Professors: Bigger government means happier citizens

Bethany Salgado
Texas Campus Correspondent

  • The study examined 21 free market, capitalist democracies.
  • The professors spending on social welfare programs, size of government, generosity of welfare benefits, and workplace conditions.
  • Big government improves life satisfaction of citizens around the world, according to a recent study.

    Professors Alexander Pacek of Texas A&M, Patrick Flavis of Baylor University, and Benjamin Radcliff of the University of Notre Dame studied 21 free market, capitalist democracies and concluded that “life [is] more satisfying as the degree of government intervention in the economy increases.”

    "[Comparing] today’s happiness with today’s government spending is to automatically bias the results in favor of big government."   

    The professors' findings conclude that limited government poses problems such as social inequality and poverty which can lead to insecurities in citizens. On the other hand, Pacek says government intervention, if it is done correctly, “can improve life satisfaction by smoothing out these kinds of negative effects and consequences.”

    The study examined spending on social welfare programs, the size of government, generosity of welfare benefits, and workplace protections.

    Dr. Antony Davies, associate professor of economics at Duquesne University, told Campus Reform that the study overlooks the impact of government interference on citizens’ future happiness.

    “In short, to compare today’s happiness with today’s government spending is to automatically bias the results in favor of big government,” Davies said. “What you’re seeing may not be greater overall happiness so much as a shifting of happiness from tomorrow to today.”

    Davies conducted a similar study, provided to Campus Reform, which concluded that countries with greater economic freedom have higher incomes, less unemployment, less poverty, less income inequality, cleaner environments, less child labor, and less gender inequality.

    “Virtually every objective measure we associate with a ‘healthy’ society is positively correlated with economic freedom. In turn, economic freedom, requires smaller government,” Davies told Campus Reform.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @bethanysalgado





    Bethany Salgado

    Bethany Salgado

    Texas Campus Correspondent

    Bethany Salgado is a Texas Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Bethany is a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she studies International Political Economy and Spanish. She previously worked on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign and interned with the Leadership Institute. She contributes toYoung Conservatives and 1776 Scholars Blog.

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