Journal section "Theoretical and methodological issues"

Competition, Collaboration, and Life Satisfaction. Part 1. The Seven of European Leaders

Polterovich V.M.

Volume 15, Issue 2, 2022

Polterovich V.M. Competition, collaboration, and life satisfaction. Part 1. The Seven of European leaders. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 15(2), 31–43. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.2.80.2

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.2.80.2

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The first part of this paper demonstrates that a group of seven European countries is significantly ahead of other Western states, including the United States, in the development of economic and political institutions. The Seven are Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. They rank first in the life satisfaction index (happiness index) and are leaders in the integral index of quality of life, civic culture, and institutional effectiveness which is formed by aggregating ten most important indicators. These include healthy life expectancy at birth, the corruption perception index, the democracy index, the human development index, the Gini index and a number of others. When this index is used to cluster the set of developed countries, the Seven appears to be the leading cluster. This result suggests that the achievement of high values of the proposed index contributes to the country’s advancement to the leading positions in life satisfaction. An analysis of the dynamics of institutional indicators showed that the U.S. lagging behind the Seven has been increasing over time. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the flawed democracies, the levels of generalized trust of U.S. citizens as well as trust in political institutions and in the government are decreasing, the U.S. advantages in terms of global competitiveness and per capita GDP are diminishing. The second part of the paper will consider what qualitative features of socio-economic and political mechanisms provide leadership, and how our findings can be used to develop catch-up strategies


happiness index, clustering, Nordic exceptionalism, U.S. lagging behind, collaboration, nearest neighbor method

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