Monday, December 23, 2019

Who believes Georgia will regain its territorial integrity?

Territorial integrity is frequently cited by Georgians as one of the most important national issues, but the relative salience of Georgia’s territorial conflicts has declined since the 2008 Georgian-Russian war. Evidence from the 2013 Caucasus Barometer suggests that there is a high level of uncertainty about when or if the conflicts will be resolved and that there is little public support for any type of settlement involving less than the full restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity (such as high levels of autonomy for Abkhazia or a confederation state).

Georgians are split in their expectations about whether the country’s territorial integrity will be restored: when asked in the March 2018 CRRC-Georgia/NDI survey whether they agree or disagree that Georgia’s territorial integrity will be restored in the next 15 years, 35% agreed and 38% disagreed (the rest didn’t know or refused to answer). What might explain this variation in attitudes towards the future of Georgia’s territorial integrity? To find out what predicts these attitudes, this blog uses multinomial logistic regression analyses and data from the March 2018 CRRC-Georgia/NDI survey.

Beliefs about whether territorial integrity will be restored are likely to be related to a more general optimistic or pessimistic outlook on Georgia’s prospects: it is plausible to assume that people who think the country is going in the right direction are more likely to agree that territorial integrity will be restored and vice versa. Evidence from the analysis supports this: a person who believes that Georgia is going in the right direction is more likely to agree that territorial integrity will be restored compared to someone who believes that Georgia is not changing at all, and a person who believes that Georgia is going in the wrong direction or not changing at all is more likely to disagree that territorial integrity will be restored.

Perhaps more surprisingly, the analysis also suggests that support for joining the European Union and NATO and a belief that US military assistance to Georgia has increased are good predictors of a belief that territorial integrity will be restored. Even controlling for a general attitude about the direction in which Georgia is going, respondents who approve of the government’s aim to join NATO and the EU and who believe that US military assistance has increased are more likely to say they agree that territorial integrity will be restored.

Support for joining the EU and NATO are highly correlated, so two separate models were run – one using a question on approval of NATO membership, and one using a question on approval of EU membership. In model 1, approval of joining NATO is positively associated with a belief that territorial integrity will be restored. Those who believe US military assistance has increased are also more likely to have this belief. In model 2, which includes the question on EU rather than NATO membership, we see a similar pattern: support for EU membership and a belief that US military assistance has increased are both positively associated with a belief that Georgia’s territorial integrity will be restored. The effect of NATO support on believing territorial integrity will be restored is stronger than the effect of EU support on this belief.





It should be noted that the absolute number of respondents who believe that US military assistance has increased is quite small (19%). Still, 50% of this group believe that Georgia’s territorial integrity will be restored. Another variable from a question relating to defence issues provides some further insights. In both models, a belief that Georgia’s defence capabilities have worsened is associated with being less likely to agree that territorial integrity will be restored compared to those who believe those capabilities have stayed the same. However, believing that Georgia’s defence capabilities have improved is not associated with agreeing that territorial integrity will be restored.

One possible interpretation of these findings is that attitudes about the prospects for territorial integrity are not about military capabilities per se, or about international alliances and Euro-Atlantic integration alone, but more specifically about external military support. While the association between support for EU membership and believing territorial integrity will be restored may cast doubt on this interpretation, there is some evidence from the same survey that people support EU membership not only because of the potential economic benefits, but also for the prospects of greater security and, albeit to a far lesser extent, as a way of helping restore territorial integrity. However, respondents were not asked how they thought territorial integrity would be restored (or what would prevent it from being restored), so it is not possible to draw such conclusions from this survey and further research is necessary to fully explain these attitudes.

Note: The analysis uses multinomial logistic regression. The dependent variable is belief in whether territorial integrity will be restored in 15 years (‘Agree’, ‘Disagree’, ‘Don’t Know’). The base category is ‘Don’t Know’. The tables show the predicted probabilities for the following independent variables (with base category in parentheses): political direction the country is going in (no change), EITHER approval/disapproval of the government’s goal to join the EU (don’t know) OR approval/disapproval of the government’s goal to join NATO (don’t know), if Georgian defence capabilities have improved/worsened (stayed the same), if US military assistance to Georgia has increased/decreased (stayed the same). The other independent variables are sex, age group, settlement type, ethnic minority domain, and party support. The following variables were recoded as dummy variables and tetrachoric correlation was used to test the extent to which pairs of variables were correlated with each other: approval/disapproval of NATO membership, approval/disapproval of EU membership, country direction, US military assistance, and Georgian defence capabilities. The relatively high correlation between support for NATO and EU membership meant that they were not used in the same regression. All other pairs are independent of each other. 

Replication code of the full analysis is available here. The data used are available here.  


Monday, December 16, 2019

Perceptions of healthcare quality in Georgia

Affordable healthcare remains one of the main national issues for people in Georgia: 18% of people considered it one of the most important issues in the July 2019 CRRC and NDI survey. The salience of this issue was at its highest in 2012 (35%), and has decreased over the years, particularly in light of the passage of the universal health insurance program. Nonetheless, affordable healthcare remains one of the most important issues for the public and particularly the cost of medicine, which is one of the three largest costs for over a third of families in Georgia. In this regard, it is unsurprising that over half of the population name the cost of medicine or the cost of care/doctor visits as the largest ones facing the healthcare system in Georgia. The second most common issue, which 24% of respondents named on the question about issues in the healthcare system, was a concern over the lack of professionalism of doctors and medical personnel, something associated with the quality of care.

At some level, people have contradictory attitudes towards the quality of care in Georgia. For instance, the majority of people in Georgia (71%) are satisfied with the quality of healthcare. Moreover, the majority of the population (79%) trusts the medical diagnoses that doctors give in Georgia.  At the same time, every other person reports that if they were in need of complicated surgery or treatment, they would prefer to have it done abroad instead of in Georgia.

Further analysis of the above questions suggests that assessments of the universal healthcare program, ethnicity, and age are related to people’s satisfaction with quality of care. People who assess the universal healthcare program positively are more likely to be satisfied with the quality of healthcare in Georgia. Similarly, ethnic minorities and people between the ages of 35 and 54 are more likely to be satisfied than ethnic Georgians and younger people (18-34). Aside from demographics, people who do not trust diagnoses are more likely to be dissatisfied with the quality of the healthcare as are people who report that they felt like doctors prescribed medicine for personal financial gain.




 As with the previous analyses, a number of factors predict whether or not someone wants to seek treatment abroad, including education level, wealth, ethnicity, and age. Wealthier people are more likely to prefer to have surgery done abroad than in Georgia. Ethnic Georgians, young people, and people who have higher than secondary education are also more likely to prefer having surgery done abroad. As in the previous analysis, attitudes like trust in diagnoses and satisfaction with healthcare quality are also associated with preferences for treatment/surgery abroad. People who distrust diagnoses that doctors give in Georgia and people who are not satisfied with the quality of healthcare in Georgia are more likely to report that they would prefer surgery to be done abroad. The same is true of people who felt that doctors prescribed medicine they did not need for personal financial gain.




The above analyses lead to a number of conclusions. First, people’s satisfaction with the quality of healthcare is associated with their attitudes towards other aspects of the healthcare system in Georgia. Second, ethnic Georgians, wealthy people, and young people perceive a lower quality of healthcare. Third, people’s views are contradictory. On the one hand, they express satisfaction with the quality of care, while related questions suggest there are issues with healthcare quality.

Note: The data in the above analysis and replication code for the above analysis is available here and here. The analysis uses a logistic regression, which includes the variables depicted in the graphs above.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Optimism Regarding EU membership is decreasing

Georgia is not a candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), but the government has the stated goal of joining the EU when the country is ready for it. According to the Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia survey (EU Survey) CRRC-Georgia conducted in spring 2019 for Europe Foundation, 71% of the population of Georgia would vote for EU membership if a referendum were held tomorrow. Only 10% would vote against it and 7% would not vote at all. While support for joining the EU is clearly high, people are increasingly pessimistic about how long it will take Georgia to join.

Since 2009, the EU Survey has asked respondents, “When will Georgia join the EU, in 5 years or less, in 6-10 years, in more than 10 years, or never?”  The chart below shows that optimism regarding joining the EU is declining. Respondents who think that Georgia will join the EU in 5 years or less has declined from 30% in 2009 to 15% in 2019. Furthermore, the share of respondents who think that Georgia will join the EU in more than 10 years and those who think that Georgia will never join the EU has increased from 10% in 2009 to 19% in 2019 and 1% in 2009 and 11% in 2019, respectively. Consequently, the data suggest that optimism on this issue is on the decline.



To understand the current situation, further analysis of the 2019 wave of the EU survey was conducted. The analyses shows sex, age, settlement type, and education level are associated with people’s outlooks. Generally, people older than 55 are less likely to be optimistic regarding Georgia joining the EU than people from 18 to 35 years old. Female respondents are less pessimistic compared to male respondents.

Aside from demographics, party preferences could also reasonably be tied to people’s expectations as positive assessments about a number of issues are tied to whether or not people support the party in power (e.g. see here and here). The data suggest that people who report not knowing or refuse to answer the question about the party closest to them are less optimistic than GD Supporters. UNM, Alliance of Patriots Supporters, and supporters of no party are also more pessimistic than GD supporters.






Note: On the above chart, base categories for each variable are as follows: male, 18-34 age group, Rural, Georgian ethnicity, higher than secondary education, and Georgian Dream supporter. The category “No party” consists of individuals that responded none when asked which party was closest to them. The category “other party” consists of individuals who named other parties not categorized above. 

Optimism over Georgia joining the EU is declining, and this decline started after 2013. People older than 55, people who support no party, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, and UNM supporters are more pessimistic regarding this issue than GD supporters.

Note: The above analysis is based on a multinomial logistic regression analysis, where the dependent variable is optimism over Georgia joining the EU which is measured through the question “When will Georgia join the EU?” The independent variables are party support, gender, age group, ethnicity, settlement type, and education. The data used in the blog is available here. Replication code of the above data analysis is available here.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Who thinks the EU is a threat to Georgian culture?

[Note: This article was originally published in partnership with OC-Media, and is available here.]

If a referendum were held tomorrow, 71% of Georgians would vote for the country to join the European Union according to CRRC Georgia and Europe Foundation’s 2019 survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia (EU Survey). 

Clearly, a large share of the public supports the country’s integration into European structures. Still, over a quarter of Georgians are against the country joining the EU.

One reason that is often talked about in this regard is that some suggest the European Union poses a threat to Georgia’s culture and traditions. Further analysis of the EU survey suggests that this sentiment has been on the rise over the last ten years, and is associated with lower levels of support for Georgia joining the EU.

This suggests that if the Government of Georgia and EU want to build a greater societal consensus on the country’s Western integration, demonstrating that the EU is not a threat to Georgian culture and traditions matters.

Respondents to the EU survey have been asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that the EU threatens Georgian traditions since the survey started in 2009. The share who disagree with this statement has changed relatively little over the years: 48% disagreed with the statement in 2009 and 46% did in 2019. The only exception was in 2015 when there was a 9 percentage point dip in disagreement and 15 percentage point increase in agreement with the statement.

While disagreement with the idea has been stable, uncertainty has declined and agreement with the idea that the EU poses a threat to Georgian traditions has been on the rise. 

In 2009, 28% of the public responded don’t know or refused to answer the question. Only 12% did in 2019. In 2009, only 23% of the public thought that the EU posed a threat to Georgian traditions. In contrast, 42% did in 2019. The decline in uncertainty and rising threat perception suggests that many people’s attitudes have formed in recent years.




Note: On the above chart, the agree category is composed of response options ‘agree’ and ‘agree more than disagree’. The disagree category is composed of response options ‘disagree’ and ‘disagree more than agree’.

Further analysis of the 2019 wave of the survey suggests that a number of groups are more likely to think that the EU represents a threat. Men, people in rural areas, those with vocational education, and ethnic Georgians are all significantly more likely to think the EU is a threat to Georgian tradition.

In contrast, age was not a significant predictor of whether or not someone perceived the EU as a threat, all else equal.



Although the perception that the EU is a threat to Georgian tradition is on the rise, most people who perceive it as threat still support Georgia’s potential membership in the European Union (65%). This compares to 76% of people who support EU membership and do not perceive the EU as a threat to Georgian culture.

A further analysis testing for an association between the perceived threat to culture and whether or not someone would vote for EU membership suggests that, controlling for the above demographic factors, perceiving the EU as a threat is associated with a 15 percentage point lower chance of reporting that one would vote for EU membership if an election were held tomorrow.

The data shows that the public is increasingly worried that the EU is a threat to Georgian culture. It also suggests that efforts at assuaging fears related to threats to tradition should focus on people in rural areas, people with vocational education, and ethnic Georgians.

While the perception of the EU as a threat to Georgian culture is present, most who perceive this threat still would support the country’s membership in the EU.

Nonetheless, attitudes change, and if relevant actors want to ensure that Georgian society maintains its pro-Western orientation, demonstrating that the EU is not a threat should be a priority.

Note: The second chart in this blog is based on a logistic regression analysis. The analysis compared individuals who agreed with the statement to all other individuals in the sample, except those who refused to answer the question. The analysis included age group, sex, settlement type, ethnicity, and education level. The data used in the above analysis can be found here. The replication code for the above analysis can be found here.

Dustin Gilbreath is the Deputy Research Director 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.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Attitudes towards the new banking regulations

The share of the public with loans from formal financial institutions doubled from 2011 to 2016 according to World Bank Group’s analysis based on Integrated Household Survey in Georgia. The July 2019 CRRC/NDI survey data suggests that about half of the population has a loan. To address perceived over-indebtedness, on 1 January, 2019 the National Bank of Georgia introduced new regulations, restricting lending without more extensive analysis of a consumer’s solvency. The analysis includes looking at an individual’s income, expenses and total obligations, and determination of debtors’ capacity to service their loans without significant financial difficulties.

But, what does the public think about the new regulations?

Almost half of the population approves of the new regulations, a third disapproves, and the remainder are uncertain or did not respond to the question. Considering that the Georgian Dream introduced the regulation it is unsurprising that Georgian Dream supporters have a more favorable view of the legislation than people who identify with the United National Movement (UNM). People who identify with liberal parties or support no party at all are less likely to approve of the new regulations compared to GD supporters. Apart from party support there are no significant differences between different social and demographic groups. Nor is there any significant difference in approval between people who have and do not have loans.





Although every second person in Georgia has a loan, the data suggests that having a loan is not associated with approval of the new regulations. However, support for different parties is. Those who identify with UNM, liberal parties or no party are less likely to approve the regulations compared to ruling party’s supporters.

Note: This blog post is based on a binary logistic regression analysis. The analysis includes having a loan or not, age group, settlement type, education level, party support, and employment status. The party support variable is coded as follows. The category “No party” consists of individuals that responded none or don’t know when asked which party was closest to them. The liberal group consists of New Rights, Bakradze-Ugulava - European Georgia, the Republican Party, the Free Democrats, the New Political Center – Girchi, the Movement State for the People, Political Platform - New Georgia, European Democrats, and Development Movement. The other grouping consists of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, Free Georgia, Democratic Movement – United Georgia, Left Alliance, Industry will save Georgia/Industrialists, the Georgian Conservative Party, the Georgian Labor Party, the Unity of Georgian Traditionalists, Tamaz Mechiauri for United Georgia, and Georgian Troupe. The data this blog post is based on is available here. The replication code for the above analysis is available here.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Knowledge of visa-free requirements falls since launch of scheme

Georgian citizens have been able to travel visa free within the Schengen zone for approaching three years, the result of several years of complex dialogue and policy reform. Despite the elapsed time, and a major EU-funded public information campaign, the results of the 2019 Survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia (EU Survey) suggest that public knowledge of requirements for visa free travel have fallen since the scheme launched. Similarly, the same period has seen a large rise in the number of Georgian citizens being denied entry to EU countries, with Eurostat reporting over four thousand such cases in 2018 alone, up over a third since 2017.

For a Georgian citizen to enter the Schengen zone under the visa-free regime, the following documents are required:

  • A biometric passport;
  • Proof of financial means to cover expenses;
  • A return ticket;
  • Proof of address during stay (for example a hotel reservation).
Additionally, stays may not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period, and visitors under the visa free regime are not allowed to work.

In both the 2017 and 2019 waves of the EU survey, respondents were asked about their knowledge of requirements for documentation, length of stay, and right to work. The data suggest a marked decline in areas of knowledge asked about aside from the requirement for a biometric passport and the duration of stay. Falls were seen in awareness of the need for proof of address during the stay, proof of financial means to cover expenses, and a return ticket. In addition, there was a steep decline in knowledge of whether or not one can work during a stay.






To better understand who is more and less aware of the above requirements, a simple additive index describing an individual’s overall understanding of the EU requirements outlined above was developed. Correct responses to the above questions are counted as one point, resulting in knowledge scale from 0-6, with a score of zero representing no correct responses and six representing fully correct responses. Overall, across both waves, less than one percent of respondents answered all six questions correctly, with 13% answering none correctly. The average score on the index decreased from 2.6 in 2017 to 2.2 in 2019.

Scores on the index in 2019 are associated with the sex, age, ethnicity, employment status, education level, and internet use. After accounting for other factors, there is no significant differences in awareness between people living in Tbilisi, other urban areas, and rural areas. Younger people, men, people with tertiary education or higher, ethnic Georgians, the employed, and regular internet users are more likely to have better knowledge of the requirements for visa free travel on average, all else equal. By far the largest observed difference was for ethnic minorities, who are predicted to score one point lower on the knowledge index than ethnic Georgians.







This pattern is reflected in minorities reporting lower levels of awareness across all questions asked, except travel insurance. For example, 56% of ethnic minority respondents knew about the need for a biometric passport compared to 81% of Georgians survey – a 35 percentage point difference. Similarly large differences between Georgian and minority respondents were observed in correct responses relating to the right to work and financial requirements for entry, with minority respondents as a group respectively scoring 17 and 14 percentage points lower than their ethnic Georgian counterparts.






Although ethnic minorities are consistently less aware of visa free regulations, the overall decline in awareness appears to be driven by a fall among ethnic Georgian respondents. Between 2017 and 2019, there is a rise along some dimensions of knowledge of the requirements reported by ethnic minority groups. However correct responses from ethnic Georgian respondents have fallen in three of the six domains asked about.







While knowledge is lower among ethnic minorities, their knowledge has increased between waves of the survey along some dimensions. In contrast, awareness of the rules of visa free travel have been on the decline among the ethnic Georgian population.

With the available data, it is not possible to identify the source of the higher baseline (2017) scores for ethnic Georgian respondents vis-à-vis ethnic minorities, nor the driving factors behind their divergent changes over the past two years. This noted, this pattern would be consistent with the hypothesis that previous information campaigns may have been more effective in reaching ethnic Georgians than minority groups, and that public awareness has slipped as this issue has fallen from national headlines.

Substantial numbers of Georgian citizens have been denied entry to the EU since the introduction of visa-free travel, a process which generates significant financial costs and personal distress for the individuals concerned. In this context, it is concerning that the Georgian public’s knowledge of requirements for visa-free travel to Schengen zone countries has fallen since 2017 – suggesting a need for renewed messaging around the details of the scheme.

Furthermore, whilst there are some differences between knowledge across many demographic categories, ethnic minority groups display substantially lower knowledge than any other group. As such, for any renewed information campaign to be effective, it should take concrete steps to ensure the inclusion of ethnic minority groups.

Note: The data presented in the above blog post is available here. Replication code for the regression analysis is available here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Government employees assess the work of the government better than the general public

The outlook in Georgia continues to be increasingly pessimistic, with more people reporting that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Similarly, performance assessments of government institutions have been on the decline in recent years. As recent CRRC analyses have highlighted, party identification, attitudes towards individual politicians, ethnicity, and Georgian language proficiency among ethnic minorities are associated with attitudes towards government. Analysis of the July 2019 CRRC and NDI survey suggests that working for the state is also associated with performance assessments. However, government employees in poor households and those in Tbilisi rate government performance significantly worse.

On the survey, 32% of respondents reported the government was performing well. In contrast, 60% said it was performing poorly. The remaining respondents stated either that they don’t know or refused to answer how they thought the government was doing.  On the survey about one in ten (12%) respondents said they work for a public agency or government, which is equivalent to one third of the respondents on the survey that reported having a job (33%). While 30% of people who do not work for government responded to the survey question saying the government was working well, 44% of state employees reported it was working well. Aside from state employees, people with tertiary education were more positive about government performance than people without, and people in the capital were less positive than in other settlements.





The significantly higher performance assessment among government employees remains after controlling for age, settlement type, wealth, sex, employment status, and education level. After adjusting for the previously noted characteristics, state employees are 14 percentage points more likely to report the government’s performance is positive compared to those without a job and 13 percentage points more likely than those with a job outside government. Similarly, the differences with education and settlement type remained after controlling for other factors. Other variables included in the analysis did not show significant associations with assessments of state performance.

However, digging deeper into the data to look at differences among different groups of government employees suggests that some government employees are more approving than others. Government employees that are in wealthier households (and presumably also earning larger amounts of money), are significantly more likely to have a positive attitude towards state performance: there is an 8% chance that the poorest government employees think government performance is positive compared with a 68% chance among the best off government employees. By comparison, performance assessments do not vary with wealth for those outside state employment.






Attitudes among government employees also vary based on what type of settlement they live in. In Tbilisi, government employees are most critical of the government, while in other urban and rural areas, they are significantly more likely to report they are positive about government performance. By comparison, the differences are much smaller between settlement types for individuals that are not employed or work outside of government.





While on average, people working for the government are more likely to think performance is better, government employees in Tbilisi and living in poor households are significantly less positive about government performance compared with both other government employees and the general public.

Note: The above analysis is based on two logistic regression analyses. The first contains sex (male, female), state employment (state employee, employed elsewhere, not working), wealth (number of assets owned), education level (secondary or less, vocational, or tertiary), age, and settlement type as independent variables. The dependent variable was positive (Very well, well) versus negative (Poorly, Very poorly) responses to the question, “Please tell me, how would you rate the performance of the current government?” The second analysis included the interaction of employment status with wealth as well as with settlement type. The data used in the above analysis is available here. The replication code for the above analysis is available here.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Drugs for desert? Biggest monthly household expenses in Georgia

The economy remains the main concern for people in Georgia. Together with the consumer price index and USD-GEL exchange rate rising, average household expenditures also have increased over the last couple of years. Meanwhile, according to recent data only 10% of the population has any savings. Although household expenditures have increased, what are people spending money on? The most recent CRRC-NDI survey from summer 2019 asked questions about household expenditures which provide a sense about what people spend money on in Georgia as well as who spends more on different categories of goods and services.

Most of the families in Georgia spend everything they earn. When asked about the largest monthly household expenses, everyday necessities came out on top, while leisure related expenditures were named by only a few. Food and utilities were named twice as frequently as any other expense. While this might not be a surprise, it is noteworthy that expenses on medicine came third, with more than one in three naming it as one of their largest monthly household expenses. Interestingly enough, some people, though a negligible number, still name travel, exercise, and entertainment related expenditures as the largest.






Note: Respondents were allowed to name up to three categories.

To understand how household expenditures vary between different demographic groups regression models were constructed. They included sex (male, female), age group (18-34, 35-54, 55 and +), settlement type (capital, large urban, small urban, rural), ethnic enclave status (primarily Georgian settlements, primarily minority settlements) and an additive index of ownership of different items, a common proxy for wealth.

When looking at the most common household expenses, food and utilities are on top regardless of people’s gender, age, the type of settlement they live in, or their economic situation. Nevertheless, the regression model showed that several demographic variables are useful in predicting who is more likely to have certain kinds of expenditures. For example, people who live in the capital  are less likely to name loans/installments/mortgages as their largest monthly expenditure compared to people in small urban and rural areas. People over 55 and people with lower economic standing are much less likely to name this expenditure as well, compared to people who are younger and people with higher economic standing. Also, minority settlements are less likely to name loans compared to Georgian settlements.






Similarly, there are some small differences in terms of education costs as well. People who are over 55 and men are slightly less likely to name education related expenditures compared to younger people and women. In households with higher economic standing, education related expenses are more likely to be mentioned among the largest monthly household expenditures.

One of the most interesting issues to look at is spending on medicine. It is third highest on the list, which is telling: a third of the population is spending as much or more medicine as food. There are also some interesting differences between various groups associated with medicine related expenses. People living in small urban and rural areas are more likely to name medicine among their top expenditures than those who live in the capital. Also, minority settlements are slightly less likely to mention medicine in their expenditures, than people from Georgian settlements. Similarly, younger people are one third as likely to name medicine, compared to people who are 56 or older. An additive index of ownership of household items shows that Georgians who own fewer things are more likely to say medicine is one of the top monthly expenditures in their household compared to people who own more. Differences between richer and poorer people hold even, when looking at people in different age groups. In all age groups people with higher economic standing name medicine less frequently than poorer people. Thus, older people and people with worse economic situations are more likely to name medicine as among their largest monthly expenditures. Interestingly, the same pattern is not present with medical care spending as opposed to spending on medication.


The data show that in all demographic groups in Georgia subsistence related expenses occupy the main position in household expenditures. Food, utilities, and medicine are the top expenditure categories for young and old, well-off and poor, men and women, and people in cities and rural areas. Though, there are of course some differences in expenditures between some demographic groups as well. Older people are less likely to have loans or education related expenses. Economically better off people are more likely to name these among their top expenditures. Moreover, older people and people with worse economic situations are more likely to name medicine related expenses, than younger people and those with better economic situation. Importantly, economic situation remains important even when controlling for age: better-off people are less likely to name medicine related expenses than the poor no matter their age.

Note: This blog post is based on logistic regression analyses. The dependent variable was a dummy variable for mentioning food, cost of utilities, medicine, medical care, or loans as the largest monthly household expense versus not naming this expense.  The independent variables included sex, age group, settlement type, ethnic enclave status, and an additive index of ownership of household items. The data used in the above analysis is available here. The replication code can be found here.


Monday, October 28, 2019

How many cars are there in Tbilisi’s streets?

People in Tbilisi often talk about the growing number of vehicles and problems associated with them. According to NDI and CRRC public opinion surveys, every third Tbilisi resident considers traffic, every fifth parking, and every other pollution among the most important public goods related issues in the city. These issues clearly relate to the cars on Tbilisi streets. Yet, a basic fact that could help inform policy to address these issues – how many cars drive on Tbilisi’s streets – is unknown, with different data sources indicating sharply different estimates.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) is responsible for car registration and maintains a database of registered vehicles in the country. The number of registered vehicles are available from the MIA in annual reports and monthly updated lists of vehicles that have valid registration status. The official data suggests that at the moment there are 494,627 vehicles registered in Tbilisi. Excluding agricultural vehicles, specialized vehicles, non-motorized trailers, and two-wheeled vehicles, as some international reports do, suggests there are 462,922 light vehicles, trucks, vans and buses registered in Tbilisi. This is equivalent to 395 vehicles per 1000 residents.

While these numbers are informative, what they really say is how many vehicles are actively registered rather than driving on Tbilisi’s streets. These numbers likely differ, because the registered vehicle list includes cars that are no longer working, but still have valid registration status. These cars are not removed from the vehicle registry, because there is rarely an incentive to do so for the owner such as registration fees or fines for failing to remove the car from the registry. The exceptions to this are when inactive cars are sold for scrap or for export, because the people purchasing the vehicle often request that the owner remove it from the registry.  Given this situation, it is reasonable to believe that the actual number of vehicles driven in the city is lower than the official number of registered vehicles.

Estimating the number of cars
To estimate the number of vehicles driven in the city, the following assumptions are used:

  1. Only light vehicles, trucks, vans, and buses are included in the data analysis. Agricultural vehicles, specialized vehicles, non-motorized trailers, and two-wheeled vehicles are excluded from the data analysis, though they are provided in the MIA data. Aside from international practice, this generally makes sense: agricultural vehicles are on the streets relatively rarely compared to cars and vans. Generally two-wheeled vehicles are not considered due to their lighter impact given their lighter size and parking space needed.
  2. The analysis assumes all registered vehicles under corporate ownership are in working condition and in use, while only some individually owned vehicles are. The rationale behind this is that corporate owners (both state and private) have stronger incentives to de-register vehicles, as they appear on their balance sheets, a factor individual owners do not consider. 
  3. The share of registered vehicles in working condition is estimated using household survey data from April-June, 2016. The analysis assumes that the share of vehicles registered and in working condition has not changed significantly. 

From here, when vehicles is mentioned, it means light vehicles, buses/vans and trucks together. Otherwise, the specific group of vehicles is used (e.g. light vehicles or buses/vans and trucks). All statistics refer to Tbilisi only. When the ownership status is not specified as individual or corporate, all vehicles are included.

As noted above, there is good reason to believe that there are fewer individually owned vehicles in operation than registered in Tbilisi. Hence, survey data is used to estimate the number of individually owned vehicles in use in Tbilisi. The latest publicly available survey data comes from 2016 and is used to estimate the share of individually owned vehicles in use among all individually owned vehicles, and then based on the third assumption above, this number is used to estimate the number of vehicles in combination with 2019 official registry data.

The survey data comes from the Tbilisi Metropolitan Area Transportation Household Survey, which Systra conducted in April-June, 2016. The survey had 6,092 respondents in Tbilisi. It asked about the number of vehicles households have, the vehicle type (light car/SUV, pickup truck, van/boxcar, heavy truck, light truck, microbus or other), ownership status (owned, professional use, rented or other), and frequency of usage. Vehicles in working condition are defined as those that have driven at least one kilometer during the 12 months prior to the survey. According to the survey, there were 168,314 (+/-5,702) individually owned vehicles in use in Tbilisi in 2016.

The next step is the calculation of the share of working vehicles among individually owned registered vehicles in 2016. However, the official registry data provides information about ownership status only for 2017-2019 data, while for 2016, there are only two official statistics available: the number of light vehicles (376,962) and the number of total vehicles (440,042). Ownership status, however, is not available. Hence, to estimate the number of individually owned vehicles in 2016, this post uses the average of 2017-2019 data to estimate:
  • The share of individually owned light vehicles among all registered light vehicles and; 
  • The share of individually owned trucks, vans, and buses among all registered vehicles.
Between 2017 and 2019, the average share of individually owned light vehicles in Tbilisi was 83%. The analysis assumes that the average share of individually owned vehicles among all vehicles did not change significantly between 2016 and 2017-2019. Under this assumption, multiplying the average share of individually owned light vehicles by the total number of registered light vehicles leads to an estimate of the total number of individually owned registered light vehicles. According to the MIA data, there were 376,962 light vehicles registered in Tbilisi in 2016. Of these, approximately 313,896 of them were individually owned based on the above estimate.

As for buses/vans and trucks, the average share of individually owned buses/vans and trucks among all vehicles in 2017-2019 was 4%, which translates to 16,780 individually owned buses/vans and trucks (from 440,042 registered vehicles in 2016). Adding the two estimates leads to an overall estimate of 330,675 individually owned, registered vehicles in 2016. By comparison, the survey data from 2016 indicates that there were 168,314 (+/-5,702) individually owned vehicles that were working in 2016.  These figures taken together suggest that among registered, individually owned vehicles, 51% (+/- 1.7%, due to a survey error) are in working condition and being used.

Assuming that the share of vehicles in use is the same for individually owned vehicles and has not changed significantly in recent years, the number of individually owned light vehicles, buses/vans and trucks in Tbilisi in 2019 is approximately 186,855, out of the 367,101 registered individually owned vehicles. Assuming that all corporate vehicles are working (95,821), there are 282,676 light vehicles, trucks and buses, on the streets of Tbilisi of the 462,922 which are currently registered



Based on the above figures, there are 241 vehicles driving on Tbilisi’s streets per 1000 residents in 2019, 57% of the number that are registered in Tbilisi. The real number of vehicles in Tbilisi’s streets might still be higher than this estimate, as some vehicles are not registered in Tbilisi, but drive on its streets. At the same time, many cars registered in Tbilisi are likely to be driven outside of Tbilisi. Even taking this into account, it seems unlikely that there are so many cars that drive on Tbilisi’s streets but that are registered elsewhere that it would throw this estimate off dramatically.


Even though there are likely less cars on the road than previously thought, the problems they create are foremost in the minds of the residents of Tbilisi. In turn, the data suggests that the impact per car on the problems with parking, traffic, and pollution are larger than one might believe based on the official estimates of cars registered in Tbilisi. In turn, this suggests a clear need for policy to address the issues before they become worse.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Selection of Supreme Court judge candidates: What people in Georgia know and think about the process


Following the constitutional amendments and changes to the organic law of Georgia on common courts, the minimum number of judges at the Supreme Court increased to 28. At the same time, 10-year appointments were changed to lifetime tenures, and the High Council of Justice was given the authority to nominate candidates for parliamentary appointment.  Following these changes, the High Council of Justice started the selection of Supreme Court candidates and in the beginning of September 2019 provided a list of 20 candidates to be submitted to the Parliament of Georgia for approval.  Interviews with candidates were live streamed and the process enjoyed wide media coverage.

The selection process was generally critically received, despite positive assessments of the live-streaming of interviews. The OSCE/ODIHR assessed the Supreme Court judge candidate selection process as “lacking transparency and accountability despite some positive measures to build public trust in the judiciary”.  The Coalition for an Independent and Transparency Judiciary was also critical of the process as well as the regulatory framework, which “allowed the formation of a list of candidates suiting the interests of the dominant group of judges and the ruling party”.
What does the public in Georgia know about the process and what is their attitude towards the selection of Supreme Court candidates and judicial institutions? A phone survey conducted on September 5-11, 2019 suggests that people in Georgia are divided in their trust towards judicial institutions, are not knowledgeable about the process, have little trust in it, and largely have not heard of the selected candidates.

Generally, the public is divided in whether they trust the High Council of Justice, Supreme Court, and the court system in general. About half of the public trusts and distrusts each of these institutions.

The public is also divided in terms of awareness of the selection process of Supreme Court candidates. Approximately half of the Georgian-speaking adult population (54%) has heard of the selection process of Supreme Court candidates. However, their attitude to it is not particularly positive, as about half of those who have heard about the selection do not trust the process (53%). Similarly, almost half of those who heard about the selection process, say the selection was not unbiased (48%).

The survey asked respondents to share their first association regarding the selection of the Supreme Court candidates. The majority (64%) did not have any association, responding don’t know. Of those who shared their view, there were both positive and negative associations as well as neutral ones. However, negative attitudes predominated. Overall, 3% of respondents reported a positive word, 20% reported a negative association and 10% of responses were neutral. The top three associations were that “appointment should not be lifetime” (6%), “insecurity” (3%), and “distrust” (2%). Positive associations included “hope” (1%), “the process is going in a good direction” (0.6%), and “fair court”. Some of the negative associations were: “negative attitude” (2%), “unfairness” (1%), and “clan” (1%).

After the long selection process, the High Council of Justice finalized the list of 20 candidates to be submitted to the Parliament. The survey asked about whether each candidate should or should not be appointed as a Supreme Court judge. The majority of people in Georgia (over 60% for most candidates) reported that they have not heard of the candidate. Attitudes were most approving of appointment towards: Shalva Tadumadze, Prosecutor General (14% of the population approve of his appointment), Giorgi Mikautadze, Secretary of the High Council of Justice (13% of the population approve of his appointment), and Shota Getsadze, judge of the Tbilisi Court of Appeals (10% of the population approve of his appointment).

About one fifth of the adult Georgian-speaking population (19%) says appointment of these 20 candidates will improve justice in the country. The same share (19%) says the state of justice will get worse. About a third (29%) believe it will stay the same.

Considering the knowledge of the population about the selection process and their attitude to it, it may not be surprising that only 1% of the Georgian-speaking adult population considered it one of the most important events of the summer.  The top five events named during the survey were:

  • The devaluation of Georgian Lari; 
  • Dissolution of the June 20 rally;
  • Further moving the administrative boundary line between Georgia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region;
  • The protest rallies “It’s a shame” and; 
  • Gavrilov’s visit to Parliament. 

More than a quarter of people responded “Don’t know” to the question or refused to answer altogether. There were non-relevant answers as well, such as “good weather” and “lack of water and electricity”, etc.



Overall, the public is divided in their trust towards judicial institutions. More than half of the population has heard of the Supreme Court judge selection process, though few find it to be among the most important events over the summer. Among those that are aware of the selection process, attitudes are more negative than positive. A majority of people in Georgia have never heard about the candidates.

Note: This blog post has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of CRRC-Georgia, EMC and IDFI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

On September 5-11, 2019, within the EU-funded project “Facilitating Implementation of Reforms in the Judiciary (FAIR)”, CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey to find out people’s knowledge and attitude about the Supreme Court selection process. The survey resulted in 867 completed interviews, and is representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.2%.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Public Opinion in Georgia on Premarital Sex for Women

Conservative traditions are deeply rooted in Georgian society, particularly when it comes to premarital sex. The 2019 Knowledge and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia Survey, which CRRC Georgia carried out in partnership with Europe Foundation, shows that as in the past waves of the survey, people think that it is more justified for men than women to have pre-marital sex. Between the 2017 and 2019 waves of the survey, the shares of people thinking it is justified has not changed significantly.


 
To explore the issue in greater depth, read this blog post which breaks down the demographics on attitudes using the 2017 wave of the survey or look at the data using our Online Data Analysis tool.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Young people are learning English in Georgia

A common sentiment when discussing foreign languages in Georgia is that young people know some English, older people know Russian, and those in between are mixed. Previous CRRC Georgia analysis from 2014 supported this claim, showing that knowledge of English was on the rise among young people. The 2019 survey on Knowledge and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia which CRRC Georgia carried out for Europe Foundation suggests that this trend is continuing in Georgia.

Since 2009 when the survey asked respondents to assess their knowledge of English, the share reporting they have no basic knowledge of English has declined from 73% to 58% in 2019, a 15 percentage point decline. When broken down by age, young people (18-35) have experienced the largest drop and older people (56+) the smallest in reporting no knowledge of English. Compared with 2009, young people are 22 percentage points less likely to report they have no basic knowledge of English. By comparison, people between the ages of 36 and 55 are 16 percentage points less likely to report no knowledge of English and people 56+ are 9 percentage points less likely to report no basic knowledge of English.


When it comes to Russian, the share of people who have no basic knowledge of Russian is much smaller – around 10% of adults in Georgia report no basic knowledge of Russian and this has been static over the years. However, the share of young people reporting either intermediate or advanced Russian knowledge has declined since 2009. While 70% of young people (18-35) reported intermediate or advanced knowledge of Russian in 2009, 54% did in 2019.



In Georgia, English language knowledge appears to be on the rise among young people. Although a lack of basic knowledge of Russian has remained low in Georgia over the last decade, people’s self-assessed fluency has declined, particularly among the young.

The data used in this blog post is available here.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The gender gap in the wages in Georgia exists only among the well off

[Note: This blog post was originally published in partnership with OC Media, here.]

Much has been made of the gender pay gap in Georgia. A related but different economic indicator is the reserve price of labor i.e. the wage which someone wants before they would consider accepting a job. The July 2019 CRRC and NDI survey suggests a gendered gap in the reserve price of labor as well: women want significantly less than men to start working on average. However, further analysis suggests that the gap only exists among the relatively well-off and not among poorer households.

On the survey, respondents that did not consider themselves employed were asked, “Considering your education and skills, what is the minimum salary you would agree to work for?” Eight percent of respondents asked the question refused to answer and 16% reported they did not know. Among those that did know how much they would want to start a job, the average was GEL 719.  For men, the average was GEL 823 while for women, it was GEL 643 – GEL 180 less. Women’s lower reserve prices appear to stem from the larger share of women who report they would be willing to start working for GEL 500 a month (33%) compared with men (22%).

Further analysis of this question suggests that sex remains a significant predictor of the minimum salary someone would be willing to start working for, controlling for education level, settlement type, household wealth (proxied through the number of assets they own), age, and the presence of children in the household. Aside from sex, household wealth has a statistically significant association with the salary people want to start working.  In Tbilisi and other urban areas, salary expectations are also higher than in rural settlements. Among the oldest age cohort in the survey (56+), expectations were lower.

However, after controlling for the interaction between sex and other variables rather than sex in and of itself, the data suggests that the interaction between a household’s wealth and sex is the key gender related factor when it comes to the reserve price of labor. There is no significant difference between the sexes in the reserve price of labor in poorer households. However, as wealth increases, men’s reserve price of labor increases at nearly twice the rate as it does for women: for every additional asset that a household owns, men want GEL 80 more to start working on average, compared to GEL 44 for women.

Rather than wanting more money to start working than men, women have lower reserve prices overall. While women want less to start working, this is only the case when women are in relatively better off households. In poorer households men and women that are not working are willing to start work at statistically indistinguishable wages.

Note: This blog post is based on two ordinary least squares regression analysis. The first controls for sex, age group, education level, household wealth (number of assets owned, from 11 asked about), settlement type (Tbilisi, Urban, Rural), and whether or not there is children in the household as independent variables. The dependent variable is the salary someone would want in order to start working. The second regression analysis looks at the interaction between all of the previously noted variables with sex. The data used in the above analysis is available here. The replication code can be found here.

This piece was written by Dustin Gilbreath, the Deputy Research Director of CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this article do not necessarily represent the views of CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this article do not represent the views of the National Democratic Institute or any related entity.

Monday, September 16, 2019

What divides and what unites Georgian society?

[Note: This article was published in partnership with OC-Media, here.]

The last year has seen a number of conversations about polarization in Georgia. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, even commented on the issue in his Batumi speech.  One of the components of polarization, though not the sole factor, is division in society over actors, issues, and institutions.

While many things could divide the public, what do the people think and which groups report more and fewer sources of division? The April 2019 NDI-CRRC poll suggests that there are fewer perceived reasons for division in rural areas and among ethnic minorities.

Although ethnic minorities perceive fewer divisions, they also think that different issues divide the country: minorities are more likely to think that western actors create division, while ethnic Georgians are more likely to blame Russia and domestic institutions.

One factor does unite ethnicities however: the most commonly cited source of division, no matter the respondent’s ethnicity, was politicians.

The survey asked about whether 11 issues, actors, and institutions unite or divide Georgians as a society. The results suggest that politicians are most widely viewed as divisive.  Even Russia was viewed as less of a divider than politicians in Georgia. In contrast, religion and educational institutions were considered to unite society more than any of the other issues, actors, or institutions asked about. Uncertainty (don’t know responses) was greatest about NGOs (28%) and Euro-Atlantic institutions (24% for NATO and the EU).

 To further explore perceptions of division, a simple additive index of the above questions was created to carry out further analysis, with respondents receiving one point for each item they reported divided society. On average, individuals named seven items as dividing society. One in twelve (8%) reported that none of the issues asked about divide society and one in twenty (5%) reported that all of the issues asked about divided society.


The results of a regression analysis on the above index suggests that a number of socio-demographic groups perceive more issues, actors, or institutions as divisive. Ethnic Georgians, Tbilisians, and people with higher levels of education report that more groups are dividing society, all else equal. The difference is rather small for education, with people with vocational and higher education perceiving about one half of one issue more on average.

By comparison the difference is rather sharp with ethnicity. Ethnic Armenians perceive almost two issues less on average, and ethnic Azerbaijanis note around 2.5 issues less on average. The difference between settlement types falls in between, with inhabitants of rural areas highlighting about one issue less than those in Tbilisi, and those in other urban areas falling between the capital and rural areas.


With ethnicity, there are three sources of the observed differences. First, ethnic minorities express uncertainty more often than ethnic Georgians. This is particularly true of ethnic Azerbaijanis who report don’t know more often than ethnic Armenians.

Second, among those that said each of the above issues either united or divided the country, there are differences in attitudes related to foreign policy. Ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis are significantly less likely to report that Russia divides the country, and significantly more likely, albeit to a smaller degree, to report that NATO divides the country. Ethnic Azerbaijanis also report the EU divides the country at a greater rate.

Third, ethnic Georgians are much more critical of domestic actors. Georgians are more likely to say that politicians, educational institutions, the Georgian media, the country’s leaders, the current economic system, law enforcement, and NGOs divide the country.

While there is a division in perceptions of what divides the country between ethnicities, one thing is common among ethnic groups: of all the issues, actors, and institutions asked about on the survey politicians are the most commonly cited source of division.

Note: The above analysis was based on an ordinary least squares regression model. The model’s dependent variables was the number of issues respondents named as divisive in the survey. The independent variables included age, sex, wealth (proxied through number of assets owned), educational attainment (secondary or less, vocational, at least some tertiary), ethnicity (Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijani), settlement type (capital, other urban, rural), and employment status (have a job versus not having a job). The data used in the analysis is available here. Replication code for the analysis is available here.


Dustin Gilbreath is the Deputy Research Director of CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this article do not necessarily represent the views of CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this article do not represent the views of the National Democratic Institute or any related entity.

Monday, September 09, 2019

The Easterlin Paradox and Happiness U-curve in Georgia

Two of the more prominent findings from the study of happiness are that money does not buy it (up to a point) and that young and old people are happier than those in between. That money does not buy happiness is often referred to as the Easterlin Paradox. It highlights that between and within countries happiness increases with wealth, but only up to a certain point, at which increases in wealth are associated with marginal gains in happiness. That the elderly and young are happier is referred to as the happiness U-curve. This finding has been found to hold in the West, but not in the former Soviet space, where the elderly are the least happy. This blog looks at these phenomenon in Georgia.

On the 2018 UN Women and CRRC Georgia survey, respondents were asked to rate their self-reported happiness, from “Extremely unhappy” to “Extremely happy” on an eleven point scale. A plurality of respondents reported being extremely happy (40%). By comparison, only 1% reported being extremely unhappy.


In agreement with previous studies on happiness within the post-Soviet space, increased household economic status was associated with higher levels of happiness. Individuals who were wealthier were more likely report a happier response on the scale. In contrast, those who have relatively few assets reported lower levels of happiness. However, once respondents have three out of the eleven assets asked about or more, reported happiness increases at a marginal rate, as the Easterlin Paradox would predict.



The U-shaped happiness curve does not hold in Georgia, as happiness generally decreases with age. The presence of children, sex, settlement type, household size, whether or not the respondent was displaced by conflict, and education level were not associated with happiness.



The above data suggests that the Easterlin paradox appears to hold in Georgia, with individuals becoming happier with greater wealth, up to a point. As in other post-Soviet countries, older people are generally less happy, again re-affirming the lack of a u-curve in happiness in the region.

Note: The above analysis is based on an ordinary least squares regression, where the dependent variable is the respondent's self-reported happiness level. The independent variables are respondents’ household economic status (measured with an asset index, composed of ownership of 11 assets), age, sex (male, female), education, settlement type, displacement status, household size, and age’s interaction with the presence of children in the home. Replication code for the above analysis can be found here. The data for the above analysis can be found here.


The views presented in the above blog post do not represent the views of UN Women, SDC, or any related entity.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Internal Displacements’ Impact on Attitudes towards Gender Relations

As a result of the conflicts in the 1990s and in 2008 in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, nearly 6 percent of Georgia’s population is internally displaced. Previous studies have suggested that internal displacement from conflict can alter attitudes towards gender relations, and specifically perceptions of women’s household authority, tolerance of domestic violence, and attitudes towards women earning money.

This may be related to the psychological impacts of conflict and displacement on everyday household gender dynamics. Some have theorized that displaced women’s roles in the household often shift to that of breadwinner, and in response men push back by becoming more of a dominant presence in the home.At the same time, women reject their new leadership role by becoming more accepting of the idea of male authority.

A matching analysis, which compares individuals with similar social and demographic backgrounds except for whether or not the respondent had been displaced by conflict, using a 2018 nationwide survey CRRC conducted for UN Women shows that the previously noted differences in attitudes are present among Georgia’s conflict displaced population.

In the survey, male respondents in general were more likely to believe that men should have the final word in the household. However, both male and female respondents displaced by conflict were more likely to believe that men should have the final word in the household than individuals not displaced by conflict that had otherwise similar backgrounds.

As it relates to domestic violence, non-displaced women were least tolerant of domestic violence as a means to keep the family together, while female displaced respondents and non-displaced male respondents were more tolerant. Moreover, male respondents displaced by conflict were more tolerant in their attitudes towards domestic violence for the sake of family preservation than all other respondents.

In relation to women earning money, female respondents were more likely to believe that a woman earning more than her husband would cause problems regardless of whether they were displaced by the conflict. However, male respondents not displaced by conflict were less likely to believe that women earning more would cause relationship problems than men displaced by conflict.

Men and women displaced by conflict are more tolerant of domestic violence over the non-displaced in Georgia. Males displaced by conflict are more likely to believe men should have the final word in the home over non-displaced individuals, and non-displaced men are less likely to believe that if women earn more than their husbands, it will cause relationship problems. These findings support past research suggesting that the process of internal displacement can lead to adverse gender norms.

Note: The above analysis is based on the use of matching together with a regression analysis, where the dependent variable is the respondent's attitudes towards gender relations. The independent variables are displacement status and sex.  The individuals in the sample were matched on the following characteristics: parental education level, age, ethnicity, settlement type, and sex. Replication code for the above analysis can be found here.

The views presented in the above blog post do not represent the views of UN Women, SDC, or any affiliated entity.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Attitudes toward politicians are related to evaluations of institutional performance

How citizens evaluate the performance of the state is often a reasonable proxy for its performance. In Georgia, evaluations of public institutions are mixed. While a number of social and demographic variables are associated with people’s perceptions of state performance, so too are people’s attitudes towards political parties and politicians. This shows once again how politics is personalized in Georgia.

The 2019 April CRRC/NDI data suggests that social and-demographic characteristics, including settlement type, ethnicity, and age are associated with perceptions of state performance. Ethnic minorities and rural residents tend to evaluate public institutional performance higher than ethnic Georgians or urban dwellers. In addition, young Georgians think public institutions perform well more often than older people.

Besides demographics, attitudes toward politicians are associated with attitudes towards institutional performance.  Positive attitudes towards Georgian Dream politicians are associated with more positive assessments of government performance. Interestingly, the same holds for attitudes towards opposition politicians, albeit to a weaker degree.


Note: An ordinary least squares regression model was used to generate the above chart. To measure the population’s attitudes toward institutional performance a public institutions evaluation index was created based on assessments of the following public entities: the current government, Sakrebulo (local councils), Parliament, Courts, Georgian Army, Georgian Police, Office of the ombudsman, Office of the Chief Prosecutor, and Public Service Halls. Attitudes towards the government and opposition affiliated politicians index are measured based on attitudes toward individual politicians asked about in the questionnaire. The regression model also included the following co-variates: Which party is closest to you? (First choice); intention to vote in the parliamentary elections; main sources of information; education level; employment status; age; gender; ethnicity, asset ownership index and settlement type. 

Partisanship also matters. Georgian Dream supporters evaluate institutional performance more positively than United National Movement or other opposition party supporters do.



While partisanship matters, attitudes towards government affiliated politicians still matter despite party affiliation when it comes to evaluation of public institutions. When supporters of different parties have positive attitudes towards GD politicians, they are more likely to evaluate government performance positively no matter what party they support.


Evaluations of public institutions are linked to how citizens see politicians. The more positive are people’s attitudes towards politicians, the more positive they are about institutional performance. This holds no matter the party of a given politician. However, partisanship still matters, with opposition supporters less positive about government performance than supporters of the Georgian Dream. Taking both of these factors together, suggests that attitudes toward government affiliated politicians is more important however.  Taken together, this suggests that institutional performance assessments in Georgia remain tied to personality.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Georgian Language Proficiency and Perceptions of Government Performance among minorities in Georgia

Integration of ethnic minorities into Georgian society is a significant challenge. As a result of ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis’ linguistic separation from ethnic Georgian compatriots, some research suggests their ability to participate in government has been low. Indeed, programming aimed at minority integration in Georgia often focuses on language skills. But, the question remains, how do ethnic minorities that are proficient in Georgian perceive the government? The April 2019 CRRC and NDI data suggest that, while ethnic Armenians that speak Georgian at an advanced level have worse attitudes towards government performance in Georgia, ethnic Azerbaijanis that speak Georgian at an advanced level have better attitudes.

Ethnic Azerbaijanis and Armenians generally have positive perceptions of the current government. Almost two thirds (62%) of ethnic Azerbaijani’s and about half (51%) of ethnic Armenians rate the current government as having performed well or very well. By comparison, Georgians rate government performance more negatively.


Further analysis, however, suggests that ethnic Armenian’s perceptions of the government are more negative if they report they have an advanced proficiency in Georgian. In contrast, ethnic Azerbaijani’s perceptions of government are more positive when they report knowing Georgian at more advanced levels.


Knowledge of Georgian language among ethnic minorities is associated with perceptions of government performance. However, for Armenians knowledge is associated with more negative attitudes, while for Azerbaijanis it is associated with more positive attitudes.

Note: The above analysis is based on an ordered logistic regression analysis, where the dependent variable is the respondent's perceptions of the current government's performance. The independent variables are knowledge of Georgian interacted with ethnicity and sex, age group, education, , household size, employment status, settlement type, and household economic status. Replication code for the above analysis can be found here

Monday, July 29, 2019

Perceived Threats to Georgia’s Security

Russian aggression is a key security issue for Georgia. In August 2008, a war broke out over the South Ossetia region with Russia party to the war. Since the war, there have been attempts to restore economic and diplomatic relations between the two countries. Some in Georgia support a policy of having closer ties with Russia. Still, the April CRRC/NDI 2019 survey shows that the public continues to see Russia as a threat.

A majority of the population of Georgia (59%) perceives Russia-related threats as the top threat to Georgia’s security. About a fourth (24%) of the population named other issues. Around a fifth (18%) cannot identify a threat to national security of Georgia and answered “don’t know”.

Note: The threats to Georgia’s national security considered as Russia related include the response options: “Occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, “Russian propaganda”, “Russian military aggression”, “Economic dependency on Russia”, and “Energy dependence on Russia”. 

Further analysis shows that threat perceptions vary with ethnicity, settlement type, sex, and education level. Compared to ethnic Georgians, Azerbaijanis and Armenians are more likely to name other threats as the top issue for Georgia. In addition, minorities tend to report “don’t know” more often compared to ethnic Georgians. Compared to people in rural areas, those who live in the capital report “don’t know” rarely. People with secondary or lower levels of education say “don’t know” more often than people with higher education. Women are less likely to name other threats compared to men.


Note: On the above chart, base variables for each category are as follows: male, 18-34 age group, Georgian ethnicity, rural, higher than secondary education, and Georgian Dream supporter. The category “No party” consists of individuals that responded none or don’t know when asked which party was closest to them. The liberal group consists of New Rights, Bakradze-Ugulava - European Georgia, the Republican Party, the Free Democrats, the New Political Center – Girchi, the Movement State for the People, Political Platform - New Georgia, and European Democrats. The other grouping consists of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, Free Georgia, Democratic Movement – United Georgia, Left Alliance, Industry will save Georgia/Industrialists, the Georgian Conservative Party, the Georgian Labor Party, the Unity of Georgian Traditionalists, Tamaz Mechiauri for United Georgia, and Georgian Troupe.

Different political parties have different views about Georgia’s relationship with Russia. Yet, there is no significant difference between Georgian Dream (GD) and United National Movement (UNM) supporters when it comes to threat perceptions. However, compared to GD supporters, those who identify with liberal parties are less likely to name other threats. In contrast, supporters of parties in the other grouping compared with liberal ones tend to name threats besides Russia more often. Those who report that they do not support a particular party are more likely to report they do not know what Georgia’s top security threat is, and they are less likely to mention a Russian threat.

While parts of Georgia are occupied by Russia, some do not see Russia related threats as the primary security issues the country faces. Still, a majority do. Ethnic minorities tend to name Russian threats less than ethnic Georgians. Support for different parties is also associated with threat perceptions, with parties outside the mainstream being less likely to name Russia as a threat.

Note: The above analysis is based on a multinomial logistic regression analysis, where the dependent variable is the top threat to Georgia’s national security. The independent variables are party support, gender, age group, ethnicity, settlement type, education, and household economic status. Replication code of the full analysis is available here. The data used in the blog is available here.