IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Minding the Happiness Gap: Political Institutions and Perceived Quality of Life in Transition

Listed author(s):
  • Nikolova, Milena

    ()

    (IZA)

Registered author(s):

    Along with political and economic changes, the fall of the socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union brought about fundamental institutional reforms. Several studies have examined the causes of the increasing unhappiness which accompanied the transition process, including deteriorating public goods, rising inequality, income volatility, stagnating labor market conditions, and changing norms. Yet, few papers have sought explanations for the life satisfaction differentials between transition and non-transition economies. In this paper, I specifically examine the life satisfaction gap between post-socialist and advanced countries and the role of political institutions in explaining this gap. My results imply that both macroeconomic factors and the rule of law explain the overall life satisfaction differential between the advanced and transition societies. The rule of law had an additional role of reducing the happiness gap in the 1990s and may have even reversed it in the post-crisis years. As institutions and macroeconomic conditions continue to improve, post-socialist countries may complete their transformation processes and achieve quality of life levels comparable with those in the West.

    If 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.

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp9484.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 9484.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 41 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2015
    Publication status: published in: European Journal of Political Economy [Online]
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9484
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

    Phone: +49 228 3894 223
    Fax: +49 228 3894 180
    Web page: http://www.iza.org

    Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
    Email:


    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:

    as
    in new window


    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. Welsch, Heinz, 2007. "Environmental welfare analysis: A life satisfaction approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 544-551, May.
    3. John Hudson, 2006. "Institutional Trust and Subjective Well-Being across the EU," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 43-62, 02.
    4. Gehring, Kai, 2013. "Who Benefits from Economic Freedom? Unraveling the Effect of Economic Freedom on Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 74-90.
    5. Sergei Guriev & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009. "(Un)happiness in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 143-168, Spring.
    6. Golinelli, Roberto & Rovelli, Riccardo, 2013. "Did growth and reforms increase citizens' support for the transition?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 112-137.
    7. Bjørnskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina A.V., 2010. "Formal institutions and subjective well-being: Revisiting the cross-country evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 419-430, December.
    8. AlÌcia Adserý, 2003. "Are You Being Served? Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 445-490, October.
    9. 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.
    10. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. John F. Helliwell & Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh, 2010. "Viewpoint: Measuring and understanding subjective well-being," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(3), pages 729-753, August.
    14. Jan Delhey, 2001. "The Prospects of Catching up for New EU Members Lessons for the Accession Countries to the European Union from Previous Enlargements," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 205-231, November.
    15. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Ed Diener & Louis Tay & Cody Xuereb, 2013. "The objective benefits of subjective well-being," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51669, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 173-194, February.
    17. Bruno Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(3), pages 377-377, September.
    18. Askarov, Zohid & Doucouliagos, Hristos, 2015. "Aid and institutions in transition economies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 55-70.
    19. Rok Spruk & Aleskandar Kešeljević, 2016. "Institutional Origins of Subjective Well-Being: Estimating the Effects of Economic Freedom on National Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 659-712, April.
    20. 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.
    21. Martin Rode, 2013. "Do Good Institutions Make Citizens Happy, or Do Happy Citizens Build Better Institutions?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 1479-1505, October.
    22. Anthony Shorrocks, 2013. "Decomposition procedures for distributional analysis: a unified framework based on the Shapley value," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(1), pages 99-126, March.
    23. Djankov, Simeon & Nikolova, Elena & Zilinsky, Jan, 2016. "The happiness gap in Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 108-124.
    24. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2007. "Is It Culture or Democracy? The Impact of Democracy and Culture on Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 82(3), pages 505-526, July.
    25. Fidrmuc, Jan & Gërxhani, Klarita, 2008. "Mind the gap! Social capital, East and West," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 264-286, June.
    26. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Ed Diener & Louis Tay & Cody Xuereb, 2013. "The Objective Benefits of Subjective Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1236, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    27. Welsch, Heinz, 2006. "Environment and happiness: Valuation of air pollution using life satisfaction data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 801-813, July.
    28. 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.
    29. Graafland, J.J. & Compen, B., 2012. "Economic Freedom and Life Satisfaction : A Cross Country Analysis," Discussion Paper 2012-038, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    30. Heinz Welsch, 2008. "The welfare costs of corruption," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(14), pages 1839-1849.
    31. Gruen, Carola & Klasen, Stephan, 2012. "Has transition improved well-being?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 11-30.
    32. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
    33. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
    34. Laura Langbein & Stephen Knack, 2010. "The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Six, One, or None?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 350-370.
    35. Nattavudh Powdthavee & Paul Dolan, Robert Metcalfe, 2008. "Electing Happiness: Does Happiness Effect Voting and do Elections Affect Happiness," Discussion Papers 08/30, Department of Economics, University of York.
    36. Dawson, John W, 1998. "Institutions, Investment, and Growth: New Cross-Country and Panel Data Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 603-619, October.
    37. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    38. 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.
    39. Lim, Chaeyoon & Putnam, Robert David, 2010. "Religion, Social Networks, and Life Satisfaction," Scholarly Articles 11105537, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    40. Welsch, Heinz, 2002. "Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 473-494.
    41. Menard, Scott, 2004. "Six Approaches to Calculating Standardized Logistic Regression Coefficients," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 58, pages 218-223, August.
    42. Graham, Carol & Nikolova, Milena, 2015. "Bentham or Aristotle in the Development Process? An Empirical Investigation of Capabilities and Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 163-179.
    43. John Helliwell & Haifang Huang & Shun Wang, 2014. "Social Capital and Well-Being in Times of Crisis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 145-162, February.
    44. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9484. 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: (Mark Fallak)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.