Happiness Inequality in Post-Socialist Countries during Neoliberal Transition

Arslan H.

COMPARATIVE SOCIOLOGY, vol.22, no.1, pp.30-73, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/15691330-bja10072
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Geobase, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.30-73
  • Keywords: happiness inequality, post-socialist countries, neoliberal transition, income inequality, social trust
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes



Both average levels of happiness and its distribution have dramatically changed with neoliberal transition in post-socialist countries that have been marked by chronic unhappiness. This study aims to describe the distribution of happiness by showing its levels and trajectories, and investigates the factors explaining it. The descriptive and multivariate statistical analysis were conducted by using cross-national survey data and a dataset covering country indicators. The findings show an inverse V-shaped pattern for changes in happiness inequality, although there are notable differences between individual countries. Income inequality explains cross-national differences in distribution of happiness during the first intensive reform years. However, objective health status and social trust are the most important predictors in explaining happiness inequality in consolidation and convergence periods.