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People Matter: Quality of Life in Post-Transition Economies
Thu, 14 Sep 2017, 09:00 – Fri, 15 Sep 2017, 18:00 EEST
It has long been recognized that the real progress in societies cannot be properly captured by dynamics in macroeconomic indicators. Hence, the efforts in the development of alternative indicators, such as Human Development Index or the Better Life Index, as better measures of wellbeing of citizens, which can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole. This has been particularly important in most of the countries of the post-socialist bloc which experienced prolonged periods of deep economic downturn, in which GDP could have provided a very poor measure of the full human costs of the crisis. Yet, the governments, especially in the countries of the Former Soviet Union, de facto showed quite sporadic efforts in promoting quality of life and wellbeing of people, in spite of a strong popular demand for social justice and improvement in standards of living. Moreover, research on relevant issues arising in everyday lives of individuals, families and communities as well as rigorous evaluation of policy initiatives has been impeded by insufficient data and resources to organize its collection. In spite of the lack of concerted efforts, various international organizations, universities and individual researchers have been engaged in both data collection and international “quality of life” research, which provide important background information and evidence for better policymaking. With high demand for changes in the region, it is time to consolidate this knowledge and emphasize its importance for the development of social policy which both contributes to people’s resilience to social risks and has positive impact on key drivers of individual and social well-being – income, employment, physical and mental health, education, and social inclusion. This conference will bring together researchers interested in population well-being in the region and provide an opportunity for extended dialogue among academic and policy researchers, government officials and policymakers to promote use evidence-based decision making at all levels.