A government is a group of people given a mandate by the citizens to exercise their sovereign powers on their behalf and maintain law and order within a country’s borders. Every country in the world has a form of government that represents the interests of its people (Weale, 2019). The powers of the governments are defined by the country’s respective constitutions and governed by the relevant laws. The laws define the engagements between the people and their government’s machinery (Weale, 2019). According to Jones (2018), all the governments can be categorized in a continuum with oppressive being on one end and while Laissez-faire governments are on the other end while all other types lie within the continuum. The type of government determines the interactions of people between themselves, the government, and external entities. Trust could be inhibited in oppressive regimes and people live in fear of being sold out as traitors by their friends and neighbors, this would also make the happiness index to take a hit.
Covid-19 has exposed brought to a new perspective on citizens’ trust with the people. Some governments were able to control the pandemic because citizens cooperated and trusted their directives while others did not; while one may assume that people from western democratic governments would be the ones to trust their governments and comply, this was not the case as it was in eastern communist states where high cooperation and trust in government was experienced (Stasavage, 2020). This study is aimed at establishing how government actions could affect the happiness index and trust levels of their citizens. The lessons from Covid-19 have shown it is important for governments to put in place measures to make sure that the citizen trusts the government and are happy as this could mean the difference between success and failure in containing happiness and ensuring that the people are productive and mental health after lockdowns.
Many researchers have tackled the issues of forms of government, happiness index, happiness indices, trust in governments, and how citizens reacted to their government’s Covid-19 directive(s). According to the oxford dictionary (2019), a government is a group of people who has the responsibility of controlling a country’s affairs. Rothstein, (2009), claims that the government derives its mandate from its citizens that is why even in dictatorships elections are carried out on regular basis. As already established herein, all forms of governments can be categorized in a continuum with oppressive being on one end and while Laissez-faire governments are on the other end while all other types lie within the continuum and their positions are determined by the strictness and how much the laws serve the interests of the citizens, or the ruling class (Jones, 2018). The traditional forms of government include but are not limited to; Absolute Monarchies, Constitutional Monarchies, Representative Democracies, Direct democracies, and Dictatorships.
According to Sohrabi et al. (2020), Covid 19, a member of the coronavirus family, was first documented in Wuhan China in December of 2019. The disease slowly spread across the world and many countries struggled to contain the disease and by October of 2020, it was in all inhabited continents, and over 4.5 million cases recorded (Stasavage, 2020). The disease caused havoc among the populations across the globe. Governments across the world instituted measures to curb the deadly disease with varying degrees of success. Some countries have not only managed to keep the infection rates low but also managed to avoid deaths among the infected. As indicated herein, the success was higher in communist countries than it was in democratic western countries (Stasavage, 2020). The US was worst hit due to the failure of its measures, despite the country presenting itself as a pinnacle for democracy – ironic. The same trend was seen in democratic countries in the west (Stasavage, 2020). This implies that citizens from countries from the oppressive end of the continuum hold more trust in the government compared to the democratic countries (Hamm, Smidt & Mayer, 2019). Hamn, Smidt & Meyer (2019) however warns that the high trust in oppressive regimes is motivated by fear of repercussions of not ascribing to the regimes directives. It is, therefore, recommended that further research on the topic is recommended.
Ott (2011), defines he happiness index of a population as the result calculated by using sampled weights and is the rate of respondents in the research whose answer is ‘very happy’ or ‘quite happy’ added and those who respond ‘not very happy’ and ‘not happy at all’ subtracted and 100 added. During Covid 19, many governments instituted lockdown measures (Stasavage, 2020). Citizens were expected to stay indoors and only get out to get essential services such as to get water, food, and offer essential services such as fast responders. The happiness index emerged as an important factor as it helped the government establish how the citizens were performing mentally (Frijters et al., 2020). Also, happy citizens would be able to follow the guidelines and be committed to resuming a productive life after the pandemic.
Ott (2011) concluded that governments need to ensure that the citizens are happy because it positively correlates with the positive economic performance of countries. Covid 19 saw the happiness index in most countries take a hit (Stasavage, 2020). The citizens had to stay in their homes all day long and do nothing during the day and at night. Those citizens who trusted that their government was committed to avoiding the spread of the virus and that the measures were aimed at the best interests of society were happy to stay at home. Research indicates that citizens whose governments’ falls on the oppressive end of the continuum trusted their governments as opposed to those from individualistic democratic states (Stasavage, 2020). The findings raise the question if open democratic governments are less trusted by their citizens and citizens are unhappy. And if so, why? And if there is something we can do to improve on this undesired characteristic.
This study aims to connect the happiness of citizens with the form of government in their country. It further attempts to establish the relationship between the trust of governments by citizens and how they reacted and performed during the Covid 19. The result could help in making sure that in the future, should a pandemic of the same nature as Covid 19 rises, they will be able to tackle them appropriately and ensure the happiness of citizens during and after the pandemic. Also, it will help governments establish trust with its citizens and enjoy the identified benefits.
The hypothesis of the paper are;
H1: Trust in government by citizens in a country is negatively correlated with Stress of the Citizens
IV: Trust in government
H2: Trust in Government by citizens and happiness index of the citizens are positively correlated
IV: Trust in government
DV: Happiness Index
H3: The form of government in a country determines if citizens trust the government or not
IV: Form of Government
The Anti-hypothesis (null hypothesis) to be tested from each of the hypothesis are
H01: Trust in government in a country and stress are positively correlated
H02: Trust in government by citizens and happiness index of the citizens are negatively correlated
H03: The form of governments in a country do not determine if the citizens trust the government or not
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