International Conference People Matter: Quality of Life and Population Wellbeing in Post-Transition Economies


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.

The goals of the conference are to:

  • Bring together researchers interested in population well-being in the region and disseminate findings from high quality studies on quality of life and wellbeing.
  • Provide an opportunity for extended dialogue among academic and policy researchers, government officials and policy makers to promote use of evidence and analytics in the decision making at all levels to improve population wellbeing.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Klaus F. Zimmermann is a leading scholar and prominent policy authority in labor economics, population economics, migration and other areas of economics. 

Currently Professor Zimmermann is Co – Director, POP – Centre for Population, Development and Labour Economics at UNU – MERIT, Maastricht and Visiting Professor at Harvard and Princeton Universities. He was a Founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) from April 1998 until February 2016. Under his leadership the institute established itself among the world’s leading research institutions and think tanks in the field of labor economics. Since 2017 he is also the President of the Global Labor Organization (GLO).

Date: 14th – 15th September 2017

Venue: Hilton Hotel, Tarasa Shevchenko Blvd., 30

Hosted by: Kyiv School of Economics and VoxUkraine

Supporting organizations: University of Kent, University of California-Berkeley


Conference Chair: Olena Nizalova (University of Kent)

Academic Program Chair: Yuriy Gorodnichenko (University of California-Berkley)

Policy Program Chair: Tymofiy Mylovanov (Kyiv School of Economics)

Organizing Committee: Olga Kupets (Kyiv School of Economics), Mariya Aleksynska (ILO), Irina Denisova (New Economic School) and Iryna Sobetska (Kyiv School of Economics)


September 14       

08:30 – 09:00

Registration and welcome coffee

09:00 – 09:15

Welcome speech: Tymofiy Mylovanov, KSE Honorary President; Olena Nizalova, University of Kent, Conference Chair

09:15 – 10:15

Keynote Lecture – Klaus Zimmermann Migration and Wellbeing

10:15 – 10:45

Coffee break

10:45 – 12:15

Panel discussion 1: Migration caused by conflicts: Well-being of refugees and internally displaced people



Klaus Zimmermann, Professor, UNU-MERIT and GLO



Lidiia Kuzmenko, Associate Legal Officer, UNHCR Representation in Ukraine, Klavdiya Maksymenko, Senior Country Officer for Ukraine, World Bank, Yusuf Kurkchi, First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, Mustafa Nayem, MP, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Bohdan Melnykovych, Lawyer, Charitable Foundation “Vostok SOS”, Anna Trofimenko, Community Outreach Worker, Civil Society Organization “Crimea SOS”


12:15 – 13:15


13:15 – 14:45

Research session 1: Migration



Hanna Vakhitova, Kyiv School of Economics


War and Well-Being in Transition

Gunes Gokmen, New Economic School

Discussant: Alexander Danzer

Job market outcomes of IDPs: the case of Georgia

Karine Torosyan, International School of Economics at TSU (ISET)

Discussant: Gunes Gokmen

The well-being of migrants during the global financial crisis: Evidence on illegal employment, ethnic discrimination and deportation

Alexander Danzer, KU Eichstätt-Ingolstad


Discussant: Olga Kupets


Research session 2: Well-being and labor market


Maksym Obrizan, Kyiv School of Economics


Self-employment and wellbeing: a comparative study

Oleksandr Talavera, Swansea University

Discussant: Elena Besedina

How Unemployment affects Subjective Wellbeing in Ukraine

Edward Norton, University of Michigan and NBER

Discussant: Mariya Aleksynska

Temporary and Informal Employment, Work Quality, and Job Satisfaction

Mariya Aleksynska, ILO


Discussant: Hartmut Lehmann

14:45 – 16:15

Research session 3: Family & gender


Oleksandr Talavera, Swansea University


Math, Girls and Socialism

Quentin Lippmann, Paris School of Economics


Discussant: Maksym Obrizan


Children’s (Un)happiness in Transition

Maksym Obrizan, Kyiv School of Economics


Discussant: Oleksandr Talavera


Going Beyond the First Child Analysis of Russian Mothers’ Desired and Actual Fertility Patterns

Elena Besedina, Kyiv School of Economics


Discussant: Quentin Lippman

Research session 4: Health


Ilona Sologub, Kyiv School of Economics


The Impact of Transition on Height and Subjective Well-Being

Francesca Dalla Pozza, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Discussant: Edward Norton


Alcohol consumption habits in Eastern and Western Europe

Gintare Malisauskaite, University of Kent

Discussant: Francesca Dalla Poza


Impact of TB Epidemic on Worker and Firm Productivity: Regional Perspective

Olena Nizalova, University of Kent

Discussant: Oleksandra Betliy



16:15 – 16:45

Coffee break


16:45 – 18:15

Panel discussion 2: In the Name of Population Well-Being: A Pathway to Better Health



Olena Doroshenko, Health Specialist/Economist, World Bank’s Human Development programs in Ukraine



Ulana Suprun, Acting Minister of Health of Ukraine, MoH, Ukraine, Edward C. Norton, Professor, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Sergii Berezenko, Member of Parliament, Health Committee, Taavi Lai, Senior Policy Adviser, WHO CO Ukraine, Olga Stefanyshyna, executive director of Patients of Ukraine charitable foundation, Volodymyr Spivak, Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs Director, Nestlé, Vasyl Lazoryshynets, Amosov National Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery

Panel discussion 3: Ukrainian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey: Peculiarities of Panel Data Collection in Post-Soviet Context



Olga Kupets, Kyiv School of Economics and IZA



Alexander Danzer, Professor at Catholic University Eichstätt, IOS and IZA, Benedikt Herrmann, European Commission, Hartmut Lehmann, Professor at University of Bologna, IZA, ICID and DIW, Vladimir Paniotto, Kiev International Institute of Sociology and Professor at NaUKMA, Victoria Zakhoza, Kiev International Institute of Sociology



Conference dinner

 September 15

9:00 – 10:30

Research session 5: Happiness and transition


Olesia Verchenko, Kyiv School of Economics


The Dynamics of the Level of Happiness and its Determinants. Ukraine 2001-2016

Vladimir Paniotto, Kiev International Institute of Sociology


Discussant: Elena Nikolova


Communism as the Second Coming

Elena Nikolova, Central European Labour Studies Institute (Slovakia), Leibniz-Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (Germany)


Discussant: Sergei Guriev


The Happiness Transition

Sergei Guriev, EBRD, Sciences Po, and CEPR


Discussant: Vladimir Paniotto

Research session 6: Well-being and labor market (II)


Viktor Khanzhyn, Kyiv School of Economics


Evolving Informal Employment Relationships and Labor Market Segmentation in Transition Economies: Evidence from Ukraine

Hartmut Lehmann, University of Bologna


Discussant: Hanna Onyshchenko


Youth on the move: job mobility and well-being at work in transition economies

Olga Kupets, Kyiv School of Economics and  IZA


Discussant: Karine Torosyan


Wage penalty for overeducation among Youth in Armenia, Ukraine and Russia: Does it exist?

Hanna Onyschenko, National Bank of Ukraine

Discussant: Gintare Malisauskaite

10:30 – 11:30

Coffee-break and session with journalists

11:30 – 13:00

Panel discussion 4: Wellbeing Implications of Land Reform in Ukraine

Chair: Ludmila Butenko, Program Leader for Infrastructure and Sustainable Development at The World Bank



Maksym Martynyuk, Acting Minister, Ministry of Agriculture (TBC), Denys Nizalov, Head of the project “Reform support in agriculture and land relations in Ukraine”, Dmytro Shymkiv, Secretary at the Reform Council to the President of Ukraine (TBC), Vadym Ivchenko, MP, Mykhailo Sokolov, Deputy Head at the Association of the Rural Councils of Ukraine, Mykola Stryzhak, Association of Farmers and Landowners


13:00 – 14:00


14:00 - 15:15

Panel discussion 5: Youth in the Focus: impact of labour market exclusion and job insecurity on later life outcomes (EXCEPT project panel)


Chair: Julia Smolyar, Senior Social Protection Specialist, World Bank



Volodymyr Kovtunets, First Deputy Minister of Education, Olena Nizalova, University of Kent, EXCEPT-UK team leader, Mariya Aleksynska, Labour Economist, ILO, Geneva, Oleksandr Yarema, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Sports and Youth, Ihor Samokhin, CEDOS, Serhiy Kravchenko, Deputy Head, State Employment Service


15:15 – 15:30


15:30 – 16:45

Panel discussion 6: Pension System as a Wellbeing Institute: Case for Reform in Ukraine

Chair: Ihor Burakovsky, Head of the Board, Insitute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting


Speakers: Andriy Reva, the Minister of Social Policy, Julia Smolyar, Senior Social Protection Specialist, World Bank, Lidiia Tkachenko, Leading Research Fellow, Ptoukha Institute for Demography and Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Tatyana Salnikova, Director at Association of Pension Funds of Ukraine, Oleksandra Betliy, Leading Research Fellow, Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting


16:45 - 17:45

Panel discussion 7: International organisations and population wellbeing


Chair: Tymofiy Mylovanov, Kyiv School of Economics


Speakers: Sergei Guriev, Chief Economics, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Klavdiya Maksymenko, Senior Country Officer for Ukraine, World Bank, Berend de Groot, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Maria Aleksynskaya, ILO National Coordinator for Ukraine

17:45 – 18:15


Open interview "What prevents people in post Soviet countries to be happy?" with Sergei Guriev Chief Economist, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development


Borys Davidenko, Editor-in-Chief, VoxUkraine


18:15 – 18:30

Closing remarks: Tymofiy Mylovanov, KSE Honorary President; Ruben Enikolopov, Journal of Comparative Economics Editor; Olena Nizalova, University of Kent, Conference Chair.


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If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Kseniia Alekankina by phone 096 491 19 61 or email