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Justice beliefs in post-communist countries and subjective well-being. A European comparative study. Sergiu Baltatescu University of Oradea, Romania

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Presentation on theme: "Justice beliefs in post-communist countries and subjective well-being. A European comparative study. Sergiu Baltatescu University of Oradea, Romania"— Presentation transcript:

1 Justice beliefs in post-communist countries and subjective well-being. A European comparative study. Sergiu Baltatescu University of Oradea, Romania “ Social Justice in a Changing World”, Bremen, 10–12 March 2005.

2 Social justice research: variables used Justice feelings/perceptions Perceptions of social inequalities Injustice at work/school/… Justice beliefs Belief in a just world Equality/Equity/Need

3 Subjective well-being Is a measure of the individual and societal output Has two levels: global (subjective well-being, life satisfaction) sectorial (satisfaction with job, family, political system) Two dimensions: Cognitive (life satisfaction). Hedonic (happiness, positive & negative affect).

4 Justice feelings & beliefs and subjective well-being outcomes Perceived injustice was found to diminish happiness (Scher, 1997) (Krehbiel & Cropanzano, 2000) The outcome may be mediated by some factors summarized in the Dispositional Sensitivity to Befallen Injustice (Schmitt, 1996)

5 Justice feelings & beliefs and subjective well-being outcomes Personal belief in a just world positively correlated with one's life satisfaction (Lipkus et al., 1996) those variables are “in an adaptive relationship”. (Dalbert, 1999, 2002) For victims of an adverse fate, for example, BJW seemed to protect from ruminating about "why me.".

6 Justice feelings & beliefs and subjective well-being outcomes “justice evaluations are a salient determinant of the subjective well-being of individuals” (Wegener & Steinmann, 1995). Tested only for satisfaction with material well- being  a particular domain of global subjective well-being. Growing inequalities were found to diminish subjective well-being (Alesina, di Tella & MacCulloch, 2001).

7 Justice feelings & beliefs and subjective well-being outcomes Equality of income in a society is a good predictor for the subjective well-being in a nation. (Diener, Diener, & Diener, 1995). (Alesina, di Tella & MacCulloch, 2001). O'Connell (2004) finds a positive correlation across four years in the 15 EU countries Proposed interpretation: egalitarian societies are more satisfying for their members, because of: greater social cohesion more challenging work opportunities for a greater proportion of individuals.

8 How to interpret correlation? Implication: A society with no big inequalities is theoretically more livable. Livability (Veenhoven 1993) is one of the most important explanatory theories for the variations in subjective well-being.

9 How to interpret correlation? Alesina et al. (2001): this does not apply in the US. Alesina et al. (2001): this does not apply in the US. Explanation: differences between social mobility between US and Europe. Explanation: differences between social mobility between US and Europe. Europe: lower social mobility of the poor  bad prospects for the future income. Europe: lower social mobility of the poor  bad prospects for the future income. Alesina et al. (2001): Europeans are not more equalitarian than US! Alesina et al. (2001): Europeans are not more equalitarian than US! Other factors in US: perceptions of equal opportunity in society. Other factors in US: perceptions of equal opportunity in society.

10 JUSTICE BELIEFS IN POST- COMMIUNIST STATES Hypotheses for the comparative research: there may be important differences in choices of justice principles between East and West: more egalitarianism in the Eastern Europe, Explanations: existing differences between political economical experiences Arts (1995): these are frames that determines the beliefs: In Eastern Europe, state promotes more equality. different causal models for the justice beliefs for the East and the West.

11 JUSTICE BELIEFS IN POST- COMMIUNIST STATES Peoples express simultaneously egalitarian and inegalitarian justice beliefs. This finding is more pronounced in the post- communist states. Kluegel (1995): lack of crystallization, compared with Western European states where the differences between these attitudes were four a longer period debated.

12 Hypotheses 1. Peoples in post-communist states will display higher egalitarianism and lower adherence to equity principle. 2. Correlation between types of justice beliefs is higher in post-communist states 3. There is a correlation between equalitarian belief and subjective well-being 4. This correlation holds even when controlling for income inequality

13 Data & Method European Values Survey cases 33 countries Variables: Life satisfaction (1-10 scale) “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?”

14 Variables: “justice beliefs” Respondents asked to evaluate the importance of each of the following statements about what a society should provide in order to be considered ‘just’: Eliminating large inequalities in income among citizens (‘equality’). Guaranteeing that basic needs are met for all, in terms of food, housing, clothing, education, health (‘need’). Recognizing people on their merits (‘equity’). Scale: 1 ‘very important’, 2 ‘important’, 3 ‘neither important nor unimportant’, 4 ‘unimportant’, 5 ‘not at all important’)  reversed.

15 Country clusters Theoretically grouped in three clusters recent common socio-historical conditions similarities with respect to examined variables. 1. Member of EU15 + Malta, Norway & Iceland. 2. Central and Eastern European, member of EU 25 & candidate countries (including Turkey). 3. Former soviet republics: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine

16 Country means: Western & South Europe

17 North/South division: Northern countries (Denmark, Sweden, Net-herlands) less supporting equality principle. Southern countries more equalitarian. Outlier: Malta Similar levels for need principle.

18 Country means: Central & Eastern Europe + Turkey

19 Country means: comparative

20 Hypothesis 1 is partially confirmed Overall, citizens of post-communist countries have higher adherence to the equality principle. Exception: former soviet states, with very low levels Not predicted from the theory: post-communist countries have also higher adherence to the equity principle (former soviet states, with lowest levels). Tentative explanation: experience of the transition brings frustration  sensation that they don’t get what they deserve. (Generalized corruption is an objective cause)

21 Individual-level correlation between support for equality and support for equity Type Europe MinMaxOverall Western European (mostly EU countries -0,076 n.s. Malta 0,45(**) Portugal,129(**) European (Mostly EU acceding countries)+Turkey,045 n.s Estonia,286(**) Poland,174(**) Former Soviet Countries -,002(**) Belarus,110(**) Russia,080(**) ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). n.s. non significant

22 Individual-level correlation between support for equality and support for equity Hypothesis 2 is partially confirmed Overall, post-communist countries have higher correlations. Exception: former soviet states, with very low correlations Outliers: Portugal, Germany The rank-order of countries is similar with that of country means for equalitarism

23 R= -0,668

24 R = When excluding outliers: Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, correlation becomes -0,81

25 r =

26

27 How to interpret correlation? I

28 Overall correlation R2= -0,225 Inequality & Life satisfaction

29 Overall correlation R2= Inequality & egalitarianism

30 Partial correlation When controlling Gini index correlation between life satisfaction and remains significant. Country Partial Correlation Western European (mostly EU countries) -0,647 Eastern European (Mostly EU acceding countries) + Turkey Former Soviet Countries 0.00 Overall -0,333

31 Path diagram

32 Path diagram - Western European countries (mostly EU members) n.s. (-0.291) (-0.683)

33 Path diagram – Eastern European (Mostly EU acceding countries)+ Turkey (-0.481) (-0.367)

34 Conclusions Citizens of post-communist countries have higher adherence to the equality principle, whith the exception of former soviet states. They have also higher adherence to the equity principle. (unpredicted by the theory) As a result, the individual-level correlation between first two options are higher than in case of Western European States. This may be explained by lack of cristalization of the opinions, but also by a different social configuration.

35 Conclusions There is a correlation between equalitarian belief and subjective well-being. There is a correlation between equalitarian belief and subjective well-being This correlation holds even when controlling for income inequality, and is lower in the case of post-communist countries and null for the former soviet states. No direct influence of inequality on life satisfaction.

36 References ***. (2003). European Values Study 1999/2000 [Computer file] 2003 / Release 1 Alesina, A., Tella, R. D., & MacCulloch, R. (2001). Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different? NBER Working Paper No Arts, W., Hermkens, P., & Wijck, P. v. (1995). Justice Evaluation of Income Distribution in East and West. In J. R. Kluegel, D. S. Mason & B. Wegener (Eds.), Social justice and political change : public opinion in capitalist and post-communist states (pp ). New York: A. de Gruyter.

37 References Dalbert, C. (1992). Belief in a Just World as Source of Subjective Well-Being. International Journal of Psychology, 27(3-4), Dalbert, C. (1998). Belief in a just world, well-being, and coping with an unjust fate. In L. Montada & M. J. Lerner (Eds.), Responses to victimizations and belief in a just world. (pp ): Plenum Press. Dalbert, C. (1999). The World is More Just for Me than Generally: About the Personal Belief in a Just World Scale's Validity., Social Justice Research (Vol. 12, pp ): Kluwer Academic Publishing. Dalbert, C., & Maes, J. r. (2002). Belief in a just world as a personal resource in school. In M. Ross & D. T. Miller (Eds.), Justice motive in everyday life. (pp ): Cambridge University Press.

38 References Diener, E., Diener, M., & Diener, C. (1995). Factors Predicting the Subjective Well-Being of Nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), Kluegel, J. R., & Mateju, P. (1995). Egalitarian vs. Inegalitarian Principles of Distributive Justice. In J. R. Kluegel, D. S. Mason & B. Wegener (Eds.), Social justice and political change : public opinion in capitalist and post-communist states (pp. 209-). New York: A. de Gruyter. Krehbiel, P. J., & Cropanzano, R. (2000). Procedural Justice, Outcome Favorability and Emotion., Social Justice Research (Vol. 13, pp ): Kluwer Academic Publishing. Lipkus, I. M., & Others, A. (1996). The Importance of Distinguishing the Belief in a Just World for Self Versus for Others: Implication for Psychological Well-Being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(7),

39 References O'Connell, M. (2004). Fairly satisfied: Economic equality, wealth and satisfaction. Journal of Economic Psychology, 25(3), Scher, S. J. (1997). Measuring the consequences of injustice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(5), Schmitt, M. (1996). Individual differences in sensitivity to befallen injustice (SBI). Personality and Individual Differences, 21(1), Veenhoven, R. (1993). Happiness in nations : subjective appreciation of life in 56 nations, Rotterdam, Netherlands: Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Department of Social Sciences, RISBO, Center for Socio-Cultural Transformation. Wegener, B., & Steinmann, S. (1995). Justice Psychophysics in the Real World: Comparing Income Justice and Income Satisfaction in East and West Germany. In J. R. Kluegel, D. S. Mason & B. Wegener (Eds.), Social justice and political change : public opinion in capitalist and post-communist states (pp ). New York: A. de Gruyter.


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