Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Changes in public opinion between 2011 and 2017

A lot changed in Georgia between 2011 and 2017, including the government. New promises and new regulations have been made and new priorities set by politicians. A visa free regime with the Schengen zone countries came into force. An ultranationalist ‘Georgian March’ was organized. A Georgian priest was charged with conspiracy to murder the Secretary of the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the most trusted institution in Georgia. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does raise questions about whether and how public opinion has changed against the backdrop of these and other events.

Using data from five waves of CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017) and four waves of EF/CRRC’s Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia survey (2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017), this blog post highlights five of the many important changes in public opinion between 2011 and 2017. We do not, however, attempt to explain or link these changes to specific events, leaving the interpretation to the reader.

CRRC’s time-series data show that:

1. Between 2011 and 2017, Georgia’s population became more aware of their rights and powers as citizens. There is an 11 percentage point increase in the share of those who think that people like themselves have the right to openly say what they think, while the share of people who think that it is important for a good citizen to be critical towards the government increased by 14 percentage points. Moreover, the share of those who agree with the statement that “People should participate in protest actions against the government, as this shows the government that the people are in charge” doubled since 2011, reaching 62% in 2017. 

2. People in Georgia acknowledged the importance of volunteering and started practicing it. The share of people who think that it is important for a good citizen to do volunteer work meeting the needs of the community without expecting any compensation increased by 38 percentage points since 2011. The share of those who report having volunteering experience themselves increased as well, although less impressively.

3. People became less trustful of other people, and of major social and political institutions. The share of people who report trusting parliament and executive and local government decreased by more than 10 percentage points in each of these cases. Distrust is on the rise not only towards government institutions, but also towards businesses and religious institutions. The share of people who report trusting banks decreased by 20 percentage points and the share of people who report trusting the religious institutions to which they belong decreased by 18 percentage points. People report less trust towards each other as well: the share of those who think that one can't be too careful in dealing with people increased by 19 percentage points.

4. Georgia’s population became less optimistic about domestic politics and more doubtful about Georgia’s prospects for EU integration. Compared to 2011, there is a 25 percentage point drop in the share of people reporting that Georgia’s domestic politics is going in the right direction, and less people now report trusting the EU. Moreover, the share of people who think that the EU threatens Georgian traditions increased from 29% to 41%. Considering the high importance people attach to respect of traditions, which has remained unchanged in Georgia during these years, this trend once again indicates decreased support for the EU in Georgia.

5. People’ assessments of their economic situation and health became worse, but they report being slightly happier overall. The share of people who report having personal debts increased by 12 percentage points, while the share of those who rate their overall health as good decreased by 10 percentage points. At the same time, the share of people who report that, overall, they are happy increased by 10 percentage points during the last seven years.

We’ve highlighted only some of the many changes in the public opinion between 2011 and 2017. To explore the data more, try CRRC’s online data analysis tool and the datasets available from caucasusbarometer.org, and share what you find with us.

People in Georgia approve of doing business with Russians, despite interstate hostility

In the 2017 wave of CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey, 40% of the population of Georgia named Russia as the main enemy of the country.  Turkey and the United States garnered the second highest share of responses with 3% each.  Yet, no particular animosity towards ethnic Russians is observed in answers to a question about people’s (dis)approval of individuals of their ethnicity doing business with Russians. This blog post examines how answers differ by people’s opinions about whether or not Russia is the main enemy of Georgia. 

Seventy-seven percent of the population of Georgia report approving of people of their ethnicity doing business with a Russian, which is one of the highest approval rates of the 14 ethnic groups asked about in the survey.  It is important to note, though, that answers to this question are subject to ‘social desirability bias,’ which is the “tendency of some respondents to report an answer in a way they deem to be more socially acceptable than would be their ‘true’ answer.

Only a slightly greater share of people who named Russia as the main enemy of Georgia report disapproving of their co-nationals doing business with a Russian, compared to those who did not name Russia as Georgia’s main enemy. These findings suggest a rather tolerant attitude towards ethnic Russians in Georgia, amidst a sizeable backdrop of opinions that identify Russia as the main enemy of Georgia. They also suggest that people in Georgia distinguish between attitudes towards “Russia” as a state and “Russians” as a people.  

Note: The question, “In your opinion, which country is currently the main enemy of Georgia?” was open-ended. For this chart, the countries other than “Russia” were combined into category “Not Russia.”

Given the antagonistic relationship between the political elites of Georgia and Russia, the evidence that interstate hostility does not necessarily equate to negative attitudes on a micro-level is important.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform

Monday, April 02, 2018

Which foreign language should children learn in schools in Georgia?

Since Georgia is a small country with a language that people outside the country rarely know, it is not surprising that people in Georgia want their children to know a foreign language. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey has regularly asked about a foreign language which, in people’s opinion, should be mandatory in secondary schools in Georgia. Since 2009, a majority of people in Georgia have named English as such foreign language, followed, with a large gap, by the Russian language. Other languages were named by less than 2% of the population and less than 10% said that no foreign language should be mandatory.

In 2017, 69% of the population named English and 22% Russian as the foreign languages that should be mandatory in the secondary schools of Georgia. Even though English has consistently been named as the most wanted language, the share of the population naming this language decreased from 68% in 2011 to 52% in 2012, and then rebounded to 69% between 2012 and 2017. In 2012, the share of the population that named Russian as the most desired foreign language in secondary schools doubled compared to previous years and reached 32%. However, it decreased again by 10 percentage points between 2012 and 2017.

People of different ages and living in different settlement types have slightly different language preferences: 73% of people living in the capital or other urban settlements named English, while the share is lower (64%) in rural settlements. Moreover, young people tended to name English more often than older people.

The data also show that people who know English tend to suggest English should be a mandatory language in secondary schools more often than people who do not know English: 83% of those claiming to know English at an intermediate or advanced level said that this should be a mandatory language, compared to 63% of those who reported not to have basic knowledge of the language.

Despite the decline in 2012, the preference for English as a mandatory foreign language in Georgia’s schools is on the rise again. Those who know some English, live in the capital, and young people are more likely to support English being mandatory in Georgian schools.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Women Significantly Less Likely to Go Out to Eat in Georgia

[Note: This post was published with OC-Media. The post was written by CRRC-Georgia's President, Koba Turmanidze.]

Busy restaurants and cafes are a common sight in Georgia, and CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data suggest that restaurants and cafes have become busier over the last five years. While 27% of Georgia’s population reported going to a restaurant in 2012, five years later 50% did. There is an upward trend for both men and women, yet the data also suggests there is a significant gender gap. Taking into account other social and demographic characteristics, women are significantly less likely to go to restaurants than men.

Note: According to the instructions to this question, restaurants included pizzerias, khinkhali houses, McDonald’s, etc.

A number of factors including settlement type, age, social status, economic condition, and gender influence whether an individual goes out to eat. The findings are hardly surprising in many respects: residents of Tbilisi are more likely to go to restaurants compared to the residents of villages. Irrespective of whether a person reports being employed or unemployed, he or she is more likely to go to a restaurant than individuals who are outside the labor force, i.e. those who do not work and are not looking for a job either. Likewise, people living in households with low reported expenditures per month (250 USD or less) are less likely to go to a restaurant. Also unsurprisingly, age is negatively related with eating out: the older a person the less likely is he or she to go out to eat. Actual and perceived social status show the opposite effects of age: the more years a person spent studying in formal educational institutions, the higher are his or her chances to have gone to a restaurant. In the same manner, the higher along a hypothetical ten step ladder representing the society a person places him/herself, the more likely they are to visit restaurants.

Note: The chart displays the effect of each factor on an individual’s probability of reporting they went to a restaurant during the past six months. ‘Diamonds’ are point estimates, whereas lines show 95% confidence intervals. The further the ‘diamond’ is from the red dotted line, the larger the effect. The few ‘diamonds’ right on the red dotted line are reference categories for a variable. Rural settlements, males, individuals who do not belong to the active labor force, and individuals who did not report household spending are reference categories. Every other category should be interpreted in relation to corresponding reference category (e.g. capital residents in relation to rural residents, females in relation to males, etc.)

While all the above factors influence whether a person goes to a restaurant, gender has the largest effect of all: all else equal, women are about 10 percentage points less likely to go to a restaurant than men. Further analysis shows that more educated women are no more or less likely than less educated women to go to restaurants, women from relatively wealthy households are not different from women from poorer households, and so on.

When looking at the impact of other socio-demographic factors across the two gender groups, women are worse off in terms of going to restaurants simply because they are women. The chart below demonstrates that if we pick a male and a female of the same age between the ages of 20 and 78, the male will always have a higher chance to have reported going to a restaurant.

Similarly, if we take two people of a different gender, but identical years of education, the man will still be more likely to have eaten at a restaurant in the last six months than a women. Notably, the significant difference in terms of years of education is maintained in the group who studied for 10 to 16 years, which constitutes 84% of the population according to the 2017 Caucasus Barometer survey.

Employment status and a household’s expenditure do not entirely diminish the impact of gender either: while both males and females are equally likely to go to a restaurant if they do not belong to the active labor force, in the unemployed and employed groups, females are disadvantaged. Moreover, females from households that spent up to USD 400 in the month prior to the survey are also less likely to have eaten in a restaurant in the past six months. Interestingly, there is no gender difference in the group of relatively high spending (more than USD 400) as well as in the group which did not report their household expenditure.

The findings of this analysis suggest that gender is the single most important factor that predicts whether an individual will go to a restaurant in Georgia. Regrettably, females are disadvantaged in this regard compared to males of the same age, education, social-economic standing and settlement type, demonstrating yet another form of gender inequality in Georgia.

To explore the data used in this blog post, visit CRRC’s Online Data Analysis platform. The code used for data analysis is available here.

Koba Turmanidze is CRRC-Georgia’s President.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Temporary emigration intentions from Georgia: Do migration networks count?

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. 

Studies have been conducted that demonstrate the impact of personal networks on migration behavior.  One central theory guiding these studies is the ‘migration network theory,’ which posits that the reduced social, economic, and emotional costs of migration stemming from existing contacts who are able and willing to help new migrants ultimately ease migration, and, to a certain degree, promote it. Understanding migration networks permits a more comprehensive view of migration as a dynamic process, rather than a mechanical outcome of economic or political deprivation.  Migration networks include family, friends, neighbors, and former colleagues — essentially anyone an individual can rely on and share information about opportunities abroad, including settlement assistance.

Emigration has been an important coping strategy for the population of Georgia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey data from 2010 through 2017 indicates that the share of people in Georgia willing to temporarily emigrate has increased slightly.  In CB 2017, 55% of the adult population of Georgia responded ‘yes’ to the question: “If you had a chance, would you leave Georgia for a certain period of time to live somewhere else?”  In 2010, this share was 47%.

CB also asked two questions that can help see individuals’ temporary migration intentions in light of the migration networks they might have.  Of those who had a close relative living abroad at the time of the survey, 59% responded that they would leave Georgia temporarily to live somewhere else.  In contrast, only 40% of those without close relatives living abroad responded that they would emigrate temporarily. Similarly, individuals who reportedly had a close friend abroad were more likely to report a willingness to temporarily emigrate than those who did not. It is still important to mention, though, that about 40% of those not having a close friend or relative abroad still report willingness to temporarily emigrate from the country.

The findings presented in this blog post suggest, in accordance with the migration network theory, that social networks may play a role in people’s willingness to temporary emigrate from Georgia. Individuals with a close contact who was living abroad at the time of the survey were more likely to respond that they would leave Georgia for a certain period of time to live somewhere else.  It should be emphasized, however, that CB does not present data on actual emigration, but rather reported intentions that may or may not result in individual actions.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dissecting Attitudes towards Pre-Marital Sex in Georgia

Many in Georgia embrace conservative attitudes about premarital sex, as a previous CRRC blog post highlighted. Attitudes are different, however, depending whether it’s a male or a female having the premarital relationship. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s 2017 Knowledge of and attitudes toward the EU in Georgia survey (EU survey) conducted for Europe Foundation to describe how justified or unjustified people of varying ages, genders, and those living in different types of settlements believe pre-marital sex to be for men and women.

In 2017, when asked, “In your opinion, how justified or unjustified is it for a woman to have a sexual relationship before marriage?” 71% of people in Georgia reported that it is ‘never justified.’  In contrast, only 38% responded that it is ‘never justified’ for a man to have a sexual relationship before marriage. Both men and women are more conservative towards women engaging in pre-marital sexual relationships than men.  However, women report that it is ‘never justified’ for a man to have pre-marital sex slightly more often than men.

Variations in the level of justification of male and female pre-marital sex can also be observed by age group and settlement type. Unsurprisingly, older people (56+) hold more conservative attitudes toward pre-marital sex than younger individuals, responding more frequently that it is ‘never justified’ for both men and women to have a sexual relationship before marriage. Nonetheless, people above the age of 55 exhibit much greater acceptance of a man having a sexual relationship before marriage than of a woman.

Both men and women in the capital and other urban settlements are more liberal than those residing in rural and ethnic minority settlements.  However, men and women in Tbilisi generally demonstrate greater acceptance of premarital sex than those in other urban settlements of Georgia. While people living in rural and ethnic minority settlements hold the most conservative attitudes in general, they are more strongly opposed to women having pre-marital sexual relationships than men, further highlighting how standards of ‘justifiable’ sexual behavior are applied to men and women differently.

The data presented in this blog post highlights a number of findings.  First, a majority of individuals in Georgia believe that women should adhere to conservative standards of sexual ‘purity,’ while men are granted greater liberty in this regard.  Secondly, even within populations that are more liberal toward pre-marital sex — men and women aged 18-35 and those residing in the capital — most people still report it is never justified for a woman have a pre-marital sexual relationship, while they are more liberal with men.  The fact that women tend to respond more frequently that it is ‘never justified’ for a woman to have a pre-marital sexual relationship than responding the same about a man demonstrates the extent to which women have internalized gendered norms regarding sexual behavior.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Partisanship and Trust in TV in Georgia

[Note: This post was first published on OC-Media. The post was written by David Sichinava, a Senior Policy Analyst at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this blog do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any affiliated entity.]

One of the outcomes of the stark polarization of news media sources globally is that people tend to align to the media outlets which resonate most with their ideological beliefs. In most cases, consumption of a particular ideological media source can only reinforce one’s beliefs, which might lead to an even further polarization of the audience. These patterns can be characteristic of mass media in contexts as different as, for instance, the United States and Lebanon. As the data from the December 2017 wave of CRRC/NDI survey shows, people in Georgia also appear to be selective in trusting media that aligns with their political beliefs as well.

The two largest TV networks in Georgia, Imedi TV and Rustavi 2, tend to support different political parties in their coverage of current events. A long-term media monitoring project which was funded by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) unveiled that throughout the 2016 parliamentary and the 2017 municipal election campaigns, Imedi TV allocated more airtime to and provided positive and neutral coverage of the governing Georgian Dream (GD) party. The network dedicated less airtime to and had more negative coverage of the opposition United National Movement (UNM). In contrast, Rustavi 2 covered the ruling party negatively, while covering the UNM with neutral or positive tones. The UNM also received more airtime on Rustavi 2.

Unsurprisingly, those who name the Georgian Dream as a party closest to their views were more likely to trust Imedi TV for accurate information on politics and current affairs in Georgia than were those who named the United National Movement on the December 2017 CRRC/NDI survey. At the same time, those who named the UNM as a party closest to their views were more likely to trust Rustavi 2. No specific preference could be seen in the case of those who answered “No party”, “Don’t know”, or refused to answer the question (i.e., non-partisans).

This tendency persists across the population of different settlement types and endures even when controlling for major demographic characteristics, such as gender, age, and ethnicity. Tbilisi residents who reported either of the two political parties as being closest to their views were the most polarized: those identifying themselves with the UNM in the capital had a relatively small probability (27%) of trusting Imedi TV, while those who identify themselves with GD had a comparably low probability of trusting Rustavi 2 (32%).

Note: Points on the chart display predicted probabilities of trusting Imedi or Rustavi 2 by settlement type and party preference, while bars correspond to 95% confidence intervals. For example, the probability for a person who identifies with Georgian Dream and resides in Tbilisi to trust Imedi is about 63%, while the probability for a UNM supporter in Tbilisi to trust this TV channel is as low as 27%. These probabilities are calculated using logistic regression models. Replication data and corresponding R code can be found here.

Unsurprisingly, those who report any of the two major Georgian political parties to be closest to their views tend to trust the TV network that favorably covers their party. In contrast, the non-partisan population does not systematically differ in trusting either TV network.

To have a closer look at CRRC/NDI survey results, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Debt in Georgia: People living in worse-off households report having personal debt more often

According to CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey, 46% of the population of Georgia report having personal debt. Although having debt is not necessarily a bad thing, since it can enable investment to help improve a person’s economic conditions, a close look at the CB 2017 data suggests that many people in Georgia take on debt to cover basic expenses.

In addition to the question about personal debt, CB 2017 asked whether households borrowed money to buy food and to pay for utilities in the past six months. Those who reported their household borrowed money to buy food reported having personal debt more often. The same is true of people who reported their household borrowed money to pay for utilities in the past six months. Importantly, the comparison of variables measuring personal-level and household-level information has methodological limitations and the results should thus be treated with caution.

Note: Answer options to the questions “In the past 6 months, how often has your household borrowed money to buy food / to pay for utilities?” were recoded for this chart. Options “Each week”, “Each month”, and “Every other month” were combined into the category “At least every other month”. For all questions, answer options “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” (less than 3% if combined) are not shown on the charts in this blog post. 

Another CB question asked respondents to place their household on an imaginary 10-step ladder reflecting the economic standing of all households in the country. Similar to the above, those who indicated lower rungs reported having personal debt more often. Interestingly, approximately a third of those reporting better economic conditions of their households also reported having personal debt.

Note: A 10-point scale was used for the question, “Let’s imagine there is a 10-step ladder reflecting the economic standing of all households in Georgia today. The first rung of this ladder corresponds to the lowest economic position in society, while the 10th rung corresponds to the highest position. On which rung of this ladder do you think your household currently stands?” For this chart, the original scale was recoded into a 3-point scale, with codes ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, and ‘4’ combined into the category “Low”; codes ‘5’ and ‘6’ combined into the category ”Middle”; and codes ‘7’, ‘ 8’, ‘9’, and ‘10’ combined into the category “High”. 

People living in worse-off households report having personal debt more often than those living in better-off households. However, people living in better-off households are not debt-free either.

To have a closer look at CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Monday, February 19, 2018

As many Georgians think the West spreads propaganda as Russia

[Note: This article was co-published with OC-Media, and written by Dustin Gilbreath. The views presented in this article do not necessarily represent the views of CRRC-Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any related entity.]

On 13 February, the United States released its Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. In it, the significance of Russian influence operations in Georgia were highlighted. Just eight days earlier, on 5 February, a coalition of Georgia’s leading non-governmental organisations made an official offer to support the Government of Georgia, the EU, and NATO in their efforts to counter anti-Western propaganda.

While few experts would argue that Georgia is not a target of Russian propaganda, or that Russian propaganda is not a threat to the country, those aiming to fight it should base their efforts in fact. Otherwise, they too may be thought of as sources of propaganda. Indeed, as a December 2017 NDI-CRRC survey suggests, just as many Georgians already think Western powers spread propaganda as the share who think Russia spreads it.

In the December 2017 National Democratic Institute and CRRC-Georgia survey, respondents were asked whether they thought Russia, the European Union, and the United States spread propaganda in Georgia. The survey shows that 53% of the public think that Russia spreads propaganda in Georgia. In contrast, 45% of the public think the European Union spreads propaganda in the country, and 44% think that the US does.

While fewer people think either the EU or US alone engages in propaganda than Russia, when taken together, just as many Georgians think that the West is a source of propaganda. On the survey, 51% of the public reported that either the EU or United States engages in propaganda, a statistically indistinguishable share from the 53% that think Russia does so.

Note: In the chart above, individuals who reported that the United States spreads propaganda in Georgia or the European Union spreads propaganda in Georgia were coded as “agree” in the either US or EU bar. Individuals who reported some combination of disagree, don’t know, and refuse to answer on the two questions were coded as other. Respondents were told that propaganda is the spreading of distorted or inaccurate information with the goal of improving a country’s image or hurting an opposing country’s image. 

The believed channels of propaganda for Russia and the West are largely similar. The survey results suggest that Georgians think the most common source of foreign propaganda is Georgian language television. When it comes to European and American propaganda, the internet and social media comes in second place. In contrast, political parties are the second most commonly believed source of Russian propaganda.

The data suggest that exposing Russian propaganda could potentially lead to increased support for Euro-Atlantic integration. While the perception that the west is engaged in propaganda does not appear to impact whether Georgians support the country’s European aspirations, the perception that Russia is engaged in propaganda does. While 54% of people who think the West is engaged in propaganda support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, 50% of those who do not think the West is engaged in propaganda report the same. In contrast, people who think Russia is engaged in propaganda are 20 percentage points more likely to support Georgian integration into the European Union compared with those who don’t.

Russian propaganda clearly represents a threat to stability in Georgia, as well as the wider world. For actors to counter it, they should base their activities in fact to avoid being viewed as sources of propaganda themselves, something which the US and EU have failed to do in Georgia. While it appears this has yet to impact attitudes towards Euro-Atlantic integration, it could, just as the belief that Russia engages in propaganda is associated with higher support for European integration. Importantly for those engaged in debunking misinformation, the exposure of Russian propaganda may lead to the strengthening of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic orientation.

Monday, February 12, 2018

What factors help to land a good job? Views in Armenia and Georgia

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.

In both Armenia and Georgia, connections was the most frequent answer, and was picked by almost a third of the populations. For this blog post, answer options are grouped into two categories: meritocratic and non-meritocratic factors. While the former includes education, professional abilities, work experience, and talent, the latter combines connections, luck, age, appearance and doing favors for the “right” people. In Georgia, approximately half of the population named meritocratic factors, while just above a third named these in Armenia.

Note: A show card was used during the interviews. Answer options “Other” and “Don’t know” (less than 5% if combined) are not shown on the charts in this blog post. 

Although there are differences between Armenia and Georgia at the national level, a similar pattern is found when settlement types are compared within each country. The population of rural settlements in both countries tended to name meritocratic factors as important for getting a good job more often than the population of urban settlements.

In both countries, differences in the frequency of mentioning meritocratic vs. non-meritocratic factors were rather small among people with different levels of education. The only notable difference was that in Armenia, 39% of people with higher than secondary education named connections as the most important factor for getting a good job, while only 27% of those with secondary or lower education reported the same.
Note: Answer options to the question “What is the highest level of education you have achieved to date?” were recorded in the following way: “No primary education”, “Primary education”, “Incomplete secondary education”, and “Completed secondary education” were combined into the category “Secondary education or lower”. “Incomplete higher education”, “Completed higher education (BA, MA, or Specialist degree)”, and “Post-graduate degree” were combined into the category “Higher than secondary education”. 

Overall, in both countries, connections were named most frequently as the most important single factor to get a good job. People in Georgia report the importance of meritocratic factors more often than in Armenia. In both countries, the rural populations name meritocratic factors more often than the urban populations, a fact which deserves further research to understand its underlying causes.

To have a closer look at CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data, visit our Online Data Analysis portal. 

Monday, February 05, 2018

Who in Georgia wants to study abroad?

Studying abroad can offer students the opportunity to learn new languages, travel, experience different cultures, and form relationships in addition to studying. The Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union survey (EU Survey) implemented by CRRC-Georgia for Europe Foundation provides information about what share of the population in Georgia would like to go abroad to study, and the demographic characteristics of those who would like to.

Overall, almost a quarter of Georgia’s population (24%) reports a willingness to study abroad. Their median age is 29, and in this blog post we focus only on people who are between 18 and 58 years old, i.e. twice the median age. For the population in this age group, the share of those who report a willingness to study abroad increases to 33%. Most often, they name the US as the country where they would like to study.

Notably, slightly more females (37%) report being interested in going overseas to study than do males (30%). Of those who already hold a bachelor’s degree, 48% would like to go abroad to study, while of those who hold a master’s or higher degree, 39% want to study abroad.

Note: Options ‘Primary education’, ‘Incomplete secondary education’, ‘Completed secondary education’, ‘Secondary technical education’, and ‘Incomplete tertiary education’ were grouped into the category ‘Secondary education or lower’. Options ‘MA’ and ‘PhD student/PhD’ were grouped into the category ‘Master’s degree or higher.’ 

A willingness to go abroad to study is most common in the capital and least common in settlements with a large ethnic minority population. Notably, there is not much difference between the shares of people willing to study abroad in urban settlements outside Tbilisi and in rural settlements with a predominantly Georgian population.

Surprisingly, quite a large share of those who want to go abroad to study report no basic knowledge of English (37%). Thirty percent report they have intermediate and 15% - advanced knowledge of the language. This finding leads to some questions about whether those who report a willingness to study abroad would actually be able to do so. Notably, half of those who say they would like to study in the United States or the United Kingdom report either no basic knowledge or a beginner’s level of English.

This suggests the need for more focused efforts in the field of teaching foreign languages, and especially English.

To explore the data further, try CRRC’s online data analysis tool.

Monday, January 29, 2018

2017 Caucasus Barometer Data Release

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.

Senior Policy Analyst David Sichinava discussing CB 2017 results at CRRC-Georgia's office.

Monday, January 22, 2018

What are young people’s values and how are these different from older generations’ values in Georgia?

[Note: This blog post summarizes the findings of an article written by CRRC-Georgia researcher Tamar Khoshtaria and published in The Journal of Beliefs and Values in August, 2017.]

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.

The study used Shalom H. Schwartz’s theory of basic values, which identifies ten basic values:

  1. Self-direction: Independent thought and action-choosing, creating, exploring; 
  2. Stimulation: Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life; 
  3. Hedonism: Pleasure and sensuous gratification for oneself; 
  4. Achievement: Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards;
  5. Power: Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources;  
  6. Security: Safety, harmony and stability of society, of relationships, and of self; 
  7. Conformity: Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms;  
  8. Tradition: Respect, commitment and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide the self; 
  9. Benevolence: Preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact; 
  10. Universalism: Understanding, appreciation, tolerance and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature. 

In his empirical work, Schwartz used short verbal portraits which describe a person as having a certain goal, aspiration or wish and point implicitly to one of the ten value types. After hearing a verbal portrait, respondents had to evaluate to what extent the person described was like or not like him or her. These verbal portraits were used during the 2014 World Values Survey (WVS) conducted in Georgia. During qualitative interviews (conducted independently from the WVS), respondents could provide detailed accounts of their attitudes. 

The quantitative and qualitative data show similar results. Quantitative data analysis suggests that Schwartz’s higher-ordered values ‘conservation’ (which includes the basic values of ‘security’, ‘conformity’, and ‘tradition’) and ‘self-transcendence’ (which includes the basic values of ‘benevolence’ and ‘universalism’) are very important for people of all age groups in Georgia. Over 70% in all age groups evaluated the persons described in the verbal portraits representing these five basic values as being ‘very much like them’ or ‘like them.’ When it comes to these basic values, the young generation, in general, does not differ much from the older generations.

On the other hand, there are some values which were assessed quite differently by people in different age groups. When looking at the basic values ‘self-direction’, ‘stimulation’, and ‘hedonism’ (representing the higher-ordered value of ‘openness to change’), there are differences by age group. Compared to older generations, a larger share of young people identified themselves with a person to whom it is important to think up new ideas, take risks, and have a good time.

Similarly, the basic values of ‘achievement’ and ‘power’ (representing the higher-order value of ‘self-enhancement’) have been assessed differently by young people and people of older generations. While being successful is important for 66% of young people, the share is lower among older people. In addition, while ‘being rich, and having a lot of money and expensive things’ was not reported as an important value in Georgia, the share of those valuing this kind of ‘power’ is slightly larger among young respondents than it is among the older ones.

The second part of the study focused on tolerance towards different minority groups, measured by a question about which groups of people respondents would not want as their neighbours. The least tolerated group in Georgia is homosexuals. People of all generations would not like to have them as their neighbours. Still, the answers of young people suggest more tolerance and openness to different minority groups.

Note: A show card was used for this question. Respondents could name as many answer options as they wanted. 

While some values (e.g. ‘security’, ‘conformity’, ‘tradition’, ‘benevolence’, and ‘universalism’) are almost equally important to young and old people in Georgia, the young generation identifies more with values like ‘self-direction’, ‘stimulation’, ‘hedonism’, and ‘achievement’. In addition, the young generation is slightly more tolerant towards different minority groups.

For detailed results, see the full article in the Journal of Beliefs and Values.

Monday, January 15, 2018

One in six in Georgia think the country is a member of the EU

[Note: This article was co-published with OC-Media and written by Dustin Gilbreath, a Policy Analyst at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this article are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia or any related entity.]

Recent years have seen Georgia’s ties to the European Union grow, with the Association Agreement, including the preferential trade regime it introduced known as the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area signed in 2014 and the granting of visa liberalisation for citizens of Georgia in 2017.

Both represent significant steps towards integration with the EU for Georgia. As part of reaching these milestones, Georgian legislation is being harmonised with the EU’s in a number of fields. The country, however, is currently neither a member of the EU nor even a candidate for membership.

Recent steps towards closer EU integration may have lead some in Georgia to mistakenly believe the country is an EU member. Sixteen percent of the population of Georgia reported in May 2017 that the country was a member of the European Union, and a further 10% answered ‘don’t know’, according to the fifth wave of the Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union survey (EU survey), which CRRC-Georgia carried out for the Europe Foundation.

By comparison, in 2015 only 5% of the population thought Georgia was a member and 12% reported not knowing. While the data show no notable changes over time for people of different age groups (2015, 2017), the answers provided by men and women, as well as those provided by ethnic Georgians, did change between 2015 and 2017.

The increase in thinking the country is a member of the EU is mainly among the ethnic Georgian population. While in 2015 the ethnic minority population reported that Georgia was a member of the EU slightly more often than the rest of the population, in 2017 ethnic Georgians reported that Georgia was an EU member at the same rate as the ethnic minority population. The share of the ethnic minority population who reported that they didn’t know whether Georgia was or was not a member of the European Union increased by 11 percentage points between 2015 and 2017.

Ethnicity aside, it also appears that women were more likely to be mistaken about Georgia’s EU membership than men in 2017. While only 6% of women thought that Georgia was a member of the EU in 2015, 22% did in 2017. By comparison, 5% of men thought that Georgia was an EU member state in 2015 and 10% reported so in 2017. This increase has no clear explanation and requires further research.

This misperception suggests that clearer communications are needed about Georgia’s relationship with the EU, and Georgia’s status in the EU integration process.

The data used in this article is available from CRRC-Georgia’s Online Data Analysis Tool.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Visa liberalization: Which groups in Georgia are expected to benefit most from it?

The introduction of visa free travel to the Schengen zone countries for Georgian citizens was one of the most prominent news stories in Georgia in 2017. It was also highly publicized and presented by the country’s government as a significant achievement on the way to European integration. Do people in Georgia agree with this assessment? And which groups of the population does the public think will actually benefit from the opportunity? CRRC’s 2017 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey results shed some light on these questions.

In Fall 2017, 40% of the population reported not personally knowing any Georgian citizen who had traveled to the Schengen zone countries visa-free in the six months since visa liberation came into force on March 28, 2017. Another 40% reported knowing such people or traveling themselves. Since the question addressed a rather short period of time (six months), the latter 40% can be considered a rather large share. Unsurprisingly, this share increases to 59% in the capital. While 20% answered “Don’t know” at the national level, only 7% did so in the capital, compared with 27% in other urban settlements and 23% in rural settlements. Quite unexpectedly, whether a person knows or does not know those who have benefited from visa liberalization does not seem to be explained by reported assessments of household’s economic situation.

CB also asked which groups of the population will benefit most from visa-free travel to the Schengen zone countries. No answer options were provided during the survey. The respondents could come up with up to two answers. According to 10%, everyone will benefit from visa liberalization, while 3% reported that no one will.

Interestingly, in a number of cases these expectations are quite different for people who personally know beneficiaries of visa-free travel or have benefited themselves, and for people who do not know those who have benefited from visa liberalization. The differences are especially prominent with students, potential short-term visitors, and the unemployed. Those who personally know beneficiaries of visa-free travel or have traveled themselves believe more that students, potential short-term visitors, and the unemployed will benefit from visa liberalization. Those who personally do not know any beneficiaries of visa-free travel have a rather pessimistic view, reporting that rich people, politicians and high level officials will benefit most from visa liberalization. Notably, they also answer "Don't know" more often.

These findings suggest that a lack of exposure to people who have actually benefited from visa liberalization may lead to a more pessimistic view of visa liberalization’s potential for citizens of Georgia. In contrast, personally knowing those who have traveled visa free appears to be connected to the belief that it’s not just the rich and powerful who will benefit from the chance to travel to most of the EU countries visa free.

To have a closer look at CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data, visit our Online Data Analysis portal after February 1, 2018.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year twice, even if you don’t believe in Santa [Re-post]

[Note: This week, we are re-posting our New Year’s 2016 blog post. Happy New Year from the CRRC-Georgia team!]

December. Cold. Christmas decorations in the streets. New Year. Champagne. Satsivi and gozinaki. Presents. Santa Claus. December 25. Or January 7? Then New Year once again, but the old one. Resolutions for the New Year and the wish on New Year’s Eve that is bound to come true.

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.

Since a large majority of people celebrate New Year’s Eve at home, holiday decorations are important. Only 4% of the population does not plan to have a Christmas tree. A large majority (76%) will have an artificial tree and about one tenth (13%) a natural tree. Almost two thirds (59%) also plan to have chichilaki.

Traditionally, one of the main components of New Year’s Eve celebrations is the feast. Of the dishes from the New Year’s table, over one third of Georgia’s adult population prefers satsivi, about a fourth gozinaki, and about one tenth fried piglet.

For many, New Year’s Eve is associated with presents. About two thirds (62%) of Georgia’s population plan to buy presents for family members. Some people used to believe or still believe that presents come from the Georgian version of Santa, tovlis babua. It appears that about one third of Georgia’s adult population believed in Santa through the age of 10. However, almost one fourth (24%) never believed in Santa. Despite this, the magic of New Year’s Eve is not lost on the majority. Two thirds of the population (66%) have made a wish on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve, with its feast, tree and fireworks, is celebrated twice in Georgia. An absolute majority of people (88%) say they celebrate the so called Old New Year on January 14 as well as the ‘regular’ one, on January 1. People also seem to be interested in the Chinese calendar and closely follow which animal is the symbol of the coming year. Last year, a majority (68%) planned to or already had bought a rooster souvenir for 2017, the year of the rooster.

Just as New Year is celebrated twice, so is Christmas. About two thirds of the population (64%) believe Christmas should be celebrated on January 7, when the Orthodox Church celebrates it. However, about one tenth of people (12%) say Christmas in Georgia should be celebrated on December 25. At the same time, not so small a share of the population (18%) says that Christmas, like New Year’s Eve, should be celebrated on both these days in Georgia.