"A cross-regional econometric analysis is conducted suggesting that institutional factors in the form of direct democracy (via initiatives and referenda) and of federal structure (local autonomy) systematically and sizeably raise self-reported individual well-being. This positive effect can be attributed to political outcomes closer to voters preferences as well as to the procedural utility of political participation. Moreover, the results of ""standard"" microeconometric well-being functions previously published are supported. Unemployment among economic variables and bad health among demographic variables have a strongly depressing effect on happiness. Income only significantly raises happiness for higher income groups."