Statistics on Freedom and Happiness

democracy freedom happiness


How can we explain this correlation between freedom and happiness? One possible story is that freedom means, in part, economic freedom: economic freedom makes us wealthier and wealth in turn makes us happier. But maybe freedom also has an intrinsic rather than a mere instrumental value for happiness and wellbeing. Freedom means control and self-government, which should be intrinsically valuable and should makes us happier. On the other hand, too much choice and responsibility for ourselves can make us worse off: it makes our lives more complicated and riskier, and increases the chances of regret, self-criticism and post-hoc dissatisfaction with certain choices. There are indeed measurable drops in reported well-being associated with the process of acquiring agency (source). Yet maybe freedom is worth having despite its impact on happiness.


  1. Pingback: Human Rights Maps (30): Happiness and Subjective Well-Being « P.A.P. Blog - Politics, Art and Philosophy

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