiency doesn’t necessarily translate into greater contentment with one’s life,” Flavin said. “If you get sick and can’t work or lose your job and there are few social protections in place, you’re more likely to be anxious and less satisfied.”

The findings were consistent regardless of whether respondents were rich or poor and regardless of their political views, Flavin said. The findings rule out alternative explanations including individual characteristics — such as personal health, level of education and marital status — and such national factors as gross domestic product and unemployment rate. …

May 9, 2011 - Posted by | Public Health |

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