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Justice beliefs in post-communist countries and subjective well-being. A European comparative study. Sergiu Baltatescu University of Oradea, Romania bsergiu@uoradea.ro. “ Social Justice in a Changing World”, Bremen, 10–12 March 2005. Social justice research: variables used.

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justice beliefs in post communist countries and subjective well being a european comparative study

Justice beliefs in post-communist countries and subjective well-being. A European comparative study.

Sergiu Baltatescu

University of Oradea, Romania

bsergiu@uoradea.ro

“Social Justice in a Changing World”, Bremen, 10–12 March 2005.

social justice research variables used
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
subjective well being
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).
justice feelings beliefs and subjective well being outcomes
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)
justice feelings beliefs and subjective well being outcomes1
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.".
justice feelings beliefs and subjective well being outcomes2
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).
justice feelings beliefs and subjective well being outcomes3
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.
how to interpret correlation
How to interpret correlation?

Implication: A society with no big inequalities is theoreticallymore livable.

Livability (Veenhoven 1993) is one of the most important explanatory theories for the variations in subjective well-being.

how to interpret correlation1
How to interpret correlation?
  • Alesina et al. (2001): this does not apply in the US.
  • Explanation: differences between social mobility between US and Europe.
  • Europe: lower social mobility of the poor  bad prospects for the future income.
  • Alesina et al. (2001): Europeans are not more equalitarian than US!
  • Other factors in US: perceptions of equal opportunity in society.
justice beliefs in post commiunist states
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.
justice beliefs in post commiunist states1
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.
hypotheses
Hypotheses
  • Peoples in post-communist states will display higher egalitarianism and lower adherence to equity principle.
  • Correlation between types of justice beliefs is higher in post-communist states
  • There is a correlation between equalitarian belief and subjective well-being
  • This correlation holds even when controlling for income inequality
data method
Data & Method

European Values Survey 1999-2000

  • 41125 cases
  • 33 countries

Variables:

  • Life satisfaction (1-10 scale)

“All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?”

variables justice beliefs
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 ‘neitherimportant nor unimportant’, 4 ‘unimportant’,5 ‘not at all important’)  reversed.
country clusters
Country clusters
  • Theoretically grouped in three clusters
    • recent common socio-historical conditions
    • similarities with respect to examined variables.
    • Member of EU15 + Malta, Norway & Iceland.
    • Central and Eastern European, member of EU 25 & candidate countries (including Turkey).
    • Former soviet republics: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine
country means western south europe1
Country means: Western & South Europe
  • North/South division:
    • Northern countries (Denmark, Sweden, Net-herlands) less supporting equality principle.
    • Southern countries more equalitarian.
  • Outlier: Malta
  • Similar levels for need principle.
country means comparative1
Country means: comparative
  • 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)
individual level correlation between support for equality and support for equity
Individual-level correlation between support for equality and support for equity

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

n.s. non significant

individual level correlation between support for equality and support for equity1
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
slide24

R = -0.460

  • When excluding outliers: Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, correlation becomes -0,81
inequality life satisfaction
Inequality & Life satisfaction

Overall correlation R2= -0,225

inequality egalitarianism
Inequality & egalitarianism

Overall correlation R2= -0.212

partial correlation
Partial correlation

When controlling Gini index correlation between life satisfaction and remains significant.

path diagram western european countries mostly eu members
Path diagram - Western European countries (mostly EU members)

-0.054 n.s. (-0.291)

0.487

-0.709 (-0.683)

path diagram eastern european mostly eu acceding countries turkey
Path diagram – Eastern European (Mostly EU acceding countries)+ Turkey

-0.445 (-0.481)

0.114

-0.316 (-0.367)

conclusion s
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.
conclusion s1
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.
references
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. 8198.
  • 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. 131-150). New York: A. de Gruyter.
references1
References
  • Dalbert, C. (1992). Belief in a Just World as Source of Subjective Well-Being. International Journal of Psychology, 27(3-4), 608-609.
  • 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. 87-105): 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. 79-98): 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. 365-381): Cambridge University Press.
references2
References
  • Diener, E., Diener, M., & Diener, C. (1995). Factors Predicting the Subjective Well-Being of Nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 851-864.
  • 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. 339-360): 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), 666-677.
references3
References
  • O'Connell, M. (2004). Fairly satisfied: Economic equality, wealth and satisfaction. Journal of Economic Psychology, 25(3), 297-305.
  • Scher, S. J. (1997). Measuring the consequences of injustice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(5), 482-497.
  • Schmitt, M. (1996). Individual differences in sensitivity to befallen injustice (SBI). Personality and Individual Differences, 21(1), 3-20.
  • Veenhoven, R. (1993). Happiness in nations : subjective appreciation of life in 56 nations, 1946-1992. 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. 151-175). New York: A. de Gruyter.