Economic Attitudes of East Europeans

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Nina BANDELJ, University of California, Irvine, USA
Katelyn FINLEY, University of California, Irvine, USA
After twenty-five years of turbulent changes in Eastern Europe, which happened during a particular socio-historical moment of neoliberal globalization, financialization and economic crisis, how do East European experience their lives? What are the sentiments of people about their quality of life, about what it takes to succeed in their country, rule of law, and pervasiveness of informal economy? We ask these questions using the data from the Life in Transition Survey for 2006 and 2010. This survey included almost 39,000 households in 33 countries, including 28 postsocialist East European and Eurasian countries and 5 West European countries,  to assess public attitudes, well-being and the impacts of economic and political change. We use hierarchical models with country level and individual level predictors. On average, we find that the importance of effort and hard work is believed to have decreased over time, the importance of political connections is believed to have increased in postsocialist countries and stands twice as high as in Western Europe, and that only about a third agree or strongly agree that law and order exist in postsocialist countries. Moreover, the belief that informality rules is widespread and almost ten-times greater in postsocialist countries than in Western Europe. Still, the individual level predictors point to significant differences in how postsocialism is experienced among different groups of people, in particular based on socio-economic background. We link these findings to the understanding of the character of the socio-economic order that has become established in the past 25 years.