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Does transition make you happy?1


  • Peter Sanfey
  • Utku Teksoz


This paper analyses life satisfaction in transition countries using evidence from the World Values Survey. The paper demonstrates that individuals in transition economies on average record lower values of self‐reported satisfaction with life compared with those in non‐transition countries. A comparison across time for a smaller sample of countries shows that life satisfaction levels have returned close to pre‐transition levels in most cases, after a dip in the mid‐1990s. The socio‐economic groups that exhibit relatively higher levels of happiness include students, people with higher levels of education and those on higher incomes. Happiness declines with age until the early‐50s and is slow to recover afterwards. Self‐employed people in transition countries show a level of satisfaction as high as, or higher than, full‐time employees, in contrast to evidence from non‐transition countries. In addition, satisfaction levels are highest in those countries where standards of economic governance are most advanced and where inequality is lower.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Sanfey & Utku Teksoz, 2007. "Does transition make you happy?1," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15(4), pages 707-731, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:15:y:2007:i:4:p:707-731
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0351.2007.00309.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Sergei Guriev & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009. "(Un)happiness in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 143-168, Spring.
    2. Grosfeld, Irena & Senik, Claudia, 2008. "The Emerging Aversion to Inequality. Evidence from Poland 1992-2005," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0805, CEPREMAP.
    3. Lena Malesevic Perovic, 2010. "Life Satisfaction in Croatia," Croatian Economic Survey, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, vol. 12(1), pages 45-81, April.
    4. Popova, Olga, 2014. "Can religion insure against aggregate shocks to happiness? The case of transition countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 804-818.
    5. Maksym Obrizan, 2020. "Transition welfare gaps: One closed, another to follow?," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 28(4), pages 621-635, October.
    6. Chiara Amini & Elodie Douarin, 0. "Corruption and Life Satisfaction in Transition: Is Corruption a Social Norm in Eastern Europe?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-44.
    7. Jiří Večerník, 2014. "Subjektivní blahobyt v České republice a střední Evropě: makro- a mikro-determinanty [Subjective Well-Being in the Czech Republic and Central Europe: Macro- and Micro-Determinants]," Politická ekonomie, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2014(2), pages 249-269.
    8. Nikolova, Elena & Sanfey, Peter, 2016. "How much should we trust life satisfaction data? Evidence from the Life in Transition Survey," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 720-731.
    9. Chiara Amini & Elodie Douarin, 2020. "Corruption and Life Satisfaction in Transition: Is Corruption a Social Norm in Eastern Europe?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 151(2), pages 723-766, September.

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