Publication detail

Subjective Perceptions of Poverty and Objective Economic Conditions: Czechia and Slovakia a Quarter Century After the Dissolution of Czechoslovakia (M. Mysíková, T. Želinský, T.I. Garner, J. Večerník)

Author(s): PhDr. Martina Mysíková Ph.D., Garner, Thesia I.
doc. Ing. Jiří Večerník CSc., Garner, Thesia I.
Tomáš Želinský PhD, Garner, Thesia I.
Type: Articles in journals with impact factor
Year: 2019
Number: 0
Published in: Social Indicators Research, 145 (2): 523-550. Full-text online:
Publishing place:
JEL codes:
Suggested Citation:
Abstract: Studies into the relation between subjective perceptions of individuals and objective economic
conditions have usually resulted in ambiguous empirical findings. Whilst most studies
perceive subjective welfare as being operationalized by indicators of happiness or life
satisfaction, we narrow the approach to an economic domain of subjective well-being—
perceptions of poverty. We argue that our approach better reflects the economic dimension,
as the former may include numerous non-economic domains. We use a case study of two
countries—Czechia and Slovakia—which underwent early economic transition as a common
state in 1989–1992, then became independent states in 1993, after the dissolution of
Czechoslovakia. We base our findings on three historical data sets covering a period from
around the end of the communist era to the early years after the split, and recent data from
EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (2005–2016). Despite initially small differences
in subjective poverty levels in socialist Czechoslovakia, a considerably larger drop
in economic performance during the transition period in Slovakia than in Czechia resulted
in a sharp widening of the subjective poverty gap. The recent data suggests that, despite a
high degree of actual economic convergence of Slovakia and Czechia, the gap in subjective
perceptions of poverty is declining at a remarkably slower pace. We argue that relatively
fast economic growth is not necessarily associated with a commensurate decline in subjective
poverty perceptions. Our results thus support the Easterlin Paradox, although we substitute
happiness by an economic dimension of subjective well-being.



November 2022





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