From socialist equality to capitalist stratification: How people see it

Felix Riedl, Max Haller


The transition from socialism to capitalism has led to diverging socioeconomic outcomes for the Post-Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). While typical social problems of capitalist societies were virtually unknown prior to the collapse of socialism, they have been on the increase since the introduction of comprehensive market-oriented reforms. The objective of our article is to investigate the impact of the rising inequality in income in CEE and the effects of distinct trajectories on the change of individual orientations toward social inequality in Post-Communist East Europe. We present statistical data on structural changes and apply linear and logistic regression on data from the ISSP survey 2009 on the perception of social inequality. Our findings suggest that both individual and structural conditions are relevant for attitudes related to inequality. First, objective inequality itself is not associated with individually perceived income differences. Second, different Post-Communist welfare regimes indicate an effect on such perceptions as well as on the individuals’ assessment of the society they live in. Further, the socioeconomic position affects the attitudes toward a redistribution policy.


Social inequality, equality, social policy, CEE, Eastern Europe, Post-Communist welfare states, economic transition

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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X