Welfare state, autonomy, and subjective well-being

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskningpeer review


In this paper we investigate if and how effects from welfare state and government indicators on subjective well-being (SWB) is mediated through a feeling of individual autonomy and control.
In psychological research it has often been shown that one of the most important individual level factors affecting SWB is the feeling of autonomy and control, that the individual feels able to imagine the future, make plans, and go for those plans. Conversely, the feeling that one’s life-course is determined by external factors will generally lead to a low degree of SWB. Some of this research also investigates factors that have an impact on autonomy and control, but mostly at micro level.
At the macro level the main driver of SWB research has been the question of whether there is an effect on SWB from economic level or economic growth. Of course there have been some SWB research at country level with other focus too, but only a few of these comparative studies have investigated the association between autonomy and country factors.
In later years we have an increase in SWB research in political sociology. Some of the politically focused studies on SWB continue along the economic path of research, while others broaden the research questions and looks for the interplay between SWB, social trust, welfare state system, government and redistribution indicators etc. However, it is characteristic that none of these studies examine if the effect from policy relevant country level factors on SWB is mediated by individuals’ feeling of autonomy and control, one of the most, if not the most, important individual level effect factors on SWB. This is what the current paper proposes to do.
Antal sider8
StatusIkke-udgivet - 2019
BegivenhedThe Global North - Welfare Policies, Mobilities, Inequalities, and Social Movements - Aalborg University, Aalborg, Danmark
Varighed: 8 aug. 201810 aug. 2018


KonferenceThe Global North - Welfare Policies, Mobilities, Inequalities, and Social Movements
LokationAalborg University


  • subjective well-being
  • happiness
  • life satisfaction
  • autonomy
  • control over life


Lolle, H. (2019). Welfare state, autonomy, and subjective well-being. Afhandling præsenteret på The Global North - Welfare Policies, Mobilities, Inequalities, and Social Movements, Aalborg, Danmark.