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Transition is over, wait to see the benefits: a comparative evaluation of the effects of post-communist transition on life satisfaction

postat 17 aug. 2014, 23:29 de Sergiu Baltatescu

Sergiu Bălţătescu

Bălţătescu, Sergiu. (2006, 5-7 May). Transition is over, wait to see the benefits: a comparative evaluation of the effects of post-communist transition on life satisfaction. Paper presented at the ‘The End of Transitions? Central and Eastern European Countries in Comparative Perspective’, Central European University, Budapest.

Abstract: Life satisfaction, an overall evaluation of one’s life, is increasingly used as an indicator to guide social policy and to evaluate social change. This measure gives a global assessment of the societal changes effects of transition on average people, filtered through their attitudes and experience. The present paper focuses on effects of transition in eleven post-communist countries that already joined or are expected to join soon EU (including East Germany), using a comparative approach. The purpose is manifold: to compare life satisfaction levels at the beginning (1990-1991), in the middle (1996-1997) and towards the end of the transition process (2004-2005), to evaluate recent trends. Main data sources used were World Database of Happiness, Candidate Countries Eurobarometer (2001-2004), and standard Eurobarometers. Contrary to the theory of effects of “transition with different speeds”, patterns of country differences were generally maintained through all this period. The common trend is V-shaped, with a minimum in 1996-1997, supposedly coinciding with or closed to the time when transition crisis hurt most. Only recently national averages seem to return to the initial levels. Close-to-date evolutions in life satisfaction are very slow, almost stagnant, showing that effects of successful transition on average people’s lives are still waited.

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