Professors: Bigger government means happier citizens

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.”

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.

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