The research empirically tests these hypotheses in the US and finds that people with extreme political views were happier than moderates and, national level representation has a greater impact on happiness than state level representation.
Findings of a study published in the European Journal of Political Economy (EJPA) show the extent to which a person’s political affiliation and ideology is correlated with them being happy or unhappy. The EJPA paper by Jeremy Jackson of North Dakota State University, examines the role of politics in creating happiness.
Jackson does this by focussing on individual’s political affiliations and ideology, and how that correlates with representation in national and state politics. The paper tests three hypotheses—individuals will report higher happiness when their party’s representative has won, respondents possessing extreme political views will report higher happiness in comparison to those with moderate views, and state level party alignment will have a larger impact on individual’s happiness than at the national level. The research empirically tests these hypotheses in the US and finds that people with extreme political views were happier than moderates and, national level representation has a greater impact on happiness than state level representation. In all cases, the first hypothesis was proven to be correct.
The paper highlights that one’s allegiance to a party becomes a part of their social identity, though this has relatively less to do with policies. Against the backdrop of Jackson’s findings, the mass euphoria at the BJP victory in the recent general elections, and, more important, the way a chunk of the electorate in different states batted for the BJP at the Centre while it favoured a local party for the Assembly, should be easier to understand. However, what explains the lack of sadness at the BJP getting beaten in these states? Are there gaps, cultural or otherwise, because of which the extreme sadness in the American setting was not mirrored in the case of losses in the states? It is likely, all the sadness is the lot of a different set of voters in the Indian political spectrum—the “extreme liberals”!