Material Well-being and Happiness in Transition Countries

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The purpose of this paper is to further the research of the connection between material well-being and happiness in transition economies. We analyzed panel data obtained from the World Database of Happiness and Eurostat. Our results indicate that out of all the major macroeconomic variables (GDP, employment, inflation, taxes etc.), the most significant (and the only stable) predictor of changes in happiness in transition countries is the level of employment. The results are consistent with a hypothesis of a still prevalent “socialist mentality” in the analyzed sample of countries which are all formerly socialist economies that typically place high (or full) employment as the highest economic priority (as opposed to GDP growth, low inflation etc.). Our results differ from the conclusions of the few studies done on this sample of countries, which suggests additional research on the subject is likely required.

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