Happiness Convergence in Transition Countries

34 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2017

See all articles by Sergei Guriev

Sergei Guriev

Sciences Po; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Nikita Melnikov

Princeton University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 27, 2017

Abstract

The “transition happiness gap” has been one of the most robust findings in the life satisfaction literature. Until very recently, scholars using various datasets on life satisfaction have shown that residents of post-communist countries were significantly less satisfied with their lives than their counterparts in non-transition countries (controlling for income and other correlates of life satisfaction). The literature has explained this finding by the great macroeconomic instability of 1990s, by a substantial decrease in the quality and accessibility of public goods, by the major increase in inequality, and by the rapid depreciation of pre-transition human capital. All these factors were expected to subside over time — at least after the post-Great-Recession recovery. In this paper, we consider two most recent datasets — the third wave of the Life in Transition Survey (administered in 2015-16) and the 2010-2016 waves of the annual Gallup World Poll. We find that by 2016 the transition happiness gap had closed. This “happiness convergence” has taken place both due to a “happiness recovery” in post-communist countries after the Great Recession and due to a decrease in life satisfaction in comparator countries in recent years. We also find that the convergence in life satisfaction was primarily driven by middle-income young educated individuals, regardless of gender.

Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Happiness, Transition, Convergence

JEL Classification: I30, I31, P20, P30

Suggested Citation

Guriev, Sergei and Melnikov, Nikita, Happiness Convergence in Transition Countries (September 27, 2017). EBRD Working Paper No. 204, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044935 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3044935

Sergei Guriev

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337
France

HOME PAGE: http://econ.sciences-po.fr/staff/sergei-guriev

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Nikita Melnikov (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
81
Abstract Views
806
rank
407,837
PlumX Metrics