IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/journl/hal-03391926.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Happiness Convergence in Transition Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Sergei Guriev

    (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Nikita Melnikov

    (State University Higher School of Economics)

Abstract

The "transition happiness gap" has been one of the most robust findings in the literature on life satisfaction. Until very recently, scholars using various datasets 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 socio-economic characteristics). The literature has explained this finding by the great macroeconomic instability of the 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 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

  • Sergei Guriev & Nikita Melnikov, 2018. "Happiness Convergence in Transition Countries," Post-Print hal-03391926, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03391926
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2018.07.003
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03391926
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03391926/document
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jce.2018.07.003?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    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. 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.
    3. Sergei Guriev & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009. "(Un)happiness in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 143-168, Spring.
    4. E.Clark, Andrew & Senik, Claudia (ed.), 2014. "Happiness and Economic Growth: Lessons from Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198723653, November.
    5. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena & Zilinsky, Jan, 2016. "The happiness gap in Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 108-124.
    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. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Nick Powdthavee & George Ward, 2017. "The key determinants of happiness and misery," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-01513376, HAL.
    8. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena, 2018. "Communism as the unhappy coming," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 708-721.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gall is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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.
    13. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2014. "Happiness and Economic Growth: Lessons from Developing Countries," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-01109063, HAL.
    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. Norton, Edward C. & Nizalova, Olena & Murtazashvili, Irina, 2018. "Does past unemployment experience explain the transition happiness gap?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1104-1121.
    2. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena, 2018. "Communism as the unhappy coming," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 708-721.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    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.
    10. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Nikolova, Milena & Popova, Olga, 2021. "Double-Edged Sword: Persistent Effects of Communism on Life Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 14712, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Coupe, Tom & Obrizan, Maksym, 2018. "Adolescents’ (un)happiness in transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 858-873.
    12. 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).
    13. 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.
    14. Ricardo Gonçalves & Peyman Khezr & Flavio Menezes, 2020. "Partial Vertical Ownership with Asymmetric Information," Discussion Papers Series 634, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    15. Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Minasyan, Anna, 2022. "Mining and Mistrust in Government," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1164, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    16. 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).
    17. Vedran Recher, 2022. "History Matters: Life Satisfaction in Transition Countries," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 171-193, January.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.

    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, Maarten C.M., 2018. "Different Versions of the Easterlin Paradox: New Evidence for European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 11994, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    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. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Vedran Recher, 2022. "History Matters: Life Satisfaction in Transition Countries," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 171-193, January.
    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. 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.
    16. Coupe, Tom & Obrizan, Maksym, 2018. "Adolescents’ (un)happiness in transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 858-873.
    17. 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.
    18. Tobias Pfaff & Johannes Hirata, 2013. "Testing the Easterlin Hypothesis with Panel Data: The Dynamic Relationship between Life Satisfaction and Economic Growth in Germany and the UK," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 554, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    19. Pfaff, Tobias & Hirata, Johannes, 2013. "Testing the Easterlin hypothesis with panel data: The dynamic relationship between life satisfaction and economic growth in Germany and in the UK," CIW Discussion Papers 4/2013, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    20. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Will GDP growth increase happiness in developing countries?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564985, HAL.

    More about this item

    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:hal:journl:hal-03391926. 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://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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: CCSD (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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.