Can policy make us happier? Individual characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and life satisfaction in Central and Eastern Europe
AbstractIn the last decade, Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have witnessed a rapid economic convergence vis-à-vis Western Europe. However, this rapid growth has not been matched by a similarly rapid increase in life satisfaction, which has remained low in the European context. This paper sets out to address this conundrum, by looking at the individual and macro-level determinants of individual life satisfaction in ten CEE countries. The results highlight that while Central and Eastern Europeans share the same individual determinants of happiness as people in the West (despite some significant cross-country variation), macroeconomic and institutional differences are the key factors behind the lack of convergence in life satisfaction. On the macroeconomic side, GDP 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 decentralisation, making policies aimed at enhancing institutional quality capable of bringing about substantial improvements in the overall life satisfaction of the people in the region.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2011-19.
Date of creation: 10 Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Cambridge Journal of Regions Economics and Society 5(1), March 2012: 77-96
Happiness; Convergence; Easterlin paradox; Institutions; Corruption; Decentralisation; Central and Eastern Europe;
Other versions of this item:
- Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Kristina Maslauskaite, 2011. "Can policy make us happier? Individual characteristics, socio-economic factors and life satisfaction in Central and Eastern Europe," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 5(1), pages 77-96.
- Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Kristina Maslauskaite, 2011. "Can policy make us happier? Individual characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and life satisfaction in Central and Eastern Europe," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 22, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
- I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
- P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-11-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-EUR-2011-11-21 (Microeconomic European Issues)
- NEP-HAP-2011-11-21 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-TRA-2011-11-21 (Transition Economics)
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