Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

The Long-Term Effects of Communism in Eastern Europe

Volume: 34
Number: 2
Pages: 172 - 191
Month: March
ISSN-Print: 0895-3309
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2020

We analyze the long-term effects of communism on both policies and preferences in Eastern Europe in four areas in which the communist and capitalist doctrines fundamentally differ: government intervention in markets, political freedom, and inequality in incomes and across genders. Macroeconomic indicators related to these areas show convergence of the East to the West. However, residents in the East express less support for democracy and a stronger desire for redistribution, in line with the communist doctrine. Their preferences for the market economy are on average similar to the ones in the West, and their support of female labor force participation is even lower. To establish an effect of communism on preferences, we recur to cohort differences. In all four areas, older cohorts in the East who have lived under communism for a longer time show preferences more in line with communism than younger cohorts, compared to the same cohort gradient in the West.