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Browsing by study line "Social Sciences Study Track"

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  • Jinushi, Ayako (2021)
    This thesis is about the World Happiness Report and Finland. Finland has been chosen as the world’s “happiest country” for four consecutive years from 2018 to 2021 in the World Happiness Report and is often reported as the “happiest country” in both national and international media outlets. Yet many Finns seem to question the idea of Finland as the “happiest country” in the world. This paper explores both why Finland ranks high in the World Happiness Report and why Finns tend not to agree with the results. It examines the concept of happiness in scholarly literature and analyzes the responses to a questionnaire regarding Finns’ attitudes toward the report. The leading hypothesis is that the usage of the particular word “happiness” is a major reason why Finnish people tend not to believe the results of the World Happiness Report. The research consists of two parts. The first part analyzes the concept of happiness and topics around happiness in relation to the World Happiness Report. It also overviews how the related terms, such as subjective well-being and life satisfaction, are used in the World Happiness Report. It shows happiness is a concept that can be understood in various ways and that the term happiness is ambiguously used in the World Happiness Report. In addition, topics related to happiness and life satisfaction in Finland are also discussed to present that life satisfaction in Finland has been high but that the feeling of happiness may be different. The second part is social research using a questionnaire survey. The survey asked Finns how they think about the results of the World Happiness Report. The results of the survey support the hypothesis that ambiguously used terms would be one of the reasons why Finns tend not to agree with the results of the World Happiness Report. Overall, the conclusion is that Finland’s high ranking in the World Happiness Report owes much to the contentment with the current situation explained by the social structure with comprehensive support. More Finns would agree with the results of the World Happiness Report if the report stated more clearly that the ranking is based on people’s life evaluations instead of using the term happiness.
  • Caras, Valeria Stefania (2021)
    This research aims to reveal factors that impact the formation of trust in governments during the COVID-19 pandemic from a comparative cross-EU perspective. The formation of trust in pandemic times is ambiguous because national executives are supposed to combat the virus and can be both rewarded and punished for their actions as well as for the economic consequences of the lockdowns. Theoretically, the thesis fills the gap between the economic voting bulk of literature and research on trust formation in crisis times. The study is based on the “Living, working and COVID-19 dataset” survey conducted by Eurofound agency in spring and summer 2020. The results of the multilevel regression analysis contribute to the field with the significant impact of the clarity of governmental responsibility and losing a job interaction on trust. The applied method allows combining country-level and individual-level data, revealing a higher variance among respondents than EU member states. The interaction indicates that most citizens appreciate cohesive governments in crisis times, which contradicts economic voting literature’s argument that trust is lower in less polarized systems where people have a clearer understanding of assigning blame for policies. However, the respondents who lost the job permanently when the pandemic escalated blame united governments establishing a better link between personal welfare and governmental action. The discrepancy between unemployed and employed is more minor in more polarized and less cohesive systems, which blur responsibility. In general, such factors as losing a job during the pandemic, either permanently or temporarily, feeling job insecurity, and expecting personal finances to worsen - negatively influence the trust in governments. These findings illustrate the significance of political factors as government composition and economic indicators as unemployment and subjective feelings of economic well-being in trust formation. Compared to the theoretical assumptions in regular times, the trust variations during the concrete situation of the pandemic’s outbreak are different since people tend to value more united governments able to respond to the crisis fast.
  • Davies, Caelum John (2020)
    Where is best? Much like the pay-for-access services, profiteering, and mystery that in-part defines the nation brand ranks that form the subject of this work; cross my palm with enough money and it might just be you when the results of this work’s index are revealed! Provocation aside; the concepts of nation branding and nation brands have quickly entered the spotlight of the world’s stage since Anholt first coined the term in 1996. Quickly, it has become big business. From Cool Britainia to ESTonia, nations have been quick in ‘corporatising’ their image to gain attraction and favour around the world. This work is not interested in the brands created by countries per say, rather it is interested in a country’s brand strength, that is how effective countries are in achieving the goals they set out to accomplish through their branding efforts. This work is not the first to be interested in such a thing, for within a decade of Anholt coining the term, he had developed a rank to measure and compare the strength of nation’s brands himself. Jump forward to 2020 and the world has multiple such organisations - often consultancy firms - seeking to do the same through the development of their own ranks. This work seeks to cast a critical eye over these ranks, developing an index of European country brand strength itself. Specifically, this work does three things. Firstly, it provides an understanding of ‘nation brand’ from a country level perspective, generating its findings based on literature (and lack of literature) from thirty-five countries. Secondly, it critically assesses the success and failures of nine prominent nation brand ranks, and in doing so draws from outside literature on University ranking and ranking in general. Thirdly, the crux of the work. Based on the findings gleaned from the previous aim’s outcomes, it develops an original index of country brand strength that is less analytically flawed than its comparators. Through the building its own index of country brand strength, a more holistic understanding of the challenges of indexing and ranking is developed, whist also evidencing that at least some of the shortcomings of its comparators can be overcome. This undertaking is done following OECD guidance, and inspired by the 2010 work of Marc Fetscherin. To compliment its aims, the work provides a detailed discussion on key interlinked and underlying concepts including soft power, geoeconomics, and globalisation. The index is not without fault, failing one test of soundness, but it does yield that Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Ireland and Estonia share the strongest country brands within the EU. The ranks it casts a critical eye over are not without fault either, with the biggest problems reviled to be those of black boxing, subjectivity in surveying, and enablement of misinterpretation through presenting only rank positions of countries, and not index scores.