39 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 9, 2015
Citizens in Eastern Europe are less satisfied with life than their peers in other countries. This happiness gap has persisted over time, despite predictions to the contrary by earlier scholars. It holds after controlling for a variety of covariates, such as the standard of living, life expectancy and Eastern Orthodox religion. Armed with a battery of surveys from the early 1990s to 2014, we argue that the happiness gap is explained by how citizens in post-communist countries perceive their governments. Eastern Europeans link their life satisfaction to higher perceived corruption and weaker government performance. Our results suggest that the transition from central planning is still incomplete, at least in the psychology of people.
Keywords: happiness, corruption, Eastern Europe
JEL Classification: D73, I30, P35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Djankov, Simeon and Nikolova, Elena and Zilinsky, Jan, The Happiness Gap in Eastern Europe (September 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2658136 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2658136