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Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism

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  • Richard A. Easterlin

Abstract

In the transition from socialism to capitalism in Eastern Europe life satisfaction has followed the V-shaped pattern of GDP but failed to recover commensurately. In general, increased satisfaction with material living levels has occurred at the expense of decreased satisfaction with work, health, and family life. Disparities in life satisfaction have increased markedly with those hardest hit being the less educated and persons over age 30; women and men have suffered about equally. The asymmetric response of life satisfaction to decreases in GDP in transition countries and increases in GDP in non-transition countries is arguably due to loss aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard A. Easterlin, 2008. "Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 94, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp94
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.81744.de/diw_sp0094.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Grosfeld, Irena & Senik, Claudia, 2008. "The Emerging Aversion to Inequality. Evidence from Poland 1992-2005," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0805, CEPREMAP.
    2. Irena Grosfeld & Claudia Senik, 2009. "The emerging aversion to inequality - Evidence from long subjective data," Working Papers halshs-00586788, HAL.
    3. Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni, 2013. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(2), pages 113-155, June.
    4. 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.
    5. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2010. "The Rural-Urban Divide in China: Income but Not Happiness?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 506-534.
    6. Tridico, Pasquale, 2013. "The stage of development among former communist economies: Social capital, the middle class and democracy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 47-58.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; transition; capitalism; socialism; loss aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • P27 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Performance and Prospects
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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