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.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
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-CWA-2011-11-21 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-EUR-2011-11-21 (Microeconomic European Issues)
- NEP-HAP-2011-11-21 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-TRA-2011-11-21 (Transition Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, 2012.
"The economic effects of federalism and decentralization—a cross-country assessment,"
Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 229-254, April.
- Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Federalism and Decentralization - A Cross-Country Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2766, CESifo Group Munich.
- Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Federalism and Decentralization – A Cross-Country Assessment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200905, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
- 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.
- Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542.
- Heinz Welsch, 2008. "The welfare costs of corruption," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(14), pages 1839-1849.
- Luis Diaz-Serrano & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2011.
"Decentralization, happiness and the perception of institutions,"
2011-07, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
- Diaz-Serrano, Luis & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2011. "Decentralization, Happiness and the Perception of Institutions," IZA Discussion Papers 5647, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Diaz-Serrano, Luis & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2011. "Decentralization, Happiness, and the Perception of Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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.
- 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.
- DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001.
"Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness,"
ZEI Working Papers
B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
- 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.
- Sergei Guriev & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009.
"(Un)happiness in Transition,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 143-68, Spring.
- Kaisa Kotakorpi & Jani-Petri Laamanen, 2010.
"Welfare State and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Public Health Care,"
London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(307), pages 565-583, 07.
- 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.
- Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006.
"Knowing what is good for you: Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the "objective good","
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics),
Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 285-307, April.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2004. "Knowing what is good for you. Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the “objective good”," Others 0410010, EconWPA.
- 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.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Knowing what is good for you. Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the 'objective good'," Others 0502002, EconWPA.
- Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Knowing what is good for you. Empirical analysis of personal preferences and the “objective good”," Others 0502008, EconWPA.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (IMDEA RePEc Maintainer).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.