Societal Wellbeing in Europe before and after the Economic Crisis. Monitoring Societal Change with a New Multidimensional Measurement.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 12 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Wolfgang ASCHAUER, University of Salzburg, Austria
Eight years after the financial collapse, starting in the United States, the European Union is still in a state of crisis; we can even observe an accumulation of contemporary challenges for the EU. All those critical outbreaks of events (e.g. the Greek Euro-crisis, the conflict in Ukraine or the contemporary refugee flows) have led to the emergence of new cleavages across Europe threatening the solidarity between EU member states and social cohesion within European countries. Therefore it is necessary to develop new concepts of quality of society taking the crises perceptions of the citizens more adequately into account.  In my own conception I propose a new multidimensional concept of societal wellbeing to understand and evaluate new cleavages in societal embeddedness, social recognition and social belonging.

The empirical approach presents this new operationalization strategy of societal wellbeing using indicators of two waves of the European Social Survey (2006 and 2012). Societal wellbeing is designed as a second order factor (based on various subjective evaluations of quality of society) and the whole operationalization strategy is evaluated using the method of Multi Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The second part of my empirical analysis refers to the evolution of those potential feelings of discontent within Europe in recent years. All European countries participating in the European Social Survey were grouped based on welfare state typologies to measure different developments of societal wellbeing separately across major European regions. Thirdly,  multiple OLS-regressions within those regions were computed to justify the use of a final multi-level model. This model explores which contextual factors together with certain limitations of individual living conditions are able to explain different magnitudes of societal malaise across  Europe.