Happiness, Religion and Economic Transition

12 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2013

See all articles by Alin I. Florea

Alin I. Florea

Rhodes College

Steven B. Caudill

Auburn University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2014


In an important paper, Lelkes (2006) examines the impact of transition on happiness in Hungary using two Hungarian household survey datasets for the years 1992 and 1998. In particular, Lelkes examines the impact of religious behaviour on self‐reported well‐being. Using ordered logit models, Lelkes estimates and presents the marginal effect associated with membership in the highest ‘fully satisfied’ category, and finds that religious people have a consistently higher probability of being ‘fully satisfied’ than others. This effect is stable in the 1992 and 1998 samples. The goal of this article is to expand and extend Lelkes' earlier work in several ways. First, we use a different dataset. Second, we examine the effect of religious behaviour on well‐being after transition not only for Hungary, but also for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Third, unlike Lelkes, we have access to information indicating whether respondents report being financially better off after transition. With a different dataset, additional country samples, and a measure of financial well‐being, we are able to confirm and extend Lelkes' finding that religious behaviour is associated with improved well‐being after transition in all countries we examine.

Keywords: Well‐being, happiness, religion

Suggested Citation

Florea, Alin I. and Caudill, Steven B., Happiness, Religion and Economic Transition (January 2014). Economics of Transition, Vol. 22, Issue 1, pp. 1-12, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2367577 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecot.12030

Alin I. Florea (Contact Author)

Rhodes College ( email )

2000 N. Parkway
Memphis, TN 38112
United States

Steven B. Caudill

Auburn University - Department of Economics ( email )

415 W. Magnolia
Auburn, AL 36849-5242
United States
334-844-2907 (Phone)

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