Thursday | 02 April, 2009

Life in Transition Results | Region Comparison

The EBRD Life in Transition Survey, as we at the CRRC blog previously mentioned, is available for download. The survey, measuring attitudes and values amongst 28 transitional countries divided in to three sub-regions, is one of the most extensive and impressive survey efforts conducted and encompasses all the post-socialist countries (plus Turkey). The three sub-regions are as following:

- Central Eastern Europe and the Baltic States (CEB)

- South-Eastern Europe (SEE)

- The Commonwealth of Independent States and Mongolia (CIS, which includes the South Caucasus)

The CRRC blog has often presented cross-comparisons of the Caucasian countries on a wide variety of subjects based on data from our own Data Initiative (DI). The EBRD report, sharing some of the variables from our DI, allows for a broader comparison of the attitudes, values and material standards between the former socialist countries. While the survey was conducted in 2006/2007, much of the data remains relevant.

Some noteworthy comparative data:

-The general agreement between the three sub-regions is that the level of trust between people has declined after the fall of communism. The CIS region had, according to 72 % of its respondents, societies where people could be trusted before 1989. Today, only 34 % shares this assertion. But, in comparison to CEB (31%) and SEE (25 %), the CIS sticks out as the region where people's trust in other individuals is the highest.

- 40 % in the CIS and CEB agree that the economic situation is better today than before 1989. The SEE, on the other hand, is showing a severely pessimistic stance in this regard since only 20 % of its respondents agreed to this assertion.

- According to the survey, corruption has thrived with the transition. Only 19 % in the CIS thinks that corruption has been reduced in their country since 1989. For CEB only 12 %, and in SEE only 9 % believe that corruption has reduced since 1989.

- Also the view on the political situation is rather gloomy in all three regions. As little as 25 % believe that the political situation is better today than before 1989 in the SEE region. The CIS proves more optimistic with 40 % of its respondents agreeing to this assertion.

- However, despite the negative responses on contemporary trust in society, corruption, politics and economics, the three sub-regions show a marked preference for democracy and market economy. This could be partly explained by the high optimism that the respondents in the three sub-regions hold about the future. The CIS, holding the most optimistic respondents, had 60 % of its respondents agreeing to the claim that children who are born today will have a better life than their own generation. (Or is maybe an issue that people are less hesitant to complain in CEB and SEE?)

Preferences for political and economic systems

This is just a small pick from the report Life in Transition – A Survey of People’s Experiences and Attitudes from the EBRD. The full report includes data on topics, such as, Material Well-Being, Views on Transition, Values/Priorities and Corruption/Trust, separately for each of the transitional countries. A fantastic resource for researchers!

Follow this link to access the EBRD report, its questionnaires and data.