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Growth, Income Distribution, And well-Being In Transition Countries


  • Grün, Carola
  • Klasen, Stephan


In this paper we use several well-being measures that combine average income with a measure of inequality to undertake international and intertemporal well-being comparisons in transition countries. Our well-being measures drastically change the impression of levels and changes in well-being from a traditional reliance on income measures. They also significantly affect the ranking of countries, when compared to rankings based on real incomes. Due to low inequality and moderate income levels, socialist countries enjoyed relatively high levels of economic well-being. In the transition process, rising inequality and falling incomes have led to a dramatic decline in well-being in many transition countries, and a corresponding worsening in rank when compared to other countries. There is great variance in the income and inequality performance of transition countries. We find a close correlation between income losses and inequality increases suggesting the ability of appropriate policies to reduce the income losses and reduce rising inequality. While the political dimension of transformation remains largely successful, our indicators suggest that most transition countries have yet to reach the level of economic well-being enjoyed in the late 1980s.

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  • Grün, Carola & Klasen, Stephan, 2000. "Growth, Income Distribution, And well-Being In Transition Countries," Discussion Papers in Economics 26, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:26

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    Cited by:

    1. Simona Šarotar Žižek & Matjaž Mulej & Sonja Treven, 2010. "Requisite Holism Of Individuals As A Precondition For The Humankind’S Way Out From The 2008- Crisis," Analele Stiintifice ale Universitatii "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" din Iasi - Stiinte Economice, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 57, pages 399-419, november.
    2. Rolf Maier, 2005. "Exchange Rate Regimes and Pro-Poor Growth," International Finance 0504008, EconWPA.
    3. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Stephan Klasen & Konstantin M. Wacker, 2016. "There is poverty convergence," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp213, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    4. Rolf Maier, 2005. "External Debt and Pro-Poor Growth," Macroeconomics 0504031, EconWPA.
    5. 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.
    6. Carola Grün & Stephan Klasen, 2003. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Well-Being: Comparisons across Space and Time," CESifo Working Paper Series 837, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Maier, Rolf, 2005. "External Debt and Pro-Poor Growth," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 23, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    8. Jens Holscher & Cristiano Perugini & Fabrizio Pompei, 2011. "Wage inequality, labour market flexibility and duality in Eastern and Western Europe," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(3), pages 271-310.
    9. David Aristei & Cristiano Perugini, 2014. "Speed and Sequencing of Transition Reforms and Income Inequality: A Panel Data Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(3), pages 542-570, September.
    10. Molnár, György & Kapitány, Zsuzsa, 2006. "Mobilitás, bizonytalanság és szubjektív jóllét Magyarországon
      [Mobility, uncertainty and subjective welfare in Hungary]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(10), pages 845-872.
    11. Gruen, Carola & Klasen, Stephan, 2012. "Has transition improved well-being?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 11-30.
    12. Hazans, Mihails, 2002. "Social returns to commuting in the Baltic states," ERSA conference papers ersa02p232, European Regional Science Association.
    13. Fardmanesh, Mohsen & Tan, Li, 2003. "Wage and price control policies in transition economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 173-200, February.
    14. Nathalie Scholl & Stephan Klasen, 2016. "Re-estimating the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 205, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    15. Laila Porras, 2010. "Labour Market Trends during Post-Socialist Transformation: The Cases of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 4, December.
    16. Keane, Michael & Prasad, Eswar, 2001. "Social Transfers and Inequality During the Polish Transition," MPRA Paper 54326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Hazans, Mihails, 2003. "Commuting in the Baltic States: Patterns, determinants and gains," ZEI Working Papers B 02-2003, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    18. Christoph Bühler, 2003. "Additional work, family agriculture, and the birth of a first or a second child in Russia at the beginning of the 1990s," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-012, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    19. Aristei, David & Perugini, Cristiano, 2012. "Inequality and reforms in transition countries," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 2-10.
    20. Gul, Adnan, 2008. "Is external debt an effective way of bringing economic reforms?," MPRA Paper 10979, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Miriam Frey, 2016. "Income Inequality Effects of Ukraine’s Trade Liberalization with the EU. Are there 'two Ukraines'?," EcoMod2016 9664, EcoMod.

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