Anxiety as a consequence of liberalization: An analysis of opinion surveys in Estonia
Abstract This article examines some of the consequences of the liberalization of command economies. It is argued that the breakdown of the pre-existing system of production and distribution, changes in political power, and the displacement of property rights introduces uncertainty into people's lives. The article explores two questions: (1) How does the prospect for political and economic liberalization accompanied by increasing uncertainty affect people's beliefs about their own well-being? and (2) How does the anxiety created by the process of liberalization impact different ethnic groups? Estonia's experience during the transitional period is used to explore these questions. On the basis of two surveys, anxiety measures are calculated. To test the theoretical model a probit model is estimated. The study findings suggest that ethnicity does play a significant role in perceptions about “own” well-being and in the development of anxiety.
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