Does the Election Winner–Loser Gap Extend to Subjective Health and Well-Being?
In this article, Honorata Mazepus, assistant professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, and Dimiter Toshkov, associate professor at the Institute of Public Administration, discuss whether the winner–loser gap extends beyond the political domain to subjective health and well-being as well. The article suggests that winning and losing democratic elections can have much wider-reaching consequences than previously recognized.
- Honorata Mazepus, Dimiter Toshkov
- 03 October 2022
- Read the full article here
Political scientists have studied extensively the gap between winners and losers of democratic elections with regard to satisfaction with democracy. This article asks whether the winner–loser gap extends beyond the political domain to subjective health and well-being as well. Building on insights from biology and coalitional psychology, this article hypothesizes that winning and losing elections could affect one’s outlook on life, happiness, and subjective health. This article comprehensively tests these theoretical propositions with cross-sectional data from the 2012 and 2018 waves of the European Social Survey. This article documents significant gaps between winners and losers with respect to measures of subjective personal well-being. To further probe the causal nature of these winner–loser effects, the article traces changes in well-being following election wins and losses using a panel dataset from the Netherlands, where it finds weaker supportive evidence. Overall, the results suggest that winning and losing democratic elections can have much wider-reaching consequences than previously recognized.