What are the dynamics of impoverishment? How can it be determined whether what is occurring is a short-term by-product of transformation or the beginnings of long-term social inequality?
Studies to date indicate that transformation has had particularly severe effects on children in both large and single-earner households, though important variations exist among countries and subregions in this regard. Especially in Russia and other countries where the impact has been acute, how can effects on these and other vulnerable populations be better monitored and analyzed? What are the relevant trends in child poverty in those post-communist countries which have experienced several years of economic growth, such as Poland?
Who are the long-term unemployed? How and why does their composition by age, gender, ethnicity, education, and employment sector vary within and among countries?
What patterns are emerging in the distribution of inequality by gender, age, and ethnicity? Why? Is a "feminization" or an "ethnicization" of poverty taking place?
How do objective indicators of income and expenditures relate to subjective perceptions of current and future well-being, as well as future prospects, as measured by opinion surveys and focus groups?
Do different social, generational, and ethnic groups or different genders have differing attitudes toward changes in property ownership and increased inequality? What aspects of inequality—differences in income, wealth, opportunity, security, political influence, or prestige—most concern these groups, and why? What implications do these attitudes have for policy?
What substitutes are emerging for publicly provided social safety nets? How are households, women, extended families, and ethnic groups coping with the burden of welfare functions previously provided by the socialist state? What bases for forming social support networks (kinship, community, occupation) are emerging, and do they vary significantly by country? How well do they work?
What are the scope and characteristics of growing private-sector (profit and nonprofit) education and health service facilities?
How are localities coping with the erosion/collapse of old social service delivery institutions? What are the evolving roles of local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private services? What are the major factors influencing local responses?
In view of fiscal constraints (including the need to contain or reduce overall social expenditures in some Eastern European countries and weak revenue capabilities throughout the New Independent States), what strategies are emerging for sustainable and improved services in education, health, and social assistance?