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On June 14, Maksim Obrizan, a Professor of the Kiev School of Economics, gave a presentation entitled “The Impact of War on Happiness: The Case of Ukraine” at ISET. According to Mr. Obrizan, his work was influenced by cases and papers described in Frey and Stutzer (2002) and Stutzer and Frey (2012), and the impact of wars according to Blattman and Miguel (2010). This has become a particularly poignant topic for Professor Orbizan, as more than 100 Ukrainian soldiers have committed suicide since coming off the front line in the ongoing war against Russian-backed separatists. Previous papers on war and happiness suggest that in 44 countries, the intensity of the war reduces happiness (Welsh 2008).

To analyze impact of war on happiness in Ukraine, data for the survey was collected by the Institute of Sociology (KIIS) in May 2013, February 2014 and May 201. The final data draft was left with 5,382 observations in 100 settlements. The data included exogenous variables such as age, gender, indicators for vocational and higher education dummy for a city respondent, self-identification as “Ukrainian only”, “Russian only” or in between these two categories and a further 11 categories for occupation (including unemployed and housewives). Each dependent variable was estimated via probit: does a respondent report being happy or unhappy?

The results of the study revealed that overall happiness in Ukraine is at most 5% lower than before the war. Furthermore, the authors found that respondents in regions other than Dobnas demonstrated a much higher probability (15.7 to 31.7 % points) of being happy.

Moreover, further discussions associated with this issue are the facts that experiencing the war directly rather than hearing about it from the Press is what makes people unhappy. It is also important to provide adequate psychological support to ex-combatants given the potential indifference of people living in peaceful areas. War remains a dreadful reality but only those people who are directly affected can fully realize and appreciate.

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