Tuesday, August 16, 2022

What makes a good Georgian citizen?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Julia-Maria Xavier, an International Fellow at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

A CRRC survey shows that Georgians tend to agree that social values factor more into the making of a good citizen than political engagement.

Respondents were asked six questions relating to good citizenship. Of these markers of good citizenship, the importance of helping those worse off, following traditions, and volunteering were the most supported behaviours.

When asked about the importance of a good citizen to support people who are worse off, 97% thought it was very or rather important. When asked about the importance of following traditions, 92% thought it was very or rather important. Volunteering had the lowest consensus rate within this group, with 90% agreeing that it was very or rather important.

Behaviours generally associated with good citizenship included the importance of being critical towards the government, the opposition, and partaking in protests. Respondents who thought it very or rather important to be critical of the government and opposition did so at 70% and 68%, respectively. The least supported marker of good citizenship was protesting, at 56%.

Factoring in demographic characteristics offers the ability to see which of these markers of good citizenship has broad support across society and which are more divisive.

For the first group of questions in which there is 90% or higher agreement, models only explored whether a respondent reported that behaviour was very important or not. For the second set of attitudes, models looked at whether people felt a behaviour was important or not.

The data shows uniform support across social and demographic groups regarding supporting people who are worse off.

When it comes to following traditions, there are differences between a number of groups. Young people (18-34) were 11 percentage points less likely than those 55+ to think that it is very important for good citizens to follow traditions. Ethnic minorities were 19 percentage points more likely than ethnic Georgians to believe it very important. Those living in the capital were 15 percentage points less likely than those in urban and rural communities to think that following traditions is very important for good citizenship. Gender and employment were not associated with attitudes on this question.

Attitudes toward volunteering also vary by ethnicity and settlement type. Ethnic Georgians were 13 percentage points less likely to view volunteering as very important to being a good citizen than ethnic minorities would.

In Tbilisi, volunteering was five percentage points less likely to be considered very important compared to other urban areas and 11 points less likely to be considered very important compared to rural areas. Age, gender, and employment did not have a significant association when controlling for other factors.

The data shows much more significant variation in terms of the importance of political behaviour for good citizenship.

With regard to being critical of the government, ethnic Georgians were 39 percentage points more likely to think that it was important compared to ethnic minorities. Those in the capital were 14 percentage points more likely than those in rural areas to think it important. Age, gender, and employment were insignificant when controlling for other factors.

When asked about the importance of being critical towards the opposition, ethnic minorities were 30 percentage points less likely to think it was important than ethnic Georgians. Those in the capital were 11 points more likely to think it important than those in rural areas. Gender, and employment, when controlling for other factors, are not associated with attitudes on this question.

The last marker of good citizenship is participation in protests. Young people (18-34) were 13 and 10 percentage points more likely than those aged 35-54 and 55+ to view this as an important aspect of good citizenship. Ethnic Georgians were 27 percentage points more likely to think protests were important for good citizenship than ethnic minorities. There was no meaningful difference between settlements, genders, or employment statuses when controlling for other factors.

The above data shows that Georgians tend to emphasize supporting fellow citizens and following traditions rather than engaging in politics when they think about what it means to be a good citizen.

The data used in this article is available here. Charts only display statistically significant associations between variables.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Europe Foundation, CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Georgians are becoming wearier of economic ties to Russia

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Elene Ergeshidze, a Researcher at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, NDI Georgia, or any related entity.

Imports to Georgia from Russia have been on the rise since 2011, and exports since 2013. As of 2021, 14% of Georgia’s exports went to Russia and 10% of Georgia’s imports came from Russia. But when looking at the recent past, there are clear indications that such economic reliance on Russia can be problematic.  The ban on trade in 2006 and suspension of flights in 2019 after the Gavrilov night clearly demonstrated this. 

Data from the CRRC Georgia and NDI surveys conducted before and after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine show that the Georgian public increasingly thinks the country should limit its economic interactions with Russia. 

Before the invasion, about half of Georgia (53%) believed that the country should deepen economic ties with Russia. Following the invasion, only one in four (25%) reported the same. 

The share of people who believe economic relations with Russia should remain as they are also increased after the invasion moving from 16% in February to 27% in March.

 

The data suggest that changes in attitudes are largest among young people, ethnic Georgians, people that do not support the ruling Georgian Dream party, and those who are better off. 

Young people (aged 18-34) became 21 points more likely to think that economic relations with Russia should be limited, compared with a 13-point change among older people (55+), controlling for other factors.

Ethnic Georgians became 19 points more likely to hold this view, compared to no significant change among ethnic minorities. 

Supporters of Georgian Dream became five percentage points more likely to think that Georgia should limit economic ties with Russia, compared with a 24 percentage point change among opposition supporters and a 19 percentage point change among those that did not report a party they support. 

Views also shifted particularly among the relatively well off. People living in households with the highest score on a wealth index shifted their views by 27 percentage points. People living in households with a median amount of wealth had a 20 percentage point increase while there was no significant change among those in the poorest households.

Note: This chart was generated from a regression model from the merged data. The model includes gender (male, female), age group (18–34, 35–54, 55+), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), education (secondary or lower, secondary technical, tertiary), ethnicity (Georgian, ethnic minority), party respondent names as closest to his/her views (Georgian Dream, opposition party, did not name a party (Don’t know, Refuse to answer, No party)), an additive index of ownership of different items, a common proxy for wealth, and a variable for when the survey was conducted.

Although the share of people who think Georgia should deepen its economic relations with Russia halved after the invasion, a regression analysis of the March data shows that men, people who are 35 and above, and Georgian Dream supporters were more likely to say that Georgia should deepen economic relations with Russia than women, young people (18-34), opposition supporters and people who did not name a party.

Note: This chart was generated from a regression model. The model includes gender (male, female), age group (18–34, 35–54, 55+), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), education (secondary or lower, secondary technical, tertiary), ethnicity (Georgian, ethnic minority), party respondent names as closest to his/her views (Georgian Dream, opposition party, did not name a party (Don’t know, Refuse to answer, No party)), and an additive index of ownership of different items, a common proxy for wealth.

While half the public felt that Georgia should deepen economic relations with Russia before the war, after the invasion, a plurality think Georgia should limit economic ties with their northern neighbour. These changes in views are particularly prominent among wealthier Georgians, ethnic Georgians, younger people, and those that do not support Georgian Dream.

Note: The data used in this article is available here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Georgia’s uneven post-pandemic economic recovery

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Dustin Gilbreath, a Non-resident Senior Fellow at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

Saying that COVID-19 changed the world is perhaps an understatement. Although a health catastrophe first and foremost, economies also plunged with the emergence of wide-ranging restrictions on activity. World Bank data suggests the global economy shrank between 2019 and 2020 by approximately 3.3%. In Georgia, the corresponding figures were a 6.7% decline in the size of the economy. 

As COVID-19 restrictions have been largely removed, the world has witnessed an economic recovery, albeit combined with the highest rate of inflation seen in recent memory. Despite wide-ranging rhetoric around building back better, data from a newly released World Bank study, which CRRC Georgia conducted, suggests that while the economy is recovering, many groups are facing greater barriers to re-entering the workforce.

Since December 2020, CRRC Georgia has been conducting a series of telephone surveys for the World Bank. The results of the survey show a clear rise in the share of the public that is engaged in employment. While 32% of the public (over the age of 18) reported having a job in December 2020, 43% did in March of 2022.

Still, this data indicates that employment has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels, with 51% of the public reporting that they had been employed prior to the pandemic.

 

While the economy is clearly recovering, the data also show that recovery in employment is unequal.

Regression analysis comparing people who lost a job during the pandemic and have not returned to employment to people who lost a job during the pandemic and did return to work suggests that a number of traditionally economically disadvantaged groups face larger challenges in re-entering the workforce.

Women who lost a job during the pandemic are 12 percentage points more likely not to be working at present than men, while people in poor households are substantially less likely to have re-entered the workforce.

In addition, the more elderly people there are in a household, the less likely someone who lost a job during the pandemic is to have returned. 

Similarly, in households with relatively large shares of children, people who lost a job during the pandemic are significantly less likely to be working today than in households with fewer children. 

People who did not get vaccinated are 14 percentage points less likely to have returned to the workforce than people who did get vaccinated.

In the one bright point in the analysis, people in families that receive targeted social assistance were more likely to return to work than in families that do not receive social assistance.

In contrast, there are no significant differences between age groups, settlement types, households with more and fewer members, people of different education levels, ethnic groups, and people who did and did not catch COVID-19 after controlling for the factors shown in the chart above.

Women, people with greater numbers of elderly people, and greater numbers of children in them all remain less likely to be employed at present than men and people without children or elderly people in the household.

This suggests that domestic work and care work burdens related to the pandemic may be at play in people’s lack of return to the workforce. However, this would require further research to confirm.

In the above context, actors working on Georgia’s economic recovery should look into policies which can support a more equal recovery.

Note: The data this article is based on is available here. The analysis of which groups have and have not returned to the workforce was conducted using a logistic regression which controlled for the following variables: Age (18-34, 35-54, 55+); Sex; Settlement type (Tbilisi, other urban, rural); Household member count; Education level (tertiary or not); Child dependency ratio (share of household 18 or under); Elderly dependency ratio (share of household over the age of 64); Received targeted social assistance aside from an old age pension; Caught COVID 19/ had a family member with COVID 19 or not; Vaccinated against COVID 19 or not; Ethnicity (Ethnic Georgian or ethnic minority); Wealth index (A simple additive index of ownership of a number of durable goods within a household).

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

What shapes attitudes toward the Soviet Union’s collapse in Georgia and Armenia?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Sasha Slobodov, an International Fellow at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

The 2021 Caucasus Barometer surveys in Georgia and Armenia suggest that attitudes toward the collapse of the Soviet Union are correlated with perceptions about satisfaction with life.

Overall, Georgians look back on the USSR much less fondly than Armenians do. Two-thirds (67%) of Armenians view the dissolution of the Soviet Union as ‘a bad thing’. In contrast, just 38% report the same in Georgia. About half (47%) of respondents in Georgia said that the end of the USSR was ‘a good thing’, while only 23% said the same in Armenia.

Though Georgians look back less favourably on the Soviet past, in both countries, those who see the dissolution of the USSR negatively are also more likely to have negative perceptions of life now. 

Georgian respondents who reported being less satisfied with their life were more likely to see the collapse of the Soviet Union negatively. Controlling for social and demographic variables, Georgian respondents who reported being very satisfied with their lives were 34 percentage points more likely to consider the collapse of the Soviet Union to be a good thing, compared to those who reported a very low level of satisfaction with their lives. A regression model suggests that the higher the respondent’s satisfaction with their life, the more likely they are to consider the dissolution of the Soviet Union to be a good thing.

However, this trend was not as pronounced in Armenia, where those who were more satisfied with their lives were only 10 percentage points more likely to consider the dissolution of the Soviet Union to be a good thing, compared to those who reported a lower level of satisfaction with their lives.

When asked the reasons for holding positive or negative perceptions of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Georgians and Armenians gave the same primary explanations.

The deterioration in people’s economic situation was mentioned by 69% of Armenian respondents and 65% of Georgian respondents who saw the end of the USSR negatively.

Among those who saw the dissolution positively, 79% of Georgians and 88% of Armenians said this was due to their countries gaining independence. 

There were no meaningful differences between those who were satisfied and dissatisfied with their jobs or who considered themselves to have relatively “poor” or “good” economic conditions in terms of whether or not they perceived the collapse of the Soviet Union to be a good thing.

Overall, the data suggests that the happier respondents are with their lives now, 30 years following the end of the Soviet Union, the more likely they are to see the collapse positively. This correlation is substantially stronger in Georgia than in Armenia. 

Note: The data in this article is available here. Analyses that do not link directly to CRRC Georgia’s online data analysis tool were conducted using logistic regression. The logistic regression included age group (18-34, 35-54, 55+), sex (male or female), education (completed secondary/lower, technical or incomplete higher education/higher), wealth (an additive index of ownership of 10 durable goods, a proxy variable), settlement type (Tbilisi, other urban areas, or rural areas), employment type (employed or not working), and level of satisfaction with life as controls. Whether or not the respondent thought the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a good or bad thing was the outcome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Who is pro-Russian in Georgia

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Givi Silagadze, a Researcher at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.


While this group is rarely examined, data from a March 2022 NDI/CRRC survey suggests that pro-Russian people in Georgia make up a fifth to a fourth of the public. 

The data suggests they tend to be more satisfied with the country’s direction, and assess the performance of the government more positively than people who do not sit in the pro-Russian camp.

What portion of the public can be considered pro-Russian?

Four different questions were used to identify Georgia’s pro-Russian public. People who responded in the following manner were considered pro-Russian for the purpose of this article:

  • People who report favourable or very favourable views of the Russian Government.
  • People who think that Russia’s influence on Georgia has increased in the last five years and that this is a good thing.
  • People who think that Georgia should have its closest economic cooperation with Russia, and at the same time, believe that Georgia should not have close economic cooperation with the EU or US.
  • People who think that Georgia should have its closest political cooperation with Russia.

People who responded in the above manner to at least one of the questions made up 23% of the electorate. 

Regression analysis was used to examine which social and demographic groups were more likely to sit in the pro-Russian camp. The data suggested that men and ethnic minorities were more likely to harbour pro-Russia attitudes than women and ethnic Georgians. 

Otherwise, no statistically significant differences were found in terms of age, education, settlement type, or party affiliation.

What does the pro-Russian camp think of where Georgia is headed?

With regard to the general direction of the country, pro-Russian Georgians tended to think the country was headed in the right direction more often than others. All else equal, people in the pro-Russian camp were 10 percentage points more likely to report that Georgia is developing in the right direction than people who were not in the pro-Russian camp.

Pro-Russians reported similar attitudes to the rest of the public regarding parliament’s performance as well as the work of President Salome Zurabishvili

However, pro-Russian Georgians were more likely to assess the Prime Minister’s work positively as well as that of the government. They were also substantially more likely — by 22 percentage points — to view the overall performance of the government positively.

The above data suggests that more analysis should be done about the roughly one-quarter to one-fifth of the public that holds pro-Russian views — views more often held by men and ethnic minorities.

Georgia’s pro-Russian camp were more satisfied with the performance of the executive branch of the government as well as the country’s general direction than people who are not pro-Russian.

Amid increasing concerns regarding recent steps by Georgia’s political leadership, the deteriorating media environment, and the country’s European path more generally, the pro-Russian segment of society being satisfied with the current direction of the country is telling, and a warning sign for those who advocate for Georgia’s democratisation and integration with Euro-Atlantic structures.

Note: The above data analysis is based on logistic regression models which included the following variables: age group (18-34, 35-54, 55+), sex (male or female), education (completed secondary/lower or incomplete higher education/higher), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), wealth (an additive index of ownership of 10 different items, a proxy variable), ethnicity (ethnic Georgian or ethnic minority), partisanship (Georgia Dream, opposition, no party/DK), and holding pro-Russia attitudes (pro-Russian, not pro-Russian). The data used in this analysis is available here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The importance of remittances for Georgian households

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Anano Kipiani, a Policy Analyst at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

Immigration from Georgia is common, with a prime motivator being the difficult economic situation in the country. Indeed, about three-quarters of Georgians have a close relative living abroad, and most send remittances to their relatives in Georgia. In turn, remittances made up 12.9%  of the country’s GDP in 2019. By comparison, agriculture’s contribution to GDP was about half of this number, at 6.5%. 

The study compared households that receive remittances to: similar households without remittances; similar households with migrants but who do not receive remittances; and similar households without migrants. 

Additionally, households that have migrants, but do not receive remittances were compared to the other three groups of households. This was done using a process called matching, which identifies similar groups of individuals.

Who gets remittances?

Overall, 19% of households reported receiving remittances from abroad in 2019. While looking at the types of households that receive remittances, a regression analysis suggests that households with one adult household member are 21 percentage points more likely to get remittances than households with five adult members. Households with children are six percentage points more likely to get remittances than households without children.

What are the impacts of remittances?

Households which receive remittances report their economic conditions are relatively positive compared to similar households that do not receive remittances. They are five percentage points more likely to assess their economic condition as relatively good, and nine percentage points less likely to believe they have relatively poor economic conditions. 

In contrast, migrant households that do not receive remittances are slightly more likely to assess their economic condition negatively (by six percentage points) compared with households that do not have migrants. 

Note: Answer options 'good' and 'very good' are recoded as 'relatively good', while 'poor' and 'very poor' are recoded as 'relatively poor'. Due to their small number, 'don’t know' and 'refuse to answer' were dropped from the analysis. In some cases, figures in this post may not sum up to 100% due to rounding errors.

Households that receive remittances compared with all other households were nine percentage points more likely to be able to afford enough food and clothes, five percentage points more likely to be able to afford to buy expensive durables, and eight percentage points less likely to not have enough money for food compared with other similar households. 

Remittances also appear to be associated with higher monthly incomes. Households with remittances are seven percentage points slightly less likely to report they earn less than $100 a month compared with all other households and migrant households without remittances. However, households with remittances are slightly more likely to respond ‘don’t know’ or refuse to answer, which is often associated with higher levels of asset ownership and in turn, likely income, in Georgia. 

Households that receive remittances also have more durable goods than others. From a list of 10 different goods asked about on the survey, migrant households owned nearly one additional good on average. At the same time, households with migrants that do not receive remittances had slightly fewer durable goods than households without migrants.

Overall, the data suggests that people benefit from receiving remittances, at least in economic terms. In contrast, households that have migrants but do not receive remittances do relatively poorly on some measures, though by no means all. Despite these positive economic impacts, the results do not speak to any effects, social, psychological, or otherwise, which may be tied to migration.

The data used in this post as well as replication code for the analysis is available here. A full policy brief on this issue is available here. The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Young people in Georgia want the government to focus on education

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Tamuna Khoshtaria, a Senior Researcher at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, GFSIS, or any related entity. 

study conducted in 2021 by CRRC Georgia for GFSIS focusing on the values and political activism of young people in Georgia shows that education is the primary field that young people aged 18–29 in Georgia want to be strengthened. 

Young people prioritise the development of education above other domains. Almost half of young people (48%) mentioned education when asked what field the government should support most. The next most common response was agriculture, which was named by a third (33%). Healthcare came in third, with a quarter of respondents naming this as a priority.

Note: Respondents could name up to two answers. Therefore the numbers do not add up to 100%.

A regression model suggests that whether young people prioritise education varies according to a number of factors.

Women were eight percentage points more likely to name education than men. 

Young people in rural areas named education less (49%) than those in the urban areas (56%) and the capital (57%). 

The younger a person was, the higher the chance they named education. The probability of someone aged 18–21 naming education was 61% compared to 48% for someone aged 26–29. 

Those with at least some tertiary education also name education more often. Young people with some tertiary education were 13 percentage points more likely to name education than young people with only secondary education.

That university students and recent graduates think that education should be a top priority may point to dissatisfaction with the quality of higher education. 

Other data in the study supports this conjecture. 

When asked to what extent the level of education in Georgian higher education institutions was satisfactory, almost half of those with at least some tertiary education expressed dissatisfaction in contrast to about one-third with secondary education.

Aside from demographics, young people’s attitudes towards the West also predicted whether or not they think education should be a top priority. Young people who said that integration with the European Union or NATO was very important to them were more likely to say that education should be a top priority compared to those who report EU/NATO integration was quite important or not that important.

Overall, the findings suggest that education is a top priority for young people aged 18–29 in Georgia. This is especially important for young women, those under 22, those living in the capital, those with experience in higher education, and those with pro-Western attitudes.  

The views presented in the article are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of GFSIS, CRRC Georgia or any related entity. 

Note: The analysis above is based on a logistic regression model.  The variables included in the regression include sex, age group, settlement type, and level of education. The analysis which included attitudes towards NATO and EU integration was conducted using a second and third model, where importance of NATO/EU integration were included as categorical variables in addition to the aforementioned variables. The data used in this blog post are available here.