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Can policy make us happier? Individual characteristics, socio-economic factors and life satisfaction in Central and Eastern Europe

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  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose
  • Kristina Maslauskaite

Abstract

Rapid economic convergence in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries has not been matched by a similarly rapid increase in life satisfaction. This paper sets out to address this conundrum, by looking at the individual and macro-level determinants of individual life satisfaction in 10 CEE countries. The results highlight that macroeconomic and institutional differences are the key factors behind the lack of convergence in life satisfaction. On the macroeconomic side, Gross Domestic Product growth is still a source of increasing well-being, but the happiness bonus associated with it is becoming smaller. The different levels of individual happiness in CEE are therefore mostly determined by institutional factors such as corruption, government spending and decentralization. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge Political Economy Society in its journal Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society.

Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 77-96

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cjrecs:v:5:y:2011:i:1:p:77-96

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  1. Paul Frijters & Tony Beatton, 2008. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," NCER Working Paper Series 26, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  2. Jani-Petri Laamanen & Kaisa Kotakorpi, 2007. "Welfare State and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Public Health Care," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-053/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Knowing what is good for you: Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the 'objective good'," CASE Papers 094, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  4. Jan Ott, 2010. "Good Governance and Happiness in Nations: Technical Quality Precedes Democracy and Quality Beats Size," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 353-368, June.
  5. Guriev, Sergei & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2009. "(Un)Happiness in Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 7258, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Díaz Serrano, Lluís & Rodríguez Pose, Andrés, 2011. "Decentralization, happiness and the perception of institutions," Working Papers 2072/151812, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
  7. Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Federalism and Decentralization - A Cross-Country Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2766, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  9. Heinz Welsch, 2008. "The welfare costs of corruption," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(14), pages 1839-1849.
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