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Psychol Sci. 2008 Jun;19(6):565-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02124.x.

Why are conservatives happier than liberals?

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Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003-6634, USA.


In this research, we drew on system-justification theory and the notion that conservative ideology serves a palliative function to explain why conservatives are happier than liberals. Specifically, in three studies using nationally representative data from the United States and nine additional countries, we found that right-wing (vs. left-wing) orientation is indeed associated with greater subjective well-being and that the relation between political orientation and subjective well-being is mediated by the rationalization of inequality. In our third study, we found that increasing economic inequality (as measured by the Gini index) from 1974 to 2004 has exacerbated the happiness gap between liberals and conservatives, apparently because conservatives (more than liberals) possess an ideological buffer against the negative hedonic effects of economic inequality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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