Happiness convergence in transition countries

By Sergei  Guriev

Working Paper 204

A new EBRD Working Paper (number 204)

Are people in post-communist countries still less satisfied with their lives than those in non-transition comparator countries? Using data from the third round of the Life in Transition Survey (LiTS) and the 2010-16 waves of the annual Gallup World Poll, this paper finds that the “transition happiness gap”  has closed.  This convergence in life satisfaction is due to both a “happiness recovery” in post-communist countries after the Great Recession and a decrease in life satisfaction in comparator countries in recent years. Our analysis also suggests that the convergence was primarily driven by young, educated individuals with average income, regardless of gender.

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