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Tolerance, governance and happiness (in)equality: cross-country evidence

Raufhon Salahodjaev (Akfa University, Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Tashkent State Economics University, Tashkent, Uzbekistan)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Article publication date: 17 May 2021

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021




The purpose of this study is to extend related literature on life satisfaction. In particular, the author explores the link between tolerance, governance and life satisfaction inequality in a sample of 81 countries. While studies have shown that tolerance and governance are separately linked to subjective well-being, no study has shown their mutual relationship to life satisfaction inequality.


Considering the existing link between tolerance and quality of institutions, in this study, the author explores the relationship between tolerance and life satisfaction inequality and the mediating role of governance. This research could be embedded in the framework of ballooning research exploring the effect of societal values on institutions and life satisfaction.


The empirical findings suggest more tolerant societies are more likely to have more even levels of life satisfaction, but this correlation is completely mediated by governance. Quality of institutions thus seem to be one of the core channels by which societies that value tolerance achieve more equal distribution of happiness. The author also finds that while GDP per capita evens out happiness, income inequality increases the gap in life satisfaction within society.


To the best of the author’s knowledge, this study is the first that relies on most up-to-date cross-country data to explore a novel channel through which tolerance may be linked to subjective well-being. In particular, in this study, the author posits that tolerance may have been linked to subjective well-being indirectly via its impact on quality of institutions (governance).



Salahodjaev, R. (2021), "Tolerance, governance and happiness (in)equality: cross-country evidence", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 280-289.



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