What does it take to be a successful person in Bulgaria? /seminar paper/


Plamen Akaliyski




Topic of this seminar paper is answering the question “what it takes to be a successful person in Bulgaria?” as well as “which groups of the societies are disadvantaged and will be prone to seek a better life abroad?”. Social inequality survey from ISSP 2009 is used to compare what people believe are the most important factors for getting ahead in their country. Results are compared to the ideal case of a meritocratic state and other countries from the data set. Findings provide some evidence that Bulgaria is a meritocratic society, namely that ambition, hard-work and education are the most relevant factors for success. Nevertheless other non-meritocratic factors have a very high importance according to much larger part of Bulgarians compared to the rest of the world. The largest disparity is in the significance of social capital in Bulgaria, but also in growing up in a wealthy filmily and giving bribes. All these differences are likely to have demoralising effect on the disadvantaged parts of the society and are a potential reason for emigration. A positive signal comes from a regression analysis which proves that education has a much higher influence on person’s income, while coming from a high status family is insignificant. Therefore, education is a potential path for succeeding individual’s ambitions. However, while most people believe that everyone has equal chances to get a place at university, nearly half of the respondents think that only the rich can afford the costs of obtaining higher education. The conclusion made is that a large part of the population is disadvantaged with regard to their chances for success which turns them into potential emigrants. On the other hand, there are still opportunities for people to achieve their goals in Bulgaria if they have enough ambition, work hard and are able to make social connections.