Does Transition Make You Happy?

25 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2007

See all articles by Peter Sanfey

Peter Sanfey

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Utku Teksoz

Credit Suisse

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


This paper analyses life satisfaction in transition countries using evidence from the World Values Survey. The paper demonstrates that individuals in transition economies on average record lower values of self-reported satisfaction with life compared with those in non-transition countries. A comparison across time for a smaller sample of countries shows that life satisfaction levels have returned close to pre-transition levels in most cases, after a dip in the mid-1990s. The socio-economic groups that exhibit relatively higher levels of happiness include students, people with higher levels of education and those on higher incomes. Happiness declines with age until the early-50s and is slow to recover afterwards. Self-employed people in transition countries show a level of satisfaction as high as, or higher than, full-time employees, in contrast to evidence from non-transition countries. In addition, satisfaction levels are highest in those countries where standards of economic governance are most advanced and where inequality is lower.

Suggested Citation

Sanfey, Peter and Teksoz, Utku, Does Transition Make You Happy?. Economics of Transition, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 707-731, October 2007, Available at SSRN: or

Peter Sanfey (Contact Author)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) ( email )

One Exchange Square
London, EC2A 2JN
United Kingdom
+44 20 7338 6227 (Phone)
+44 20 7338 6110 (Fax)

Utku Teksoz

Credit Suisse ( email )

One Cabot Square
London E14 4QJ
United Kingdom
+44 207 888 1000 (Phone)
+44 207 888 1600 (Fax)


Do you want regular updates from SSRN on Twitter?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics