Author | Editor: Kuznar, E. (NSI, Inc.)
Two datasets on wealth and income distribution were analyzed for Croatia’s country report: the 2017 World Bank quintile and decile estimates of income and data collected by Croatia’s government that provides the mean monthly income and number of employees for specific occupations.
Croatia’s Arrow-Pratt score is one of the lowest scores in this study, ranking it 151 of 158. Its low Arrow- Pratt score indicates that Croatia’s population is highly risk acceptant. This risk acceptance is constant across both datasets, with those who earn the highest incomes scoring as the most risk acceptant.
Implications for US Interests
Croatia is strategically valuable to the US and other Western countries due to the role it plays in the Balkans. Its acceptance into the European Union during 2013 gave the US and its allies in NATO and the EU an important ally that can be used to confront Russian encroachment into the region and help other former Yugoslavian states democratize and potentially join the EU. Croatia’s highly risk acceptant population poses a risk to the US and its Western allies in the EU that rely upon its political stability to lead other Balkan nations away from Russia and toward a more democratic state.
Implications for China’s Interests
China has been increasing its bilateral trade with Croatia in order to curry favor and further its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which Beijing has designed to flow through the Balkans and continue further into Europe. However, Croatia’s membership in the EU creates roadblocks for pursuing deeper economic or political interests in Croatia. The Croatian population’s risk acceptance provides Beijing the potential to influence Croatia through its BRI, if China can demonstrate how its increased influence will translate to socioeconomic opportunities for a population seemingly eager to take risks on new partners and opportunities.
Implications for Russia’s Interests
Croatia stands as a roadblock to Russia’s influence in the region. As a result, Russia only has minor economic investments in Croatia. It is plausible that Croatia is a larger threat to Russia’s aspirations in the Balkans more than ever before as Croatia has achieved both EU membership and has pledged to bring other Balkan states into the EU. Croatia and Russia’s somewhat confrontational relationship gives Russia little opportunity to increase its influence in the country even with Croatia’s risk acceptant nature. However, the ability to disseminate Russian propaganda and political influence is still possible for Moscow as in recent years Croatia has narrowly dodged political crisis after a 2016 vote of no confidence in its Prime Minister (Skrpec, 2017).