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Perceptions of economic well‐being in the Western Balkans

Zsoka Koczan

Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, 2022, vol. 30, issue 4, 845-867

Abstract: Across Emerging Europe, the transition years of the 1990s were characterized by major economic transformation, but also significant disruption and uneven gains. The path of transition in the Western Balkans has, however, been particularly uneven, and dissatisfaction with living standards is especially stark and persistent there. We aim to contribute to the empirical literature on subjective perceptions of economic well‐being by providing insights on which personal characteristics and circumstances are associated with perceptions of relative economic standing and income needs. We find that factors other than spending play a larger role in the Western Balkans than in Central and South‐Eastern Europe: in particular, greater (perceived) income uncertainty and more pessimistic expectations about the future weighed on perceived relative economic standing and could account for some of the observed persistent dissatisfaction.

Date: 2022
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