Friday, October 31, 2008

Restructuring Schools in Armenian Neighborhoods: Does Social Capital Matter?

Public schools in Yerevan face serious problems of restructuring. Most of the schools have not been renovated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Does economic well-being affect the level of social capital in the neighborhood? Are the neighborhoods with higher social capital more likely to be willing to participate in school renovations? The answer depends not only on public cooperation, but also on socio-economic well-being. Armine Asryan together with her partner Anush Davtian investigated social capital in four neighborhoods of Yerevan.

According to the researchers, income positively determines the level of social capital -- the higher the income, the higher the social capital; and there is a further relationship between social capital and school renovation -- the higher the social capital, the more likely it is that the community will take part in school renovation. Armine characterized the communities as having low bridging and high bonding capital, which indicate low civic participation apathy and extreme individualism among those four communities.

The researchers developed policy recommendations such as enhancing the transparency of school boards. The data show that most of the respondents who expressed their willingness to support school restructuring affirm that they donate money through school boards. Therefore, clear and continuous reports on the management of the funds will enhance parents' participation in school renovation projects.

The paper is posted on the CRRC-Armenia website. Please let us know what you think.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Public Opinion on the Parliament in Georgia

Earlier this year CRRC-Georgia conducted a survey “Public Opinion on the Parliament in Georgia” for Transparency International. CRRC used a random walk methodology for the household selection and Kish table for the individual respondents with the sample size of 1895 respondents (1538 completed interviews; 19% non-response).

The survey includes several sections such as social capital, political views, knowledge and attitude toward the parliament, relationship with the parliament, media and political activities, as well as a demographic block. Here are some of the slides that we found interesting:

The Transparency International report will become available in the next few weeks. If you are interested in getting the dataset (and would like to help CRRC in cleaning the dataset a bit), email

Monday, October 27, 2008

World Press Freedom | Caucasus does badly!

Yet another index, and one with little happy news. How does world press freedom look? Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group founded in 1985 ("investigate, expose, support"), has just released an international ranking. A total of 173 countries are ranked, and the Caucasus is in the bottom third.

Armenia does best, ranked at 102, but is also down sharply from last year, following the state of emergency. Armenia is behind Ukraine (87) and Moldova (98). Armenia shares its place with Turkey, which with restrictions on various topics has a curtailed public space.

Georgia, also down sharply, is ranked at 120, behind Sierra Leone, Indonesia and other troubled countries, but still ahead of Kazakhstan (125) and Russia (141). The press release notes the state of emergency imposed in late 2007, and that several journalists became victims of the recent conflict.

Azerbaijan is ranked at 150, following Swaziland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and extraterritorial Israel, presumably the occupied territories. However, Azerbaijan is ahead of Zimbabwe (151), Belarus (154), Uzbekistan (172) and North Korea (173). Arguably, Azerbaijan should hope to move out of this company (where, as the report says, being a journalist "is a high risk exercise involving endless frustration and constant police and judicial harassment") and try to place itself closer to, say, Kuwait (61) or the United Arab Emirates (69), countries that build easy legitimacy through oil wealth.

But what exactly does the index measure? The website provides an overview over the methodology. The index is based on a survey with 49 questions, reflecting distinct criteria, and is available online. Attention is given to "every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment)." It also looks at whether those that violate press freedoms enjoy impunity. Moreover, it looks at legislation and the degree of self-censorship. Certainly, that's an important component: one friend, moderating a TV talk show found the producers interrupting through his earpiece, instructing him not to touch on certain topics.

While one has little reason to doubt that journalism is not in a happy state, and that unfortunately the rankings are broadly accurate, a little more detail on the methodology would have been useful. How are the different components weighted? To what extent, for example, was the sharp drop for Georgia explained by the recent conflict? Or did the index finally catch on more to problems of self-censorship? Or did it reflect, in particular, the violent closure of Imedi? Providing such detail would be helpful, since it could stimulate public debate, focusing on particular shortcomings.

To take a closer look, go to the website of Reporters Without Borders.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain vs Obama: Caucasus preferences

So here's something that we are a little puzzled about. The Economist is undertaking a poll to see which American Presidential candidate is favored by the world. In a very blue worldwide map, rooting for Obama, two noticeable yellowish spots, Macedonia and Georgia. McCain, of course, is popular in Georgia for having said "Today we all are Georgians" during the recent conflict. He has also previously visited the country, and apparently a missile was fired at his helicopter as he was flying over South Ossetia. His willingness to stand up to Russia, directly, makes him understandably popular in Georgia.

Now what puzzles us a little is that, according to The Economist, Obama apparently is more popular in Azerbaijan and Turkey. Is that really the case? Obama has been very outspoken about recognizing the Armenian genocide, and enjoys full support by the Armenian caucus, a sizable group of American legislators (apparently nearly one third of all legislators belong to it). So pronounced is this issue, that it has been described by The Atlantic as "McCain's Armenia problem"). So does that matter for comparing candidates?

For more depth, let's turn to Gallup World Poll (and we will be writing more about some of their impressive work in the region soon).

While Gallup has no data on Armenia and Azerbaijan, they have asked this question in Turkey and Georgia. And here lies one clue: in Turkey, 22% are pro-Obama, 8% pro-McCain. But 70% say they don't know, or refuse to answer. In Turkey, at least, the popularity of Obama, is based on the majority not having made up its mind yet. If Obama is elected, some delicate questions need to be resolved. See, again, the Atlantic article on this.

The data is, as far as we know, pre-conflict, collected in July, therefore the Georgian preferences may not be up to date: 15% Obama, 23% McCain, 62% Don't Knows/Refuse. So here, the race is pretty far away, too. Compare with the most extreme pro-Obama country, the Netherlands: 74% Obama, 10% McCain, 16% Don't Knows/Refuse.

Does the election matter to the world? Go to the Gallup website, and their nifty online data presentation, to find out more.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Comparing Civic Participation: Caucasus Data 2007

What's the level of engagement in the three countries of the South Caucasus? Are people involved? Are they staying abreast of what goes on? Again, our Data Initiative provides insight, since we asked people whether they had engaged in various activities over the last six months.

We seem to be seeing different patterns in the three countries. Print media, for example, is read a lot less in Azerbaijan than in the neighboring countries.

(in the last six months)

But of course, that could just be due to particular quirks: more television, or a bigger country in which relevant media does not make it out to the countryside. Just a blip? No, apparently not.

(also asked for the last six months)

Azerbaijanis indeed are less engaged in events. Few say that they discuss what is going on politically. One reason may be that they live in much more homogenous political space.

Generally, levels of civic engagement are low. This recalls, of course, Robert Putnam's Making Democracy Work, which says that civic association forms the basis of both political (in the sense of good governance: public health, education, policing, and so on) and of economic success. Conversely, a people caught in amoral familism will find it hard to collaborate to improve their communities; and since the majority of real public goods can only be attained by collective action, this could be a serious constraint on improving livelihoods.

(yep, last six months)

On that level, we are extremely glad that we have captured this data. It will allow us to track changes over time.

But is the news all bad? Actually, no. Azerbaijan sees quite some volunteering. As rumor has it, the communal subotnik which brings communities together to clean up and improve the neighbourhood still is alive in some places (although volunteering may be encouraged top-down). See the data:

(still: in the last six months)

And in a similar vein, there are contributions to charity in Azerbaijan. In part, this may be because tithing (giving one tenth) to charity is mandated under Islam, and (as you may recall from our previous post) about 15% in Azerbaijan actually say that they pray every day. That almost adds up.

(remember for how many months...?)

What we are describing, ultimately, is a fascinating research agenda: filtering out who the socially active people in a community are, and what makes them different, and how they were mobilized, and how this could be replicated.

Our data set, for anyone who wants to take that stab, is online, and more data on similar questions will follow soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Institutionalization of Ethnic Communities in Azerbaijan

The Russian community is the most institutionalized ethnic community in Azerbaijan, according to the research of Ilham Abbasov, a CRRC 2007 Fellow. This is due to the quite diverse nature of this community, some support from the kin state, and the demand for the social communication space among mostly urban Russian speaking actors.

The Lezgins, Talysh and Avar, the other ethnic communities studied by the fellow, do not have a particular demand for such space due to great ethnic, linguistic and cultural similarities with Azerbaijanis. This is the reason why they lack interest in ethnic organizations. These communities are closely integrated into Azerbaijani society, in general do not make distinctions between themselves and other people in Azerbaijan, and do not experience discrimination. Local (town/village) rather than national identity is important for these minority groups.

Another reason for weak institutionalization of ethnic minorities is the lack of financial means. The majority of ethnic community members are neither ready to participate in ethnic organizations, nor willing to support them financially, thus limiting alternative resources for the institutional development of such organizations. As a result of the aforementioned reasons and as well as the tight state control over ethnic institutions, the number of ethnic organizations is not expected to increase.

The full report is available at the CRRC-Azerbaijan website.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Policy Think Tanks | A Skeptical Assessment

Here is an assessment of policy research in Azerbaijan that we stumbled upon, in a yet-unpublished piece. It paints a stark picture, but we thought it provides food for discussion.


"Existing policy institutions are mostly shadow organization of one individual, where staff is added on an as needed basis (for example one key organization does not even mention staff members on its websites). Ultimately these individualistic organizations demonstrate well the old guard categorization - one of three less-than-flattering categories -- 1) the fleers 2) the old guard and 3) the GONGOers - that Azerbaijan policy analysts fall into.

The fleers, often of the younger generation, fearing the future direction of Azerbaijan, have sought to ensure the possibility of legally remaining outside of their country of birth. This group has either
  • left Azerbaijan to pursue further education and career opportunities in European or North American destination, while staying in the research field; or
  • migrated to the private sector to large multinational companies in Azerbaijan, with the goal of attaining geographic mobility and potentially expatriate status in the mid-term.
The old guard are generally those who received training during the Soviet era. This group can maintain some distance from the government; however, the risk being self-absorbed and may well be spoiled by an overabundance of funding that often has accepted shallow and low-quality outputs. Generally, therefore, the old guard see very limited use in updating their skill sets, since they remain comfortable doing what they have always done.

The GONGOers (Government Organized NGOs) are a combination of younger and older Azerbaijanis, who work for NGOs or research organizations that are either directly or indirectly funded by the Azerbaijani government. They have at best a limited capability of pursuing independent policy research.

As a result, there are almost no human resources to do policy research and many efforts to improve the situation have failed, a situation further exacerbated by three intersecting problems create a negative perception of policy research in Azerbaijan.
  1. Azerbaijani universities (maybe with the exception of Khazar) are not incubating the skills necessary for the younger generation to carry out policy analysis. There are competent lecturers, but they are exception. Curricula remain outdated; while many students want to learn, they have little formal opportunity to do so. There are many brilliant young people (as seen in the lively discussions on the Azerbaijani Studies Group), but they are largely self-taught.
  2. The private sector in Azerbaijan, dominated by an inner circle close to key families, does not demand high quality research. Business grows through oligarchic capture, not by a detailed orientation toward customers. Thus, there exists little independent market research (though there are some organizations with potential for reform such as SIAR and ERA) that could form the nucleus for quantitative, evidence-based approaches to policy research.
  3. The Azerbaijani government does not encourage independent analysis. It does not release important data publicly and at times actively discourages independent analysis.
A policy vacuum is therefore expanding in the country, which has no capacity to reflect systematically on its own challenges, and therefore no ability to articulate constructive solutions. The vacuum is well illustrated by hard numbers: last year one international organization offering stipends received 25 highly competitive applications to a scholarship program in Armenia, 14 in Georgia (where a lot of the potential talent is busy in government), but merely four competitive applications in Azerbaijan. On a more substantial level, Azerbaijan's bad public policy is visible everywhere and the country can no longer ignore its fundamental problems by palliative spending.

While the picture painted is a stark one, there is an opportunity to develop a new cohort of policy analysts, rather than trying to work with current researchers. This should significantly improve the mid- to long-term outlook of Azerbaijani policy research with the hope that a more open society will slowly emerge, which is more attractive to the younger generation. Such a move should plant the seeds of a virtuous cycle of better policy analysis in a younger generation by..."


Too rough an assessment? Is this not a bit too dark? What do you think? Comments welcome.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

South Caucasus Data 2007 on Unemployment

Unemployment clearly is one of the pressing issues in the South Caucasus. But there is a lack of reliable data on people being without and looking for a job. This blog, based on CRRC’s Data Initiative 2007, provides a snapshot on these numbers.

According to CRRC’s dataset, about 25% of the adult population in Armenia and Georgia, and 20% of Azerbaijan’s citizens say they are unemployed. Further analyzing these numbers shows that 18% in Georgia, 14% in Armenia and 12% in Azerbaijan are actually interested in looking for a job.

[Note: excluded are “students", "housewives", "disabled" or "retired" - even if they are looking for a job.]

Yet the data shows sizeable differences across the countries, depending on whether you ask in rural areas, urban environments, or the capital. Let's look at what people say when asked whether they consider themselves to be employed. Note that housewives, pensioners, disabled and students are also considered "not employed".

Do you consider yourself to be employed? This employment may be part-time or full-time, you may be officially employed, informally employed, or self-employed, but it brings you monetary income.

If you analyze the data of by settlement type, it reveals that of those that describe themselves as not employed a relatively low number of people look for work in Baku (22%), compared with Tbilisi (29%) and Yerevan (32%). Besides, about the same share of people (again, of those describing themselves as not employed with monetary income) in the three countries look for a job in rural areas (nearly 30%).

However, the data impressively illustrates that the major interest -- among those that are not employed -- in a workplace can be found in urban areas, where about 40% of Armenians and Georgians, and almost 50% Azerbaijanis try to find work. This figure powerfully underlines the desolation of Caucasian cityscapes.

Of those that are not employed, what percentage is looking for a job?

Finally, the DI statistics show that the same number (once you factor in the margin of error) of people is unemployed and interested in a job, but not currently looking: 6% in Armenia, and 5% in Georgia and Azerbaijan. A slightly lower number of the unemployed is not looking for a job at all. Have those already given up?

Now the definitions of unemployment always are a little complicated (are pensioners looking for work considered unemployed?), but here is an article that can help. If you are interested to check the datasets yourself , please download it from CRRC’s homepage. For more information on the Data Initiative project, please click here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How Supply fails Demand | Pots of Honey

So what plagues local business? In many cases it's the same problem we have in politics as well: there simply is the wrong paradigm. It is self-centered, rather than being other-centered. Or, if that sounds too much like marriage counseling, let's put it this way: too many sellers try to solve their own problems, rather than those of other people. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not how you can succeed in a market. After all, who likes to spend their money on other people's problems? Charity is not a business model, at least not in retail.

Now in the last few days, an email exchange that perfectly illustrates this problem. (Note: I changed names, and the person is not even local. But it demonstrates the perennial problem.)

Dear all,

Many of you have purchased honey produced by my in-laws out close to Bakuriani. This year we have a bumper harvest and I can honestly say that the honey is even more delicious than ever. Its great with tea or over hot cereal and is especially effective at warding off colds. Most of the honey sold in the bazroba is adulterated with sugar water, but the one we offer is all natural. Price is 15 GEL per liter [around 10 USD], different sizes can be arranged.

Please contact me off list or call XYZ at 877-1234567 to arrange delivery.



From: Hans Gutbrod
Subject: Re: honey for sale

To: Anna

Date: Saturday, October 4, 2008, 12:19 PM

Hi Anna,

I really liked the honey, but I think you'd market it more effectively if you sell it in small doses. The 1.5 Litre pot that I bought last year (or even the year before?) is still sitting in my apartment, and I am still scraping it...

I think if you sell it in 250g jars, maybe with a small cute label, for 6 GEL, with 1 GEL going towards the charity your husband runs, you'd have even more uptake.

Anyway, I'd happily take 4 jars of 250 g each, and would pay extra for the jars.


-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Re: honey for sale

Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2008 12:21:00 -0700 (PDT)

To: Hans Gutbrod

Hi Hans,

I've sold small jars in the past at the Christmas bazaar, but it's really not worth our time, not to mention the mess.
We have 2 tons of honey this year! If you'd like 2 half-liter jars, I can do that.



So effectily Anna (not her real name) is trying to solve her problem of 2 tons, rather than my problem of how to consume that honey.

Pooh the Bear would be impressed.

Note the maths: 4 x 250g @ 6 GEL = 24 GEL; subtract additional cost for label and jars, and you still could make more than 20 GEL, an extra 5 GEL on the 15 GEL per liter. And that price is realistic, since the market that Anna is advertising to is NOT price sensitive, merely focusing on quality and convenience.

At least as important, Anna is cutting herself off from a natural extra market: honey as a nice gift in and from Georgia. A small, well-labelled glass of honey works well, it's a present that anyone would like to give and receive. Conversely, who will schlepp 1 liter pots anywhere?

These giant pots of honey to me are emblematic of why supply so often fails to meet demand. Sweetness undesired, at least in that shape and form. No wonder, then, that you still have so much foreign honey lining local super-market shelves. I sometimes even wonder whether these little stories and lessons are not at least as important in characterizing the business malaise than the larger economic explanations.

Any other instances you have come across? Any suggestions for how we could measure this phenomenon?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Focus on non-oil tax policy as oil revenues predicted to decline

The IMF has recently published its analysis of the developments in non-oil tax policy, administration and revenues in Azerbaijan. Non-oil tax policy could be an important tool in stimulating the development of non-oil sectors of the country’s economy.

In 2007 the oil sector accounted for over the half of the country’s GDP. Last year 62% of FDI went to the oil industry. While the non-oil sector is reported to grow by 15.6% during the first half of 2008, the oil sector remains the major source of budgetary revenue.

The IMF has warned previously that the growth rates in Azerbaijan are expected to decline significantly after 2010, once oil production passes its peak period. Even though this forecast was later refuted by some experts, who believe that the oil potential of the deep-water oil fields has not been fully explored yet, the importance of development of the non-oil sectors is widely recognized.

The decline of oil production will directly affect the revenue from the tax collection. Although the non-oil tax revenues have been steadily increasing since 2003 (see the chart below), the collection level still is below its potential. Several reforms aimed at modernizing the tax administration were implemented. Still, the wide-spread underground economy adversely affects the level of tax revenue. To broaden the tax base, the IMF recommends to reduce tax exemptions and benefits, and to make the tax privilege procedures more transparent. Also, to increase compliance, tax regulations, as well as all instructions and forms must be simplified and made easy to understanding of all taxpayers. The author of the report also recommends to reduce direct tax rates and to apply a unified rate to personal and corporate income. Tax and custom administration in general must be strengthened. The paper is available at the IMF website.

Source: IMF 2008

Polling Data on Turkish-Armenian Bilateral Relations

Recently, as a result of the football diplomacy between Armenia and Turkey, an opinion poll was conducted in both Turkey and Armenia to gauge the reaction to new gestures in the Turko-Armenian relationship. The poll was carried out by MetroPoll in Ankara (Turkish only website) and by the Armenian Center for National and International Studies -- run by Rafik Hovannisian an American Diaspora Armenian now resident in Yerevan and involved in Armenian politics.

Unfortunately, the original questions asked or the sample size are not available online. However, the findings are indicative of the opinions of countries that are winners and losers (Turkey -- winner, Armenia -- loser).

In Turkey, almost 70 percent of the population found the Turkish president Abdullah Gül's trip was successful and presumably supported the normalization of relations with Armenia. What would have been more interesting to ask, however, was Turks view of the importance of normalizing relations with Armenia. I would hypothesize that the majority of Turks, particularly those who live far from Eastern Anatolia do not see the current position as hurting their economic interests and do not see the issue as vital -- particularly if it would require any change of Turkey's stance on the genocide issue. With Armenia's limited purchasing power, Turkey stands little to gain economically from opening its border. Furthermore, Turkey already export to Armenia through Georgia, and it is presumably Armenia that pays the higher costs for goods, not Turkey.

Interest in Armenia may be more pronounced for those Turks who live in Kars and other settlements bordering Armenia. However, while these places stand to gain most from cross-border trade, they also may have much stronger feelings about how the opening of the border may affect their lives and have potential worries about attempts of Armenians to reclaim or purchase property in the area.

Given the deep and continuing melancholy that permeates much of Armenian society's consciousness as a result of the slaughter and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Armenians from Eastern Turkey and the central role that genocide plays in Armenian political culture, the Armenians show much more skepticism towards normalized relations with Turkey -- though the news is not all bad. Only 11 percent of respondents said they were against all cooperation with Turkey -- albeit 76 percent were only willing to normalize relations after certain preconditions were met. Ostensibly, preconditions revolve around the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

However, we would expect that more thorough plumbing of Armenian citizens' perceptions may reveal a more nuanced understanding of the policy trade-offs involved in preconditions. Likely, many more Armenians may be willing to engage in some compromise, if it meant more sustainable economic growth. Unlike Turkey, Armenia stands to reap large economic benefits from the opening of the border with Turkey. Transport costs would drop significantly for the many Turkish products that already wend their way through Georgia to Armenia; moreover, Armenia would have a more ready export market for finished goods they produce -- particularly if the Caucasian Tiger becomes more of a reality than a simulacrum.

Whatever the future for relations between Turkey and Armenia may hold, it is important to continue to provide open and reliable data on the process.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The August Conflict | Economic Impact on Georgia?

Tbilisi radar, destroyed by a Russian missile

In Georgia, attention now turns towards sorting out the impact of the short August conflict. How plausible is the reporting we are seeing? Do the journalists get it right?

Here's one account by the New York Times, outlining some of the damage and the upcoming challenges.

Click here for the complete article (access is free, but it will require you to register; we can make the article available to you directly as well).

Posted on an e-mail newsgroup focusing on Georgia, this NYT article quickly drew a response. Here is what (Dr.) George Welton, a consultant we have worked with extensively and who has done various research projects in Georgia, had to say:

"This is sufficiently fishy to warrant comment. First, ‘Caucasian Tiger’ gimme a break. As far as I could tell before the war the economy was vastly overheating with an inflated property market and a banking sector expanding way too fast (is there any other city in the world with this many ATMs?) But more importantly, Georgia was still not really producing anything that the world wanted to buy. Two of its largest exports – manganese and copper – have increased their revenues dramatically largely because of the price of resources going up on world markets and agriculture has still not recovered from the Russian market closing (wine is now exporting at about 40% its pre-ban levels – not allowing for inflation). But now everything wrong with the Georgian economy is going to be blamed on the war.

That said, I think that the war damage melodrama is vastly unhelpful.

1/ I don’t really buy this claim of $50 million repair costs for Caucasus Online. Can anyone verify this happened? I know people who were emailing, texting and skyping throughout the war – and there are lots of reasons why a business might want to exaggerate its losses. I have a feeling a lot of Georgian businesses might find they had things hit by the Russians in coming weeks.

2/ The tourist season has been damaged but ‘Russian tourists?!’. The Armenian tourists (who have to be the vast majority of the Georgian tourist market) will be back next year.

3/ There is no evidence that the fire outside of Borjomi National Park was started with incendiary bombs. The 950 hectares (just under 10 square kilometres) was almost entirely outside the park (the revised Gvt figures put 150 hectares in the park) and even if it had all been in the park, this is only slightly more than 1%. Borjomi did not ‘burn’.

4/ The idea that the Russians targeted infrastructure or that they might in the future is completely unsupported by the evidence. One train bridge (right next to another train bridge which almost immediately replaced it) was destroyed. None of the key infrastructure (Inguri dam, the BTC pipeline, the ports etc) were damaged significantly.

5/ The banking system survived without banks closing their doors for a significant time and in spite of the fact that there was a war. This is remarkable and while I am sure it will continue to need support, I think this should be seen as a sign of the strength of the Georgian economy, not its weakness.

6/ One billion infrastructure losses?!? – I guess he must be talking about the military (which still seems a little implausible)

The reason why this matters is that where the article is right is that the key damage to this country is investor confidence. Foreign aid might get the Georgian budget through the next two years or so – but after that if investors don’t start to come back then the country is really in trouble. And talking about the horrendous damage and huge risks that Russia poses to the country are not going to help that confidence return.


So far George Welton's comments. Any views?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

No Adult Male Role Models: Distorting Armenian Male Teenager’s View of Masculinity

Gender issues in Armenia are currently under-evaluated and are interpreted predominantly as women's issues. Most of the recommendations drawn from different research suggest special policies to support and reinforce women's integration into traditionally male-dominated areas. According to CRRC-Armenia fellow Mariam Martirosyan, it is dangerous to ignore areas where significant under-representation of men is apparent; since in the long-term view, it may lead to a outcome for the Armenian male, the Armenian family unit and Armenian society in general.

Mariam Martirosyan studied the impact of the lack of adult male role models or senior male mentorship in Armenian schools on male teenagers' perceptions of masculinity. The research findings were alarming. The lack of male teachers in contemporary Armenian schools causes misperceptions on masculinity and male gender values among teenagers, often resulting in increased crime rates and delinquent behavior among young male adolescents.

In the attempt to find solutions to the problem presented in the paper, the fellow recommended to attract and engage more men into Armenia's secondary schools by increasing teachers' salaries; to bridge adult and young males via programs like the ZANG program, to assign male students of higher education institutions as mentors for primary, secondary and high-school students; to organize frequent tours to the army or to different factories dealing with technology and construction.

The fellow published an article in the June 2008 issue on "Journal of Education and Human Development" at the Scientific Journals International. The paper (in PDF format) is also available for download at the CRRC-Armenia website.