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Return to (Un)Happiness? Subjective Response of Romanians to Economic Crisis and Government Interventions between 2009 and 2012

posted Jun 16, 2017, 12:53 AM by Naomi Naghi   [ updated Jun 16, 2017, 12:55 AM ]
Sergiu Bălțătescu1
Journal of Social Research & Policy
Volume: 7, Issue: 1, Online First
Date: July 2016
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: Very soon after the fall of the communism, Romania was confronted with an economic crisis that went on for almost ten years. With the objective of entering NATO and EU accomplished, and GDP rising to unprecedented levels, subjective well-being levels of Romanians returned to those from 1990. However, the critics looked with skepticism to this recovery, observing that the unfinished or wrongly directed reforms, together with undesirable outcomes that the capitalism brought such as increase in social inequality and anomie, conduced to a fragile economic and social system. Their apprehensions seem to be confirmed when Romania fully resented the new global economic crisis which started in 2008. In this paper I will analyze the response of Romanians to the menaces of economic crisis and government corrective measures between 2009 and 2012. I will examine variations in the structure and the inequality of subjective well-being, trying to explain how changes in the social situation of the socially excluded groups provoked a response from their part. I will show that the happiness of the Romanians decreased along these years. Partly, this had as effect the large scale protests which started at the end of 2011, which culminated with the demise of the Government. I conclude that potential for upheaval was not consumed entirely by this political change, and strong political dissatisfaction predicted further mass protest movements. 

Keywords: Subjective Well-being; Economic Crisis; Eastern European Countries; Transition. 


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