Back Saturday | 22 November, 2008
EBRD Life in Transition Survey | worth analyzing!
One of the most impressive recent survey efforts, measuring attitudes about different countries in transition, has been undertaken by EBRD. Called Life in Transition Survey (LiTS), this is an attempt to look at how 29 'transitioning' countries have developed following 1989. The survey tracks "public attitudes, well-being, and the impact of economic and political change".
LiTS is both encouraging and sobering at the same time. What is encouraging is that overall people, in spite of many hardships, do not want a return to centralized, authoritarian systems. At the same time, incomplete transition has left many people equivocal with regards to market systems. EBRD also notes that social capital remains in short supply.
The basic idea is set out succinctly in this EBRD presentation.
(Note that we really think such presentations should be available under a Creative Commons license, since technically we are not sure whether we're allowed to share this, although it's available online.)
But beyond this, LiTS offers much more, and much more detail on the Caucasus. Let's look at some of the findings in more detail.
- Satisfaction with life is relatively low in Armenia, and the old and poor tend to be most dissatisfied. Only 20% of those aged over 50 are satisfied with their lives. And among the poor, the situation is even worse: only 16% of those with lower income are satisfied with their lives. The situation is similar in Georgia, where only 12% of those aged 50-64 are satisfied with their life. By contrast, satisfaction with the economic and political situation is relatively strong in Azerbaijan, particularly among the 50- 64 age group. This seems to tally with what we saw in our own 2007 Data Initiative (although interesting to compare and contrast with Elvin Effendi's work).
- In Armenia support for democracy and a market economy is weak, with just one in four favoring a combination of the two. In Georgia, there are high levels of support for democracy, but less for a market economy, with those aged over 65 most strongly opposed to both (over 50%). In Azerbaijan, support for democracy and a market economy is high, with the middle-aged the most supportive. However, there also is little interest in the political and economic system, with four out of ten believing that the type of political/economic system does not matter.
- Azerbaijanis' trust in public institutions, especially in the presidency, government and the political parties is among the highest in the region. By contrast, trust in public institutions is very low in Armenia. The armed forces is the only public institution in Armenia that enjoys public trust.
- Georgians report a decline of corruption in the country and the frequency of “irregular payments” to the public officials is significantly lower than elsewhere in the CIS regions. “Irregular payments”, especially in the healthcare and education spheres, remain relatively high both in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
- In all three South Caucasus countries people surveyed are more optimistic about the future of their children. The optimism is significantly higher in Georgia, where almost 70% of those surveyed believe that their children’s lives will be better than their own.
The full printed report (soon in our libraries, if you find it too expensive) is written so well that it makes engaging bedtime reading. Our only huge regret is that these discussions seem not to have been carried into the relevant societies. If any donor is short of creative ideas, surely this is a way to go: let's get this data studied and analyzed locally, and let's get the discussions onto TV. (If anyone needs help with the dataset, let us know, or come to our offices.)
08.08.2015 | Saturday
CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) surveys regularly collect information about how the interviewers assess each of the conducted interviews – so called paradata that provides additional insight into the conditions surrounding the interviews (e.g., whether someone besides the respondent and the interviewer was present during the face-to-face interview), as well as interviewers’ subjective assessments of, for example, level of sincerity of the respondents.
27.07.2015 | Monday This blog post looks at the World Bank’s STEP data for Armenia and Georgia, which CRRC collected in 2013, to see how people are finding work, their confidence that they have the skills needed to find work, and how they feel their education prepares them for work.
22.06.2015 | Monday [Note: Over the next two weeks, Social Science in the Caucasus will publish the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015.]
CRRC’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) was launched in 2009 as a Carnegie Corporation initiative within the CRRC, with the goal of providing on-the-job training opportunities in applied research for young social scientists.
CRRC’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) was launched in 2009 as a Carnegie Corporation initiative within the CRRC, with the goal of providing on-the-job training opportunities in applied research for young social scientists.
03.07.2013 | Wednesday Donating, volunteering or simply helping a relative with daily chores can help strengthen communities and boost trust. Data from the 2012 Caucasus Barometer (CB) shows that helping friends and neighbors with household chores is relatively common, while volunteerism remains low in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan even though the latter is recognized as important and meaningful. A previous blog ...
13.11.2012 | Tuesday Civic engagement in the former Soviet Union has been - with some exceptions - quite low since the breakup of the USSR. Data from the 2012 Social Capital, Media and Gender Survey suggest that Azerbaijanis' trust and membership in civic groups and social organizations remain low, while efficacy in personal and local relationship...
24.04.2016 | Sunday Over time, the Georgian population thinks that citizens of the EU as well as the EU governments are less inclined towards integrating Georgia into the Union. More clarity and realism concerning Georgia’s potential for EU membership certainly could help to avoid a slow backslide towards less EU support for strong relations between Georgia and the EU in the years to come. The public should be aware that EU membership is a long-term prospect at best rather than an immediate future.
12.05.2016 | Thursday Following the first ever peaceful transition of power in Georgia’s 2012 parliamentary elections, the country improved its position in the Freedom House and Polity IV democracy rankings. Results from the latest polls, however, show that public support for democracy in Georgia has declined over the past few years.
15.05.2016 | Sunday Fearing for the children - the blog looks at how homophobic attitudes vary along gender lines taking into account whether men and women live in a household with children:
19.01.2015 | Monday
Taxi drivers tell perhaps the most telling story of Georgia’s economic transition. They often complain that the transition made their high social status useless, thus pushing them into taxi driving. This often heard and mocked complaint highlights the contrast between what is expected from and what is delivered by the labor market. This blog post shows that the taxi drivers are not entirely wrong.
22.01.2015 | Thursday This blog post examines how social status is associated with individual and household well-being
05.01.2015 | Monday This blog post draws upon official electoral statistics and public opinion survey data from the CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey to analyze expressions of civic engagement in Armenia and Georgia.
29.06.2014 | Sunday
CRRC Methodological Conference on Measuring Social Inequality in the South Caucasus and its Neighborhood
The second annual CRRC methodological conference took place on the 25th of June at Tbilisi State University. With over fifty attendees and a packed program of presentations, the conference drew together policy practitioners and researchers from the South Caucasus and beyond.
11.08.2014 | Monday
The three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) are geographically, historically and politically bound closely together. Nevertheless, these countries often find themselves in disagreement when faced with broader geopolitical questions regarding alliances, threats and visions about the future of the region.
15.09.2014 | Monday
Authors Rahmato and Kidanu (1999) use the phrase “We live only for today” to describe a feeling whereby a person gives up on life and does not know or does not want to think about what will happen the next day. This phrase describes a state wherein people live day-to-day without hope for the future. This sense of helplessness or hopelessness with regard to the future is known as fatalism.
29.09.2014 | Monday
Optimism abounds with regards to the recently signed Georgia-European Union Association Agreement (AA). Most Georgians, however, lack information about the EU and its relation to the country, including the details of the agreement which directly concern the future of Georgia’s economy. The AA covers many areas including national security, migration, human rights and the rule of law but is primarily a free trade agreement with potentially major implications for employment.
07.10.2014 | Tuesday
A recent CRRC regional blog post analyzed the presence of fatalism in Georgia. The post cited CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) data which shows that in 2013, 28% of Georgians agreed that “everything in life is determined by fate.” While the CB findings demonstrate that a sizeable portion of the adult population is fatalistic about the future, Georgians are increasingly likely to see that future in a positive light, whether it be determined by fate or not.
28.03.2016 | Monday
While territorial integrity was named by the majority of the population as the most important issue facing Georgia in late 2008 and 2009, in the aftermath of the 2008 war with Russia, the focus has since shifted to economic issues and, first of all, unemployment.
13.10.2014 | Monday
Does having more free time mean that you can do more? According to the 2013 CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey, the answer is not that simple. Being unemployed may mean that you have more time at your disposal, but it may also mean that you have fewer opportunities to get involved and resources to use for various activities than those who work. This blog looks at activities people get involved in and describes the differences between those who have a job and those who do not.
13.11.2014 | Thursday
This is the second blog post in a series analyzing homophobia in Tbilisi. The first blog post in this series can be found here.
Who tends to be more homophobic in Tbilisi – men or women? This blog post explores differences in homophobic attitudes between males and females using data from CRRC-Georgia’s survey of Tbilisi residents on the events of May 17, 2013, and shows that men tend to be more homophobic than women. Moreover, the findings show that men are more homophobic when they believe that homosexuality is inborn, rather than acquired.
17.11.2014 | Monday
20.11.2014 | Thursday
27.11.2014 | Thursday
The CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey results demonstrate that Georgians exhibit relatively high levels of interpersonal and institutional trust when compared to their Armenian neighbors. Trust is an important component of “social capital,” which is widely perceived to be a necessary condition for a thriving entrepreneurial class and small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
04.12.2014 | Thursday
As discussed in the first blog post of this series, the results of the CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey show that Georgians demonstrate higher levels of interpersonal and institutional trust than Armenians. These types of trust are important indicators of social capital, which is often taken as a necessary condition for the presence of a robust, productive entrepreneurial class and small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
09.11.2015 | Monday
After the collapse of the Georgian economy in the 1990s, the country slowly started to recover, and between 2000 and 2014, the gross national income grew from $3.4 billion to $16.7 billion (in current USD). According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the official unemployment rate in Georgia was 12.4% in 2014, but according to numerous surveys the rate is much higher.
28.12.2015 | Monday
[In this last blog post of 2015, CRRC Researcher Tamuna Khoshtaria reflects on one the most important aspects of Georgian society – people to rely on, i.e. relatives, friends, neighbors.]
When I was studying in Germany, the dormitory’s housekeeper told me: ‘I have seen students of many nations coming here to live, and many of them were homesick at some point, but for Georgians, it has always been the hardest to live abroad.’
12.01.2012 | Thursday
In the wake of Russian protests for free and fair elections— one of the hallmarks of democracy— the international community has again turned its attention on democratization in the post-Soviet region. Democracy, in its various forms, represents something different to everyone. So what does it mean for Georgians? Do Georgians consider Georgia to be a democratic state in its present form? What are their perceptions of democracy?
15.02.2012 | Wednesday
Widespread apathy and a general disbelief that good can come from joint effort is a major factor hindering social capital in Georgia. One indicator of apathy can be fatalism, meaning the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. This blog explores the level of political fatalism in Georgia and how it is connected to Georgians’ perceptions of the country’s current political course and democracy.
22.02.2012 | Wednesday
We have previously worked on social capital, and this issue recently was taken up by the Caucasus Anylatical Digest. The issue discusses the concept of social capital and its relevance to the societies of the South Caucasus.
24.02.2012 | Friday
Most CRRC users know about our Online Data Analysis tool, ODA. It is easy to use, continues to be popular, and in less than a year we have had nearly 70.000 charts generated.
14.03.2012 | Wednesday
Why hasn’t the economic crisis in Europe deterred Georgia’s desire to join the European Union? The majority of Georgians (and the Georgian government) want to join the EU despite crisis in the Eurozone. Yet, the continued crisis, including the Eurogroup’s recent (and second) rescue of Greece’s economy and Hungary’s harsh austerity measures, illustrates that the crisis is not isolated to the Eurozone.
09.02.2011 | Wednesday
In February 11, 2011, the CRRC-Azerbaijan office launched the third stage of its Junior Research Fellowship Program, funded by the Open Society Institute Think-Tank Fund. Fifteen selected participants will attend the next round of extensive trainings that will prepare them for writing public policy papers.
12.02.2011 | Saturday
CRRC has conducted a research project on access to justice in Central Asia. The project includes nationwide surveys in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, focus groups and in-depth interviews. We will be presenting the results in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 15, 2010, in case any of our readers are in the region.
17.03.2011 | Thursday
Under which conditions would IDPs be willing to return to Abkhazia? Should past injustices be addressed or left alone? What do IDPs consider the main reasons for the outbreak of the war in the early 1990s? The research project “IDPs in Georgia”, conducted by CRRC for Conciliation Resource (CR) with the financial support of the European Commission’s Instrument for Stability, provide insight to these questions and many more.
19.03.2011 | Saturday
How do multimedia phones affect the way media is consumed and circulated? Katy Pearce lays out interesting findings for the case of Armenia in the International Journal of Communication (5, 2011, pp. 511-528).
07.04.2011 | Thursday
What are the social, political and economic attitudes of people in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan? Do Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis think employment or territorial integrity is the most important issue facing their respective countries? How do they judge the fairness of elections or media independence? How trusting or supportive are they of the European Union, NATO membership or local institutions?
05.05.2011 | Thursday
CRRC conducted a survey on political and economic attitudes in Georgia for the National Democratic Institute (NDI), funded by the Swedish International development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The fieldwork of the survey took place in March, 2011 and surveyed 2,893 respondents in Georgia. The survey covered the issues of public importance, perceptions and attitudes toward democracy and ongoing reforms, as well as various domestic and foreign affairs.
10.05.2011 | Tuesday
CRRC is happy to announce its new Online Data Analysis (ODA) program! Crunching numbers from CRRC surveys is now easier than ever.
10.05.2011 | Tuesday By Tamar Zurabishvili
In September 2009, CRRC conducted a baseline survey on the Georgian media landscape within the scope of an EU-funded project entitled, “Strengthening the Media's Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia”, implemented by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation.
11.05.2011 | Wednesday
By Sarrah Bechor
CRRC recently completed its 8th annual Caucasus Barometer survey, gathering data about perceptions of trust, livelihood and social realities during face-to-face interviews in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Some of the results from these countries have been compared to results from 22 other countries that were surveyed as part of the 2010 Pew Global Attitudes Project Survey.
24.05.2011 | Tuesday
With the upcoming World Blood Donor Day on June, 14, the question about current attitudes towards blood donation in the South Caucasus is worth examining. While there are considerable efforts in all three countries to increase donation rates and improve blood screening, donation rates remain below 1%, according to WHO data for Armenia and Georgia, and thereby stand at the lower end in international comparison.
13.06.2011 | Monday
We have previously highlighted the research on social capital that CRRC has undertaken with the generous support of USAID. As we said at the time, and have argued in subsequent presentations, social capital is a missing link in Georgia. Its absence impedes social, economic and political development.
29.06.2012 | Friday In 2011 CRRC conducted a survey on Volunteering and Civic Participation in Georgia. A part of this survey aimed at exploring relationships between neighbours. The results indicate that the relationships between neighbours in Georgia can be a promising starting point for building social capital and achieving improved housing conditions through collaboration.
07.10.2011 | Friday
Using data from the Caucasus Barometer, Ken Roberts and Gary Pollock argue that ...
14.10.2011 | Friday
Last year, Ani Navasardyan asked, “Why do so many Armenians leave Armenia?” Migration is also an issue in Georgia and Azerbaijan. Data from the CB 2010 reveals that around half of the respondents in Georgia (47%) and Azerbaijan (52%) are interested in temporary migration. Still, Armenia stands out since 64% of the adult population is open to the idea of temporarily leaving the country.
16.10.2011 | Sunday
CRRC’s report “How Does the South Caucasus Compare?” aims to put attitudes towards gender in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the three countries of the South Caucasus region, into a global context.
02.11.2011 | Wednesday
Continuing to explore standards of living in the South Caucasus, this blog looks at the between four sources of household income and material deprivation using data from the 2010 Caucasus Barometer. Each of the four sources of income (salaries, pensions or government transfers, sales from agricultural goods, and remittances) are categorized by their importance to the household and then cross tabulated with material deprivation. The findings suggest that families reliant on salaries and remittances are better off, while families receiving pensions and government transfers, or those who sell agricultural products as their primary source of income have higher than average rates of material deprivation.
07.12.2011 | Wednesday
The 20th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union is upon us, and US-Russian tensions have risen as Russia contemplates terminating the NATO supply route through Russia. International news reports such as The New York Times detail the threat as a “death blow” to the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan and indicate that this could be a blessing in disguise for NATO hopeful Georgia, as well as for Azerbaijan.
14.01.2010 | Thursday
How are Georgians doing financially, how much do they earn and what do they spend on? CRRC’s Data Initiative allows for an in-depth analysis of these and similar issues on the economic status of the population across the South Caucasus.
25.01.2010 | Monday
What are the reasons for low public engagement in the South Caucasus? Why, despite the large number of non-government organizations, civil society remains weak in all three countries?
10.02.2010 | Wednesday
Wondering what Georgians do in their free time? Do they read, listen to music, go to cinemas and theatres, stay at home and spend time with their families, watch TV, or just sleep?
12.02.2010 | Friday
It is often stated that life in a city is fundamentally different from that in rural areas. In the West, village life is said to be more intimate, and its inhabitants more caring about their peers, with strong ties between neighbors and family members. Can this also be said in the South Caucasus? After all, family relations and friendships are supposed to be strong in countries like Georgia. Do these ties reach into the cities, erasing the difference between strong social networks in rural areas and the more anonymous, independent urban setting?
15.03.2010 | Monday
Migration is a major factor in Georgia. Many Georgians live abroad, and by some estimates the money they send back accounts for nearly 10% of Georgia’s GDP. Did you know that households in rural areas who receive such aid are less likely to be poor, but that in Tbilisi, the opposite is true?
30.03.2010 | Tuesday
In 2007 we wrote a blog post on the Big Mac Index, an index published by The Economist as an informal way of measuring purchasing power parity (PPP). The idea is that a dollar should buy you the same amount in all countries, and as a Big Mac is assumed to be produced in the same way everywhere it can serve as a point of comparison. You can thus determine how far off the exchange rate is between countries, in terms of citizens’ ability to buy the same “basket” of goods and services (in this case a Big Mac hamburger).
03.05.2010 | Monday
During the last two decades, Georgia has created new government institutions designed to serve as the tools and safeguards of democracy. But do Georgians believe that these institutions live up to their mission statements? How much do Georgians trust government institutions, and which factors influence the public’s attitudes toward them?
18.05.2010 | Tuesday
The CRRC’s annual Data Initiative Survey will be renamed into the Caucasus Barometer starting from 2010. At CRRC, we think that the new name better reflects the essence of the survey and is more understandable for the general public and the journalists.
30.05.2010 | Sunday
In running an election-day survey (not an exit poll, which we are not so enthused about), we have decided to attempt something new: we are now aggregating the information via SMS. This gives us the information in real time, and the data will be available for immediate analysis the moment the last SMS has been received.
31.10.2010 | Sunday
So! Our SMS project worked quite well. Critical to its success was the systematic error control early in the day. Our interviewers still made a fair number of mistakes in the early morning. It was the first time we introduced this system, and transferring the number correctly to SMS requires significant attention to detail.
16.06.2010 | Wednesday
In winter 2008, CRRC together with the American Councils conducted some research on the ways foreigners learn languages in Georgia. Hans Gutbrod and Malte Viefhues have recently published a paper in CRIA, analyzing the results and providing interesting insights into incentives to language learning and the importance of Georgian and Russian for foreigners in the country.
17.06.2010 | Thursday
By Jesse Tatum and Vazha Burduli
From environmental catastrophe to violence, our world currently faces serious challenges with long-term consequences. In this context, what do people in the Caucasus consider to be the most acute problems?
From environmental catastrophe to violence, our world currently faces serious challenges with long-term consequences. In this context, what do people in the Caucasus consider to be the most acute problems?
Regarding the greatest threats to the world today, the spread of nuclear weapons and poverty are foremost on the minds of people in the South Caucasus, according to the 2009 CB.
20.06.2010 | Sunday
Looking at the recent data from the Global Attitudes Project of the Pew Research Center, we came across a curious survey item. Who do people across the world think will win the World Cup?
02.07.2010 | Friday
Freedom House has just released its Nations in Transit report for the year 2010. The report attempts to quantify democratic development in Central European and Eurasian states by observing 8 separate factors – for instance, Electoral Process and National Democratic Governance - which affect the level of democracy in a given country. Each category is graded on a score of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress, and 7 representing the lowest. Much of the media attention has typically focused on Russia.
22.07.2010 | Thursday
Following an article on Georgians’ attitudes toward Russia, CRRC Fellows Therese Svensson and Julia Hon have written a new piece for CAD, entitled “Attitudes toward the West in the South Caucasus”. Their article looks at citizens’ views on three areas of relations — political, economic and cultural — between the South Caucasus and the West, in particular NATO, the US and the EU. The data were derived from the South Caucasus–wide 2007 and 2008 Data Initiatives (DI), as well as from the 2009 EU survey that was conducted in Georgia.
05.08.2010 | Thursday
The 2010 Georgian Constitutional Reform in the Eyes of the Public report is now available. As a product of the study commissioned by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and carried out by CRRC-Georgia, it presents the results of the opinion survey on constitutional and governance processes and their development in Georgia.
08.08.2010 | Sunday
What are the patterns in how the respondents are rated by the interviewers? The relevance of this question is beyond doubt, as patterns in such ratings allow for an idea of the reliability of the data as well as for more general insights into the settings in which interviewers are gathering data. Relevant data has been gathered in the Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey for years, enabling us to analyze the impressions that interviewers have gained during their work in the South Caucasus.
23.08.2010 | Monday
Over the last few weeks and months, we have regularly posted updates about what's going on, and where we stumbled on information we thought was interesting. We think these are useful contributions: small snippets, searchable, easy to find through Google, and a way for us at CRRC to think about synthesizing complex research into a handful of paragraphs. Note some of the emerging themes, such as the question of life satisfaction.
25.08.2010 | Wednesday
When presenting our work, or talking about it informally, we are asked fairly similar questions: do you do your interviewing in all of the country? How do you select the respondents? How do you know they are not lying to you? Are people willing to say things critical of the government? How do you design a questionnaire?
27.08.2010 | Friday
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center showing that 18% of Americans think that US President Barack Obama is Muslim, and that a further 43% respond that they don't know what religion the President practices, has raised discussions about the level of political knowledge in democracies. Indeed, Newsweek has published a slideshow showing dumb things that Americans believe.
10.09.2010 | Friday
While writing his PhD, Aleksey Hovakimyan was a regular user of CRRC-Armenia, often working in the computer lab or the library. We therefore were delighted to hear that his PhD thesis has now been published, and wanted to support him in spreading the word of his book's release.
24.09.2010 | Friday These are the CRRC Georgia team members who work hard on the numbers we usually present!
05.10.2010 | Tuesday
The recently updated database of the World Governance Indicators (WGI) shows an improvement in Armenia’s ranking in political stability, fight against corruption, government effectiveness and regulatory quality. A project of World Bank and Brookings Institution, WGI provides governance ranking of over 200 countries since 1996 on six indicators: Voice of Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption.
06.10.2010 | Wednesday
External migration from Georgia since its independence in 1991 has significantly influenced the shape and dynamics of modern Georgia. For instance, almost everyone in Georgia knows at least someone who has migrated. Entire families are supported by remittances sent home and entire communities have been altered by these movements. Georgia's supply of labor, particularly highly skilled labor, has also been significantly affected.
06.10.2010 | Wednesday Q: What’s the difference between a survey and a census?
08.10.2010 | Friday
A particularly intriguing talk at TEDxYerevan was given by Tim Straight, Honorary Consul of Norway and Finland to Armenia. Is the Caucasus in Europe or in Asia? Tim highlighted that there are five countries that defy easy categorization: Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and also Turkey. Tim explores how the dividing lines fall according to corporations, mapmakers and values.
10.10.2010 | Sunday
We recently undertook a small online survey of PhD students at Georgia's two major universities. This comes at a time when significant programs and support are already available to Georgian PhD students: CSS is launching a new PhD program, ASCN is offering significant research opportunities, the US Embassy will launch a program with Ilia State University, and now there is CARTI as a further opportunity.
01.02.2008 | Friday
The alpha version of our Data Initiative data set, broad household data, covering lots of household data, but also political attitudes, social development, some health, education, migration, and social capital questions (and more) is online now. We interviewed more than 8000 people, so this really is the single largest dataset that is available on developments across the South Caucasus.
22.02.2008 | Friday
Many of our readers know of both our quibbles with indexes, but also our steadfastness when it comes to posting about them. The Bertelsmann Foundation released its trademark index, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) (PDF), which according to its producers, is "the global ranking of the quality of democracy, the market economy and political leadership in 125 developing and transformation countries."
27.02.2008 | Wednesday
Readers here may not be aware that actually our Armenian CRRC also runs its own blog, to announce and describe CRRC's events. One of the most recent events was a lecture by the IMF Resident Representative in Armenia, Dr. Nienke Oomes.
21.03.2008 | Friday
Corporate Social Responsibility, a fashionable issue, is becoming a topic in the South Caucasus as well. CRRC research fellow, Giorgi Meladze, explored Georgian corporations’ generosity in his research undertaken in 2006.
31.03.2008 | Monday
Brookings Index of Regime Weakness | State Rebuilding or State Collapse in the Caucasus | The Annals of Data
Yet another index was released recently -- Brookings Index of State Weakness in the Developing World. One professor of mine in graduate school, who was a veteran hot spot worker, related that all of the conflict professionals keep their eye on this map to see where they are going next. In this year's version of the index, however, it's where they already are: Somalia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq top the list.
01.04.2008 | Tuesday
We have recently conducted 20 focus groups across Georgia. (More on the content later.)
Here are some basic tips and tricks we found useful.
Here are some basic tips and tricks we found useful.
11.04.2008 | Friday
A previous blog entry on Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Meta-Index, as you may recall, presented Georgia’s performance. For those who do not know, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) uses data from the research of various organizations such as the IFC, the World Bank Institute, UNESCO, Freedom House and others. Millennium Challenge Corporation recently released an assessment through its annual scorecard, which has three main policy categories: Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Economic Freedom.
15.04.2008 | Tuesday
A slightly specialized topic: what's the cost of tourism? Often suggested as a way of developing parts of the South Caucasus, especially Georgia, quickly, it's interesting to take a quick look, since in tourism many factors interact: business, environment, architecture, urban planning, societal habits, local versus national government, local and foreign expectations, and the challenge of reconciling all of those.
17.04.2008 | Thursday
Richard Rose, a renowned specialists in the field of Social Capital, is currently visiting Georgia to deliver trainings at CRRC. He offered a public lecture setting out the case for conducting surveys, and entitled "Counting People Helps Make People Count". Not that we needed convincing, but we still enjoyed the way the argument was set out.
03.05.2008 | Saturday
06.05.2008 | Tuesday
Sometimes it's worth clicking on those Gmail links. "Ask 500" is a website in beta, the web version of a straw poll. Polling? Surveys? Obviously I wanted to know more. To say it up front: it's about as unrepresentative as you can get, since it assembles those that suffer from terminal curiosity.
21.05.2008 | Wednesday
With today's elections in Georgia, various themes come to mind. Certainly, elections have come a long way: by now, the Georgian government employs a series of highly qualified consultants, including Greenberg Quinlan Rosner of Clinton-fame, plus a Brussels-based PR firm, as well as working with experienced teams from the Baltics. This, then, is no longer the game of the 1990s, or 2003. Election observers know that they in turn will be observed, and maybe that's how it should be.
22.05.2008 | Thursday
So the preliminary report on yesterday's Parliamentary Elections which ODIHR has just released again notes that the count had problems.
27.05.2008 | Tuesday
Recently, the Georgian Times published an article on a poll recently conducted by GORBI of Georgian Troops in Iraq. According to the article, this is the first poll conducted amongst these soldiers.
06.06.2008 | Friday
At first glance it may seem that trade between the Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti and the neighboring Armenian region of Shirak should provide a natural basis for development in both regions. However, the main border crossing point in Samtskhe Javakheti is under-utilized and trade is not creating stimulation for growth in either region.
12.06.2008 | Thursday
Yet another survey has been sent around as a PDF in Georgia. The survey attempted to measure the postelection mood in Tbilisi. According to the information provided in the PDF, 503 respondents have been selected randomly and interviewed by telephone. According to the results 46.92% of respondents say they "fully disagree with the announced results of the 2008 parliamentary elections". 25,65% say they totally agree with the announced results. We have been asked to comment, and some of the things we have to say will sound pretty obvious.
18.06.2008 | Wednesday
Data snapshot: how do religious practices compare across the Caucasus? In our Data Initiative, we included questions on religion, and we tried to unpack the concept further: rather than only asking about the importance of religion, we linked it to practice. Thus, we asked how often people attend religious services, how often they pray, and how often they fast -- since these are comparable components across Muslim and two separate orthodox religions.
24.06.2008 | Tuesday
Last week we gave a snapshot of religious practices across the South Caucasus in general. The CRRC DI gives us an opportunity to explore this topic further and see whether religious practices are only country specific, or whether there are other factors influencing them. Let’s see if gender is a defining factor in religious practices in the South Caucasus.
30.06.2008 | Monday
Given the recent craze over UEFA football and the large number of diehard football fans across the Caucasus, I think the question about the politics of support is worth addressing. It can provide interesting insights into both cultural and political affinities -- much like Eurovision support -- except with a different demographic. We have limited information here, so the blog cries out for help!
03.07.2008 | Thursday
What is the average Armenian secondary school student’s competence in Maths and Science? Is Armenia doing fine, or is it time for the education policy makers to review the secondary school curricula. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) proposes an answer to these questions. TIMSS is an international evaluation of the mathematics and science knowledge of fourth and eighth grade students around the world.
07.07.2008 | Monday
Explore issues - handle data - satisfy your curiosity - get published - generate opportunities
CRRC is offering a round of research fellowships. Are you curious about a social issue? Do you have some ideas or hypotheses that you want to explore further? This fellowship could be the perfect opportunity for you!
09.07.2008 | Wednesday
Recently, we happened upon an article that talks about the use of Russian across the Caucasus. Is Russian becoming obsolete? According to the article, some Georgian politicians suggest this is the case. At the same time, the article points out that the uptake of English is too slow to replace Russian as a lingua franca.
22.07.2008 | Tuesday
The CRRC Data Initiative (DI) gives people an opportunity to do interesting cross-country comparisons of the South Caucasus (SC) people’s attitude toward their neighbors. This subject is quite sensitive and complex when thinking of the fact that the SC stands out for its sequence of ethnic conflicts.
30.07.2008 | Wednesday
As many of you may have heard, this week saw the launch of a competitor to Google. Cuil, which apparently is an old Irish word for knowledge, has been set up by several former Googlists and promises a search that's more oriented on content, and says it can do a more comprehensive job in the ever-expanding worldwide web.
04.08.2008 | Monday
Women’s participation at all levels of elections in Georgia is diminishing. As the Caucasus Women’s Network (CWN)reports, women inGeorgia were less represented in terms of candidates in the last parliamentary elections than in any previous parliamentary elections inGeorgia’s democratic history. On the other hand, women’s low political participation in elected bodies belies women’s activeness in civil society institutions, where females appear to be very active.
05.09.2008 | Friday
Georgian IPResearch (first time we heard of them, actually) conducted a phone poll between Aug.25 and Sept.2. 450 respondents were questioned countrywide. While we have our strong reservations about these telephone polls (they are biased towards people with phones, picking up calls from strangers, and bored enough to chat), they may serve as a preliminary indication.
09.09.2008 | Tuesday
Corruption remains an endemic feature in the region, outside Georgia. No wonder, then, that it continues to receive considerable attention from organizations and donors. Currently, we are being asked to run a survey (we will publish details on that later). How do you do this? Not all of this research is intuitive. Here are a couple of examples of what can go wrong, taken from the draft questionnaire we were given.
12.09.2008 | Friday
Results of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2009 project, claims to present "objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 181 economies and selected cities at the sub-national and regional level", were made public today.
12.09.2008 | Friday
Over the past year questionable lending practices by major banks and lack of consumer education about credit risk in the United States among “sub-prime” borrowers caused a credit crunch that in turn erupted into a major financial crisis that threatens to lead to a recession and an international economic downturn.
17.09.2008 | Wednesday
How do urban Russians view the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia? From September, 5th-8th, 2008 the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada conducted a survey in ten big cities of the Russian Federation, interviewing 1000 Russian respondents. We have translated the results into English here, as they are only available in the original Russian on the Levada website.
23.09.2008 | Tuesday
As last year, we again went to the annual conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS). This year, it was held at Georgetown University. CESS conference focuses on issues that pertain to Central Eurasia (from the Kurds to the Mongols). What makes this conference attractive, then, is its geographical focus, and that it brings scholars together from a broad array of disciplines: demographers, sociologists, political scientists, ethnographers, linguists, historians, as well as a scattering of other niche groups.
24.09.2008 | Wednesday
Interested in urban development? Want to know how outsiders describe the urban experience of Baku? Two young researchers from Germany have set up a blog to follow their project in tracking changes in Baku. Oriana Kraemer and Sebastian Burger take photographs, attend lectures, and comment on what they observe. Given the inflow of sudden wealth, Baku witnesses comprehensive change. A great project, therefore.
26.09.2008 | Friday
And here is an update on Russian views, made available by the Levada Center on the 22nd of September. As previously stated, this indicates that Russian public opinion generally supports the government's course.
02.10.2008 | Thursday
In Georgia, attention now turns towards sorting out the impact of the short August conflict. How plausible is the reporting we are seeing? Do the journalists get it right?
18.12.2007 | Tuesday With the election in Georgia approaching fast, polls are beginning to appear every week. Unfortunately, many of these polls are taken at face value. The reality is that at this point there is not a single pre-election poll that has demonstrated credibility. This does not ...
03.10.2008 | Friday
Recently, as a result of the football diplomacy between Armenia and Turkey, an opinion poll was conducted in both Turkey and Armenia to gauge the reaction to new gestures in the Turko-Armenian relationship. The poll was carried out by MetroPoll in Ankara (Turkish only website) and by the Armenian Center for National and International Studies -- run by Rafik Hovannisian an American Diaspora Armenian now resident in Yerevan and involved in Armenian politics.
03.10.2008 | Friday
The IMF has recently published its analysis of the developments in non-oil tax policy, administration and revenues in Azerbaijan. Non-oil tax policy could be an important tool in stimulating the development of non-oil sectors of the country’s economy.
07.10.2008 | Tuesday
So what plagues local business? In many cases it's the same problem we have in politics as well: there simply is the wrong paradigm. It is self-centered, rather than being other-centered. Or, if that sounds too much like marriage counseling, let's put it this way: too many sellers try to solve their own problems, rather than those of other people. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not how you can succeed in a market. After all, who likes to spend their money on other people's problems? Charity is not a business model, at least not in retail.
09.10.2008 | Thursday
Unemployment clearly is one of the pressing issues in the South Caucasus. But there is a lack of reliable data on people being without and looking for a job. This blog, based on CRRC’s Data Initiative 2007, provides a snapshot on these numbers.
11.12.2007 | Tuesday The World Resources Institute, a global environmental think tank based in Washington DC, is providing maps that allow a visual comparison of data for the countries in the South Caucasus. Called "Funnel the Money", it seeks to chart development within countries, and also track allocation of resources from the central government by providing regional comparisons.
20.10.2008 | Monday
What's the level of engagement in the three countries of the South Caucasus? Are people involved? Are they staying abreast of what goes on? Again, our Data Initiative provides insight, since we asked people whether they had engaged in various activities over the last six months
23.10.2008 | Thursday
So here's something that we are a little puzzled about. The Economist is undertaking a poll to see which American Presidential candidate is favored by the world. In a very blue worldwide map, rooting for Obama, two noticeable yellowish spots, Macedonia and Georgia. McCain, of course, is popular in Georgia for having said "Today we all are Georgians" during the recent conflict.
27.10.2008 | Monday
Yet another index, and one with little happy news. How does world press freedom look? Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group founded in 1985 ("investigate, expose, support"), has just released an international ranking. A total of 173 countries are ranked, and the Caucasus is in the bottom third.
29.10.2008 | Wednesday
Earlier this year CRRC-Georgia conducted a survey “Public Opinion on the Parliament in Georgia” for Transparency International. CRRC used a random walk methodology for the household selection and Kish table for the individual respondents with the sample size of 1895 respondents (1538 completed interviews; 19% non-response).
31.10.2008 | Friday
Public schools in Yerevan face serious problems of restructuring. Most of the schools have not been renovated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Does economic well-being affect the level of social capital in the neighborhood? Are the neighborhoods with higher social capital more likely to be willing to participate in school renovations?
08.11.2008 | Saturday
World Public Opinion is the initiative of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland that explores public opinion on a variety of topics in 25 countries across the globe, including Azerbaijan, the only South Caucasus country represented in the survey. Russia and Ukraine are the other two former USSR countries that the project includes.
13.11.2008 | Thursday
Indices are engaging and instructive, but some really baffle us. The World Economic Forum (WEF), the organisation that organises the annual high-profile Davos meetings, has come up with a gender index, and the Caucasus is featured. The index is intended to measure how the world is closing the gender gap in education, health, and political and economic participation. In principle, this is a great idea, since there are significant challenges and discrepancies (as our data itself shows).
28.11.2008 | Friday
What's the balance sheet of the Rose Revolution so far? There is agreement that there has been tremendous progress in some fields. The economy has grown, street-level corruption has evaporated, and in many other instances the state functions for the people.
05.12.2008 | Friday
In June Freedom House released its 2008 annual Nations in Transit Report covering January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007. The Nations in Transit Report covers the democratic performance of the former Soviet Union, the former Soviet satellite states and the former Yugoslavia.
04.12.2006 | Monday
Anastasia Kitiashvili used CRRC's 2004 Data Initiative to study attitudes to education. Unsurprisingly, a higher education degree is not a guarantee for employment. In Georgia, about 27% of those with higher education remain unemployed. In Azerbaijan, it is about 18% and in Armenia 17%.
10.12.2006 | Sunday The Georgian Research Institute on Addictions (GRIA) in 2003 conducted a survey of about 700 students in Tbilisi's universities.
03.12.2007 | Monday With upcoming elections in Georgia, the attention is back on a theme that otherwise often gets neglected: what does the Georgian electorate want?
19.11.2007 | Monday With all the attention on Georgia, it may be interesting to revisit Georgia's most recent performance as seen by international organizations. As it happens, the Millennium Challenge Corporation offers a such an assessment through its annual scorecard, just released last week. This scorecard is a meta-index, drawing on data from the World Bank Institute, Freedom House, IFC, WHO, UNESCO and a few other organizations.
22.12.2006 | Friday
Diana Ter-Stepanyan evaluated the effectiveness of the civic education training program implemented in Armenian high schools (upper grades of secondary schools). She conducted a quantitative (questionnaire based) survey among 494tenth grade schoolchildren from all of Armenia’s regions to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of “Human Rights,” “Civil Society” and “State and Law” courses offered since 2001 in the scope of the civic education program in the schools.
27.08.2007 | Monday
Two years ago, Tigran Sargsyan, the Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia, wrote a brief paper looking at various facets of the economies of the countries of the South Caucasus from four different vantage points including an evaluation of compliance with the Maastricht Treaty, the relationship between each country’s economic processes and the creation of human capital, macroeconomic effectiveness, and the actual sustainability of development.
20.08.2007 | Monday Economic free zones in Georgia are no longer a necessary, helpful, or even relevant option for Georgia’s economic development according to a GFSIS article written by Vladimer Papava. A free economic zone is a discreet area of a country’s economy designated by the government and bestowed with certain benefits and privileges.
08.05.2017 | Monday In Georgia, where, according to the World Bank, a third of the population live on under USD 2.5 per day, poverty and unemployment are consistently considered the most important issues facing the country. For those who are struggling financially, borrowing is a widespread coping mechanism. While access to credit can have benefits, debt can also have psychological costs, such as increased stress and anxiety. CRRC’s 2015 Caucasus Barometer (CB) data show interesting patterns about having personal debts in Georgia. The first part of this blog post focuses on the characteristics of those who report having personal debts in Georgia, while the second part looks at the money lending patterns, as well as reported well-being of people who are owed money or who borrow it
15.05.2017 | Monday The first part of this blog post showed that people who report being in a worse economic situation are more likely to have debts in Georgia. In the second part of this blog post, a new variable is added to the analysis, “Does anyone owe you any money?”
24.05.2017 | Wednesday ვინ არიან ე.წ. "ხიშნიკები"? როგორ გაჩნდნენ ისინი საქალაქთაშორისო ტრანსპორტის სფეროში და რა დადებითი და უარყოფითი მხარეები აქვს მათ ყოფნას ბაზარზე?
16.10.2017 | Monday
Visa liberalization: How much do people in Georgia know about the conditions of visa-free travel to the EU?CRRC’s previous blog posts have shown that the population of Georgia had rather moderate expectations of the recent visa liberalization with the Schengen zone countries, especially when it comes to the question of how much ordinary people will benefit from it. Europe Foundation’s latest survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia, conducted in May 2017, provides a more nuanced understanding on how people in Georgia feel about this process and to what extent they are familiar with the conditions of visa liberalization.
23.10.2017 | Monday Why do people take the time to respond to surveys in Georgia? A telephone survey experiment CRRC-Georgia carried out in May 2017 suggests that small financial incentives may actually discourage people from participating in surveys. This finding suggests people may respond to surveys for intrinsic (e.g. because they are curious or want to help) rather than extrinsic reasons (e.g. doing something for the money).
13.11.2017 | Monday Georgian parliament recently adopted constitutional amendments. Among the many changes were those regulating the sale of agricultural land. According to the amendments, “Agricultural land, as a resource of special importance, can only be owned by the state, a self-governing entity, a citizen of Georgia, or a union of Georgian citizens.” While the constitution allows for exceptions, which should be regulated by a law yet to be written, it is expected that foreigners will not be allowed to buy agricultural land in Georgia as freely as Georgian citizens. This blog post looks at public opinion about foreigners owning land in Georgia.
27.11.2017 | Monday Professionalism, honesty, and fair competition are important in any institution. Yet, incidents involving corruption, nepotism and/or a lack of professionalism are sometimes reported in the Georgian media when the work of local government bodies is covered. How does the public perceive local government? This blog post describes data from the June 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, which show that a majority of people in Georgia thought that there were problems with nepotism and a lack of professionalism in local government. Moreover, roughly half of the population thought that their local government also faces a problem with corruption.
29.01.2018 | Monday This week, 2017 Caucasus Barometer survey (CB) data will become publicly available on CRRC's online data analysis portal. CB is the longest running survey project in the South Caucasus region, with data available from 2008 to present. It enables the comparison of trends in the region over time. Caucasus Barometer 2017 was carried out in Armenia and Georgia in Fall 2017. To view the data for both countries or download the data sets, check our online data analysis platform from February 1.
12.02.2018 | Monday What are the factors that help one get a good job? The question is important around the world, and arguably even more important in countries with high reported unemployment, like Georgia and Armenia. While it would require an in-depth study of the labor market of a given country to find out what actually helps a person get a good job, what people think about this issue is also interesting. CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey asked the population of Armenia and Georgia which factors where important for getting a good job in their country.
19.03.2018 | Monday The UN estimates the number of international migrants worldwide to be on the rise. Academics and policy makers continue to pay considerable attention to drivers of international migration, i.e. the factors that cause people to move from their home country, either temporarily or permanently. While a significant body of scholarship exists on the structural ‘push’ factors of international migration, such as limited economic opportunities, poverty, poor governance, or war in migrants’ home countries, interpersonal factors are no less important in shaping migration. This blog post investigates the latter, seeking to examine how individuals in Georgia with and without close friends and family living abroad differ in their willingness to emigrate from the country temporarily.
28.05.2018 | Monday People in Georgia consistently name unemployment as the main problem the country faces. Women, compared with men, report having a job less often. Based on CRRC/NDI December 2017 survey findings, this blog post presents the population’s perceptions of some of the issues that women in Georgia face that may partially explain women’s lower labor force participation rate.
10.09.2018 | Monday On July 21, 2018 Georgian legislators approved an accumulative pension scheme, after years of discussion. As one of the requirements of the new law, employees with contracts who are under the age of 40 have to contribute 2% of their remuneration to the state-run pension fund, on a monthly basis. Although other employees are not legally required to do so, they may participate in the scheme voluntarily. This law is a first step in a larger reform of Georgia’s pension system. Opposition politicians have criticized the new law citing that it counters the country’s constitution as it introduces a new tax without a referendum. Several civil society groups also expressed criticism of the reform, questioning its legitimacy.
18.09.2018 | Tuesday On surveys, sometimes the questions asked are hard for some people to answer. As a result, the answer option “Don’t know” is a regular part of any survey dataset. But are some questions particularly likely to elicit these responses? This blog post uses un-weighted 2017 CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey data for Georgia to look at this question.
21.01.2019 | Monday Georgia’s state budget amounted to GEL 12.5 billion in 2018. The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs; Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure; and Ministry of Education and Science had the largest appropriations at 28.2% (GEL 3.528 billion), 14.5% (GEL 1.815 billion), and 9.5% (GEL 1.186 billion) of the budget, respectively. In the 2018 June CRRC/NDI survey, respondents were asked, “What are your top three priorities for spending, understanding it means cutting elsewhere?” Respondents were provided with a show card and allowed to name up to three answers. This blog post looks at whether responses match up with actual spending, and how priorities vary among different demographic groups.
25.02.2019 | Monday Are there variables that predict who is likely to report “Don’t know” or to refuse to answer survey questions more often in Georgia? This blog post looks at this question, using un-weighted Caucasus Barometer 2017 (CB) data for Georgia.
17.06.2019 | Monday The terms ‘gender equality’ and ‘feminism’ are increasingly used in public discourse in Georgia. In 2010, Georgia passed a law on gender equality. Popular TV shows often discuss the topic, and Georgia’s Public Defender reports on the issue. Yet, survey data shows that Georgians often appear not to understand what gender equality means.
15.07.2019 | Monday The most recent NDI polling showed a decline in the direction the country was heading. Though not the direct cause by any means, the growing sense that Georgia is going in the wrong direction was likely an enabling factor for the protests that erupted in June and have continued through July in Tbilisi. The CRRC-NDI survey has tracked the direction people think the country is headed over the last decade. While numerous factors affect people’s perceptions of where the country is going, a number of events including elections and the devaluation of the Georgian Lari against the US Dollar appear to show up in CRRC-Georgia and the National Democratic Institute’s data. This blog provides an overview of how views of the direction the country is headed in have changed over time.