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Do governance factors matter for happiness in the MENA region?

Hassan Gholipour Fereidouni (School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)
Youhanna Najdi (Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia)
Reza Ekhtiari Amiri (Political Science Department, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 14 October 2013




Unhappiness has been recognized as one of the main factors that cause political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in recent years. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of governance matters on happiness in the MENA region while controlling for other relevant determinants.


The paper applies panel random effects regression analyses by using data from 14 MENA countries over the period of 2009-2011.


The empirical results show that higher level of political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness and rule of law significantly increase happiness in the region. Furthermore, the paper finds that voice and accountability, regulatory quality and control of corruption variables have positive relationship with happiness but are not significant.


Most studies in this area cover developed countries. Since findings for developed countries might not be directly transferable to emerging economies such as MENA countries, therefore, more work is necessary to obtain a clearer picture of the political determinants of happiness in this region.



Gholipour Fereidouni, H., Najdi, Y. and Ekhtiari Amiri, R. (2013), "Do governance factors matter for happiness in the MENA region?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 40 No. 12, pp. 1028-1040.



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