Briefly, proportional representation is a system whereby the number of representatives selected for parliament is proportional to the amount of people who voted for that party. First past the post is a constituency based system whereby members of parliament are selected based on a vote taken in some geographical location; in this system a single MP runs for a particular area. If you live in the UK or USA then you are under first past the post.
Read more on FPTP vs PR
I made a reasonable attempt to make sure as much data as possible could be linked to either of these systems although a significant number of countries did not take part in the world happiness report and so were ignored. The means of the happiness scores were compared in this analysis.
Findings: PR had an 11.56% higher happiness rating than FPTP and 4.8% higher than all countries combined.
|Happiness of different electoral systems (NOTE: Non-zeroed graph! Pay attention to scale - I can't figure out how to fix it and feel kind of sick anyway so...)|
Countries with FPTP include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and India
Countries with PR include Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Austria and Russia
Other notable countries include Germany who have their own system
So what does this say? It seems to suggest that countries with proportional representation systems are more likely to be happy. Certainly this is a correlation and not a causation - although a plausible cause is that people who feel they are adequately represented in government are more likely to be happy although there are likely to be many confounding factors including the country's history. It seems to be the case that Proportional Representation tends towards creating coalition governments who tend to have to come to consensus based policies rather than guided by ideology or party bias.
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