Working paper

Violent Conflict and Unhappiness: Evidence From the 2016 ‘Life in Transition’ III Survey



Published in:

Economics Bulletin


recent conflicts
transition countries
former Eastern Bloc

This paper investigates the effect of violence on happiness in 14 countries affected by recent conflicts, using data from the ‘Life in Transition' III survey conducted in 2016 by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank in all transition countries from a former Eastern Bloc (except for Turkmenistan). Out of 19,081 observations with non-missing responses, 2,605 (or 13.7%) households have been affected by some form of violence. When each of the three violence indicators – physical injury, having a household member killed or living in a household displaced due to a conflict – is entered separately, the probability of being happy reduces by 6.3-8.2% points depending on the type of violence. When three violence indicators are added at once, and also in some robustness checks, it is only forced displacement that has a statistically significant negative effect on happiness. These results indicate that violence has a prolonged and substantial negative effect on life satisfaction, given that many of the conflicts started 20 years ago or more.

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