Monday, May 20, 2019

Grit among young people in Georgia

Angela Duckworth’s concept grit has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. Grit, described as some combination of perseverance and passion, has gained this attention, because the data suggest it is associated with a number of positive outcomes like employment and completion of education. In 2018, CRRC-Georgia measured the grit of over 2500 young people (15-35) within a baseline evaluation for World Vision’s SAY YES Skills for Jobs project (funded by the European Union within EU4YOUTH program) which is taking place in Mtskheta, Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Kutaisi, Zestaponi, Bagdati, Senaki, and Zugdidi. The data suggest that grit is good predictor of positive outcomes in Georgia as is it is in other contexts.

The grit scale is made up of 12 questions, measured on a five point scale, which were asked to a representative sample of young people in World Vision’s project area. The chart below shows the average score for each of the 12 statements.

The grit scale (average score on the above statements) is quite a good predictor of labor force participation. A person is considered outside the labor force if they do not have a job and are not interested in one, looking for one, or able to start one. A person is considered in the labor force if they are employed or are looking for a job, can start one, and are interested in one. The chances of whether someone will be in the labor force increase significantly as an individual’s grit increases. This pattern holds when adjusting for other factors including age, sex, parental education level, whether the person was displaced by a conflict, family size, and municipality. The chart below shows the probability of participation in the labor force adjusted for each these factors. It suggests that all else equal, if a person moved from the lowest score observed (1.4) to the highest (5), their chances of participating in the labor force would increase from 47% to 82%, a 35 percentage point increase in the probability of labor force participation.

The pattern is also quite consistent when looking across different demographic groups, with the pattern holding for women and men, people of different ages, from different socio-economic backgrounds, affected and not by the conflicts in the country, from large and small families and in the different municipalities the survey was carried out in.

The above data may suggest that grit may help in getting a job in Georgia, a positive story given that people often think connections are more important than hard work for finding a job. Given this, it also suggests that the grit scale works in Georgia as in other contexts, giving some amount of validity to it outside the United States where it has been used extensively.

The views presented in the above blog post are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of World Vision or the European Union.

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