IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/12346.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Happiness Convergence in Transition Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Guriev, Sergei
  • Melnikov, Nikita

Abstract

The "transition happiness gap" has been one of the most robust findings in the life satisfaction literature. Until very recently, scholars using various datasets on life satisfaction have shown that residents of post-communist countries were significantly less satisfied with their lives than their counterparts in non-transition countries (controlling for income and other correlates of life satisfaction). The literature has explained this finding by the great macroeconomic instability of 1990s, by a substantial decrease in the quality and accessibility of public goods, by the major increase in inequality, and by the rapid depreciation of pre-transition human capital. All these factors were expected to subside over time --- at least after the post-Great-Recession recovery. In this paper, we consider two most recent datasets -- the third wave of the Life in Transition Survey (administered in 2015-16) and the 2010-2016 waves of the annual Gallup World Poll. We find that by 2016 the transition happiness gap had closed. This "happiness convergence" has taken place both due to a "happiness recovery" in post-communist countries after the Great Recession and due to a decrease in life satisfaction in comparator countries in recent years. We also find that the convergence in life satisfaction was primarily driven by middle-income young educated individuals, regardless of gender.

Suggested Citation

  • Guriev, Sergei & Melnikov, Nikita, 2017. "Happiness Convergence in Transition Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 12346, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12346
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12346
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peter Sanfey & Utku Teksoz, 2007. "Does transition make you happy?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15, pages 707-731, October.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009. "(Un)happiness in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 143-168, Spring.
    3. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
    4. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
    5. E.Clark, Andrew & Senik, Claudia (ed.), 2014. "Happiness and Economic Growth: Lessons from Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198723653, November.
    6. Easterlin, Richard A., 2009. "Lost in transition: Life satisfaction on the road to capitalism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 130-145, August.
    7. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena & Zilinsky, Jan, 2016. "The happiness gap in Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 108-124.
    8. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gall is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Nikolova, Milena, 2016. "Minding the happiness gap: Political institutions and perceived quality of life in transition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 129-148.
    10. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2014. "Happiness and Economic Growth: Lessons from Developing Countries," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-01109063, HAL.
    11. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Nick Powdthavee & George Ward, 2017. "The key determinants of happiness and misery," Post-Print halshs-01513376, HAL.
    12. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena, 2018. "Communism as the unhappy coming," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 708-721.
    13. Ronald Inglehart & Roberto Foa & Eduard Ponarin & Christian Welzel, 2013. "Understanding the Russian malaise: The collapse and recovery of subjective well-being in post-communist Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 32/SOC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & Matthias Schündeln, 2020. "The Long-Term Effects of Communism in Eastern Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 172-191, Spring.
    3. Maksym Obrizan, 2018. "Quantifying the Gap in Self-Rated Health for Transition Countries Over 1989–2014," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 60(3), pages 388-409, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Adserà, Alicia & Dalla Pozza, Francesca & Guriev, Sergei & Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas & Nikolova, Elena, 2019. "Transition, height and well-being," GLO Discussion Paper Series 404, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Coupe, Tom & Obrizan, Maksym, 2018. "Adolescents’ (un)happiness in transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 858-873.
    7. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena, 2018. "Communism as the unhappy coming," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 708-721.
    8. Vedran Recher, 2022. "History Matters: Life Satisfaction in Transition Countries," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 171-193, January.
    9. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Nikolova, Milena & Popova, Olga, 2021. "Double-edged sword: Persistent effects of Communism on life satisfaction," GLO Discussion Paper Series 927, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    10. Jianhong Qi & Kam Ki Tang & Da Yin & Yong Zhao, 2020. "Remaking China’s Global Image with the Belt and Road Initiative: Is the Jury Out?," Discussion Papers Series 635, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    11. David G. Blanchflower & Carol L. Graham, 2022. "The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: a Critique," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 287-344, May.
    12. Norton, Edward C. & Nizalova, Olena & Murtazashvili, Irina, 2018. "Does past unemployment experience explain the transition happiness gap?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 736-753.
    13. Gokmen, Gunes & Yakovlev, Evgeny, 2018. "War and well-being in transition: Evidence from two natural experiments," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 788-799.
    14. Elizabeth Brainerd, 2021. "Mortality in Russia Since the Fall of the Soviet Union," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 63(4), pages 557-576, December.
    15. Max Deter, 2020. "Are the Losers of Communism the Winners of Capitalism? The Effects of Conformism in the GDR on Transition Success," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1102, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    16. Sisi Yang & Katja Hanewald, 2022. "Life Satisfaction of Middle-Aged and Older Chinese: The Role of Health and Health Insurance," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 160(2), pages 601-624, April.
    17. Maksym Obrizan, 2019. "Violent conflict and unhappiness: evidence from the 2016 ‘Life in Transition' III surve," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(1), pages 192-199.
    18. Ricardo Gonçalves & Peyman Khezr & Flavio Menezes, 2020. "Partial Vertical Ownership with Asymmetric Information," Discussion Papers Series 634, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    19. Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Minasyan, Anna, 2022. "Mining and Mistrust in Government," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1164, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    20. Adsera, Alicia & Dalla Pozza, Francesca & Guriev, Sergei & Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas & Nikolova, Elena, 2019. "Transition from Plan to Market, Height and Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 12658, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Carol Graham, 2005. "The Economics of Happiness," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(3), pages 41-55, July.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Guriev, Sergei & Melnikov, Nikita, 2018. "Happiness convergence in transition countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 683-707.
    2. Nikolova, Milena, 2016. "Minding the happiness gap: Political institutions and perceived quality of life in transition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 129-148.
    3. Ekaterina Skoglund, 2017. "The happiness gap between transition and non-transition countries," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 357-357, May.
    4. Adsera, Alicia & Dalla Pozza, Francesca & Guriev, Sergei & Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas & Nikolova, Elena, 2019. "Transition from plan to market, height and well-being," CEPR Discussion Papers 14027, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Adserà, Alicia & Dalla Pozza, Francesca & Guriev, Sergei & Kleine-Rueschkamp, Lukas & Nikolova, Elena, 2019. "Transition, height and well-being," GLO Discussion Paper Series 404, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Sarracino, Francesco & O'Connor, Kelsey J. & Ono, Hiroshi, 2019. "Making economic growth and well-being compatible: evidence from Japan," MPRA Paper 93010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena & Zilinsky, Jan, 2016. "The happiness gap in Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 108-124.
    8. Kaiser, Caspar F. & Vendrik, Martinus, 2018. "Different versions of the Easterlin Paradox: New evidence for European countries," Research Memorandum 026, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    9. Francesco Sarracino & Kelsey J. O’Connor, 2021. "Economic growth and well-being beyond the Easterlin paradox," Chapters, in: Luigino Bruni & Alessandra Smerilli & Dalila De Rosa (ed.), A Modern Guide to the Economics of Happiness, chapter 9, pages 162-188, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Vedran Recher, 2022. "History Matters: Life Satisfaction in Transition Countries," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 171-193, January.
    11. Stefano Bartolini & Małgorzata Mikucka & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Money, Trust and Happiness in Transition Countries: Evidence from Time Series," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 87-106, January.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura & Switek, Maggie & Sawangfa, Onnicha & Zweig, Jacqueline Smith, 2011. "The Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 5799, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Michal Brzezinski, 2019. "Diagnosing Unhappiness Dynamics: Evidence from Poland and Russia," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 20(7), pages 2291-2327, October.
    16. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Will GDP growth increase happiness in developing countries?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564985, HAL.
    17. Irena Grosfeld & Claudia Senik, 2008. "The Emerging Aversion to Inequality: Evidence from Poland 1992-2005," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp919, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    18. Coupe, Tom & Obrizan, Maksym, 2018. "Adolescents’ (un)happiness in transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 858-873.
    19. Irena Grosfeld & Claudia Senik, 2010. "The emerging aversion to inequality," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26, January.
    20. Selezneva, Ekaterina, 2011. "Surveying transitional experience and subjective well-being: Income, work, family," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 139-157, June.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12346. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.