Happiness and Socio-Economic Transformations in the Russian Federation
SOCIAL POLICY AND HAPPINESS IN EUROPE, Bent Greve, ed., Edward Elgar, 2010
33 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2009 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019
Date Written: September 14, 2009
This chapter examines the deep relationship existent between socio-economic transformation, welfare state restructuring and happiness, in the specific context of the Russian transition, highlighting not only the psychological repercussions of the economic, political and social change that has occurred since 1989, but also its consequences for public and social policies. The chapter aims to find a response to the following key questions: What is the role of the Russian welfare state in the reduction of unhappiness? Can welfare institutions play a role at all? Or does happiness simply remains a matter confined to the private sphere of the individual? As it will be shown, the transition from communism to capitalism has affected different social groups in different ways resulting in clear winners and losers of transition. The impact to the level of happiness of citizens has, as a result, been different. Citizens who have suffered more from the restructuring of the economy (such as those who have lost their job or were employed in non-strategic state-owned enterprises) have not simply been the ones more vulnerable to poverty, income inequality and social exclusion, but are also the ones more likely to live an unhappy life. Public and social policies can, in this context, do much to increase the quality of life of Russian citizens.
Firstly, public and social policies can help individuals to fulfill their personal aspirations, facilitating their entrance in the labour market. Secondly, public and social policies can help to improve the performance of the economy by increasing the human capital of the citizens, and, thus, fostering the adaptation of the individuals’ obsolete skills to the new requirements of post-industrial and knowledge-based society. Thirdly, public and social policies can also play an important stabilizing function helping to consolidate the democratic institutions recently established.
Keywords: Russian Federation, Happiness, Social Policy, Socio-Economic Transformations, Post-Communist Countries, Welfare State Transformations
JEL Classification: P26, P30, P51, O10, N30, J18, D61, D31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation