“Public goods” are pretty important to Americans. Baylor University researchers have uncovered that Americans are happier in states where governments spend more on things like libraries, parks, highways, natural resources, and police protection. The scientists analyzed data on respondents’ self–reported levels of happiness from 1976 to 2006 from the General Social Survey. Researcher Dr. Patrick Flavin explains that public goods make communities “more livable, with more amenities,” and adds, “If roads are completed and kept up so that people aren’t stuck in traffic, they have more time to do things they enjoy doing. Large parks are social spaces, and one clear finding of happiness studies is that people who are more socially connected tend to be happier.” Another benefit of usable public goods: home value generally increases.