Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Sean Richey

Second Advisor

Sarah Gerson

Third Advisor

Toby Bolson


Scholars of economics, sociology, political science, and social psychology have attempted to define and quantify quality of life in order to make meaningful observations of society and to formulate optimal policy prescriptions. Unfortunately few if any of these attempts have systematically measured or used quality of life in a quantitative evaluation of data. In what follows I develop an empirically valid metric for measuring quality of life, establish the role of quality of life in determining societal and political outcomes, and explore what predicts higher quality of life to provide insight to about how quality of life can be improved.