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Title: East versus West : did Communist regimes matter in the long-run? : essays on the comparative economics of the former Eastern Bloc countries
Author: Mališauskaitė, Gintarė
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 9863
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the strand of research regarding the effects of communist regimes in former Eastern Bloc. We explored the areas that were likely to be affected at the time of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and to test if there are any signs of the impact extending to long-term. This is especially important due to the data scarcity and heavy censorship during the period of the Soviet Union, which does not allow to reliably estimate the contemporaneous effects of the regime. Therefore, the main research questions are: • Did communist regime education policies create systematic differences in educational attainment levels in comparison to the rest of Europe? Increasing educational attainment level within Eastern Bloc was an important political goal. This is partially due to an aim of developing skilled labour force to man factories and contribute towards advancements in science and technology in the cold war competition with the West, and, in part, due to being means to implant and propagate the regime's ideology. • Is the popular stereotype of excessive alcohol consumption in communist Eastern Bloc reflected in the behaviour of those who lived through the regime even after its collapse? Alcohol was anecdotally known to be a popular companion for recreation in Eastern Bloc, the idea frequently found in Russian cinematography of the day. Any signs of systematically more frequent or larger intake of alcohol after the collapse of the regime would indicate a combination of at least some or all listed reasons: spreading of cultural drinking norms, drinking preferences becoming habitual, and alcohol being as a coping mechanism for experienced trauma. It is likely the list could be extended by more possible explanations. • Is living under one of the communist regimes in Eastern Bloc significantly related to any long-term differences in health outcomes in comparison to the rest of Europe? In addition, is there a difference in perception of own health? This could help address a question if the communist regime had an impact on health and perception of people who experienced and survived it. Measuring differences in perception is particularly interesting since perception latently affects behaviour and choices of economic agents. Each question is addressed in a separate chapter, but the overarching questions are: do educational attainment level, alcohol drinking patterns, health and its perception show signs of the communist regime in Eastern Bloc having a long-term impact? How much, on average, an experience of this regime could contribute to changing and shaping cultural norms, agents' choices, behaviour and perceptions? Answers to these questions would contribute to the knowledge about measuring impacts of historical experiences, could inspire further research, and potentially could be taken into account when modelling and predicting agents' behaviour.
Supervisor: Klein, Alexander ; Nizalova, Olena ; Leon-Ledesma, Miguel A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: H Social Sciences