Are there predictors of not knowing and refusing to answer on surveys in Georgia?
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.
Only questions that were asked to all respondents were considered during the analysis presented in this blog post (a total of 177 questions), and variables were generated for:
- The number of times a respondent answered “Don’t know” and;
- The number of times a respondent refused to answer a question.
On average, respondents refused to answer one question on CB 2017. The median number of refuse to answer responses was zero. Respondents answered “Don’t know” to nine questions on average, and the median number was five. As a previous blog post highlighted, people most often report they do not know when asked about political questions and areas of reasonable uncertainty (e.g. their economic futures). When it comes to refusing to answer, people are most likely to refuse to answer questions about their income and politics.
To analyze whether or not demographic variables predicted “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” responses, Poisson regression was used. The following demographic variables were included in both regressions: age group (18-35, 36-55, 56+), gender, ethnicity (ethnic minority or ethnic Georgian), settlement type (capital, other urban, rural), and level of education (secondary or lower, vocational, tertiary). Besides demographics, the analysis also included a variable for whether people besides the interviewer and respondent were present during the interview. After the regression analysis, the number of times a respondent would be expected to respond either don’t know or refuse to answer was calculated, controlling for other factors included in the models.
A number of demographic characteristics are associated with higher expected rates of “Don’t know” response. Ethnic minorities, people in rural areas and urban areas outside Tbilisi, people without tertiary education, women, and people over the age of 55 provide more don’t know responses than people in Tbilisi, those with tertiary education, and people under the age of 55. Besides demographics, whether someone is present at an interview that is not participating in it is also associated with how often people report they don’t know. If additional people are present at an interview, then respondents report one fewer don’t know response on average. This may reflect a large number of factors (e.g., maybe people with large families are more certain of their views), however, one plausible explanation is that people do not want to admit they do not know in front of other people.
Some demographic variables also predict “refuse to answer” response options. People in the 36-55 age group refuse to answer questions slightly more often than in other age groups as do people outside Tbilisi, those with tertiary education, and ethnic Georgians. Besides demographics, the presence of people besides the interviewer at the interview has a significant impact on the frequency of refusing to answer. This again may reflect social pressure of some sort. Rather than respondents being worried about appearing uninformed, one plausible explanation is they are more likely to be worried about appearing socially uncooperative.
While don’t know answers and refusing to answer are both often treated as non-response, these arguably are different types of responses. If they indeed are different, one would expect them not to be strongly correlated. The results of a correlation analysis suggest a very weak (ρ=0.009) and non-significant association, supporting the contention that don’t know and refuse to answer options are indeed different types of responses rather than replacements for the other.
This blog post has looked at whether and which demographic groups respond “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” to survey questions more. The results suggest that a variety of demographic variables are significant predictors. In addition, the presence of other people at the interview appears to have an impact on how often people report they don’t know or refuse to answer survey questions, with both declining when people are present.
To download the data used in this blog post, click here.
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
By: Dustin Gilbreath
CRRC’s third annual Methodological Conference: Transformations in the South Caucasus and its Neighbourhood
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the third blog post in the series. Click here to see the first and second blog posts in the series.]
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the second blog post in the series. Click here to see the first blog post.]
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.
In August 2012 CRRC launched the study of Georgia’s Workforce Development system, commissioned by the World Bank. Document review and key informant interviews have been used as main research methods in this study. On 19th of December, the World Bank office in Tbilisi hosted a workshop which aimed at presenting and validating the preliminary finding...
As Georgians prepare for parliamentary elections set for October 1, 2012, political parties have entered the final stage of the pre-elections race. One of the important attributes of active citizenship and civic engagement is voting in elections. This blog explores Georgians’ attitudes toward voting in elections based on age group and gender differences. In this r...
CRRC Methodological Conference on Measuring Social Inequality in the South Caucasus and its Neighborhood
By Till Bruckner
By Nino Zubashvili
By Dustin Gilbreath
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?
In terms of the business findings, CRRC's Media Survey (undertaken in September/October 2009) generated extensive data that is available to help media make good business decisions. One recent presentation, summarized here, focused on showing the diversity of data that is available.
Food Safety in Georgia: views from retailers, producers and consumers in Tbilisi and Samtskhe-Javakheti
Book Review | The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict and Nationhood in the Caucasus | Christoph Zürcher
Brookings Index of Regime Weakness | State Rebuilding or State Collapse in the Caucasus | The Annals of Data
Here are some basic tips and tricks we found useful.
Book Review: Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet Caucasus | Thomas Goltz
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.
Taking partly free voters seriously: autocratic response to voter preferences in Armenia and GeorgiaDo voters in less than democratic contexts matter or are elections simply facades used to create a veneer of democratic accountability for domestic and international actors? Within the Autocratic Response to Voter Preferences in Armenia and Georgia project, funded by Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, CRRC-Georgia and CRRC-Armenia aimed to help answer this question, at least for Georgia and Armenia. On October 27, Caucasus Survey published the results of the project in a special issue, available here.
On December 1-13, 2016, CRRC-Georgia asked the population of Georgia about their New Year’s plans. Unsurprisingly, people mostly follow established traditions. A large majority (73%) plan to ring in the New Year at home. Nine per cent will meet it in a friend’s or a relative’s home. Meeting the New Year in the street or in a restaurant or a café is not yet common, and only one per cent of people in Georgia plan to do so. Another 15% had not decided in the first half of December where they would celebrate the New Year.
What are young people’s values and how are these different from older generations’ values in Georgia?As Georgian society is going through social and cultural changes, it is important to understand people’s beliefs and values. Comparing the values of young people to those of the older generations is also important. This blog post summarizes the findings of a study that examined the values of young people aged 18 to 25, and analysed how these values are different from the values of older people in Georgia, based on both quantitative (World Values Survey, 2014) and qualitative data (40 in-depth interviews conducted in 2016). The study looked at values, perceptions, attitudes and tolerance towards different minority groups in Georgia. It concludes that in many cases, the younger generation shares more modern views and values, while the older generations are more inclined to support traditional values and hold conservative points of view.
In the December 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, pollution was the second most commonly named “infrastructural” issue, with 23% of the population choosing it in the respective show card. Only roads were named more often, by 33%. Approximately equal shares of men and women named pollution: 25% of women and 20% of men; similarly, there was no difference in the frequency of naming this issue by age.
The Caucasus Barometer survey regularly asks people, “Which of the following statements do you agree with: “‘People are like children; the government should take care of them like a parent’ or ‘Government is like an employee; the people should be the bosses who control the government.’” Approximately half of the population of Georgia (52%) agreed in 2017 with the former statement and 40% with the latter. Responses to this question have fluctuated to some extent over time, but overall, attitudes are nearly equally split.
In early December 2017, two schoolchildren were killed on Khorava Street in Tbilisi. On May 31st, 2018, Tbilisi City Court announced the decision on the Khorava Street murder case. The announcement caused mass demonstrations led by Zaza Saralidze, a father of one of the murdered children.On June 19-26, 2018, within the EU-funded project “Facilitating Implementation of Reforms in the Judiciary (FAIR)”, CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey on people’s knowledge about the Court decision and their evaluation. The survey resulted in 1005 completed interviews, and is representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.8%.
Livestock care and livestock-related decision making in rural Georgia: Are there any gender differences?CRRC-Georgia’s survey conducted in August 2017 for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) asked about livestock owned by rural households in Georgia, including cows, bulls, buffalo, pigs, sheep, and goats. Cows and bulls were reported to be owned most commonly. Some of the questions the project addressed the division of tasks between men and women in taking care of livestock, while other questions tried to find out whether there were gender differences in making major decisions related to livestock and livestock products.
The 2018 presidential elections, and particularly, the events surrounding the second round, have come to be considered a setback for Georgia’s democratic trajectory. Between the first and second round, it was announced that 600,000 voters would have debt relief immediately following the elections, leading some to suggest this was a form of vote buying. A number of instances of electoral fraud were also alleged. The use of party coordinators around election precincts was also widely condemned.
But what do people want?