Center for the Study of Democracy
The Effects of Transition on Life Satisfaction in Poland
- Author(s): Angelescu, Laura
- et al.
Since 1989 Poland has been considered a leader in economic reform, but did the process of transition from a planned economy to a free market model make its people happier? A look at the life satisfaction levels reported in the World Values Survey shows that the answer is no. The disruptive effects of transition on marriage rates, as well as the increased unemployment and withdrawal from the labor force seem to have mattered more for the happiness of Poles than the recovery in terms of GDP per capita. People over thirty and those less educated are the ones who suffered the most and this led to an increase in life satisfaction inequality. Overall, there is not a significant difference in the levels of subjective well-being of women and men. However, while both genders report lower levels in 1999 compared with 1990, the difference between the two dates is only significant in the case of men. For them, only after considering the changes in marital and employment status the decrease in life satisfaction over this interval can be accounted for.