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.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Pessimism about Georgia’s direction hides room for optimism

[Note: This article was co-published with OC-Media. The article was written by Koba Turmanidze, the Director of CRRC-Georgia. The views expressed in this article represent the author’s alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Democratic Institute or any other entity.]


While a large number of Georgians think the country is going in the wrong direction, the fact that they are judging the country’s performance based on issues rather than political partisanship alone is a good sign.

A quick and simple look at where people think the country is headed is not very hopeful in Georgia: NDI/CRRC survey data show that at least one in three adults believe that the country has been going in the wrong direction for the past five years, and for most of that time, more people have reported the country was going in the wrong direction than the right one.

While a first look suggests a less than rosy picture, the data do hide some positive news. People, at least in part, appear to judge direction based on policy performance rather than only whether their preferred party is in power, something that has inhibited the development of a stable political and party system in Georgia.

Looking at demographic factors that might influence assessments of the country’s direction, including age, gender, education, employment, household economic status, and household size suggests demographics explain relatively little in terms of attitudes towards the direction of the country. Only tertiary education is associated with having a more negative attitude towards the direction of the country among these variables.

Yet, a statistical analysis that includes people’s assessments of specific policies and party preferences shows a strong link with how people perceive the direction of the country. People who negatively assess a specific issue are two to three times more likely to assess the country’s general direction negatively. Of 16 issues asked about on the survey, the only exception was inflation, where a negative assessment influences perceptions of the country’s general direction relatively little, all else equal.


Surely, some issues are more important for people than others, jobs being at the top of the list in Georgia. In contrast, freedom of speech was close to the bottom at the time of the survey, with only 2% naming it as an issue of national importance in the same survey wave.

Yet, no matter the relative importance of the issue, the relationship described above still holds. The chart below illustrates the point. A person with a negative assessment of the country’s direction is 25 percentage points more likely to say that the situation regarding jobs is going in the wrong direction. Likewise, people who say that the situation regarding freedom of speech is going in the wrong direction are 32 percentage points more likely to assess the country’s direction negatively.


Attitudes towards political parties are also associated with assessments of the country’s general direction. On the survey, people were asked whether there was a party they would never vote for, a question used to measure negative partisanship.

As one would expect, a negative attitude towards Georgian Dream, the ruling party, is positively associated with a negative assessment of Georgia’s general direction, while a negative attitude towards the United National Movement is associated with more positive assessments. This holds for both the direction of the country as well as individual policies in most cases.


While people’s partisanship matters, so do their assessments of particular issues. Both predict whether or not someone thinks the country is headed in the right or wrong direction, controlling for the other factors.

The chart showing assessments regarding each of the 16 issues by negative attitudes towards the two largest parties illustrates the point. Whether people dislike Georgian Dream or the United National Movement, a negative assessment of a specific issue is associated with a negative assessment of the country’s direction. The same observation holds for people who do not hold a negative predisposition towards any political party.

This matters. Citizens are not looking at specific and general issues through narrow partisan lenses alone. Instead, the data suggest assessments are at least partly independent from party labels, which provides parties with the opportunity to campaign on issues instead of merely blaming each other for their failures and attempting to cultivate followings around charismatic leaders.   

Note: The above analysis is based on a series of logistic regressions, where the dependent variable is a negative assessment of Georgia’s general direction, key independent variables are a negative assessment on each of 16 specific policy issues as well as attitudes towards political parties. In addition, all models have demographic control variables including, gender, age, settlement type, education, employment status, household size, and household’s economic status. Replication code of the full analysis is available here

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Men report doing more at home than they likely do in Armenia and Georgia

[Note: This article first appeared in OC-Media.]

In Armenia and Georgia, traditional gender roles continue to define the division of labour within families. Although a few tasks are within men’s domain and a few others are more or less equally shared, for the most part, women hold the primary responsibility for household duties.

However, men and women also have different perceptions of how much work each are doing: data from a UN Women survey on women’s economic activity and engagement in the informal labour market suggests that men tend to overestimate their own household contributions relative to women’s.

Most Armenians and Georgians see household tasks as divided according to standard gender roles. As shown below, when asked who in their household was mainly responsible for certain tasks, people said that cleaning, cooking, and laundry are often done by women. More Georgians than Armenians said that men share the responsibility of childcare with women: 28% of Georgians said that both male and female household member are responsible for childcare, compared to 12% of Armenians.


Men tend to have fewer household duties. Among the long list of household tasks asked about, ‘Repairing things around the household’ is the only activity for which men are primarily responsible. Grocery shopping is the only household activity with a distribution perceived to be near-equal. The only other task where there is a relatively higher number of shared responsibilities is related to ‘Taking care of other family members’, although the task is still mostly performed by women. These percentages are similar across Armenia and Georgia.



However, men and women also have different perceptions of how household labour is split— and the data suggests that men tend to overestimate the relative share of their contributions. Across a wide range of household tasks, men are more likely than women to report that duties are shared equally. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to report that tasks are their responsibility. This gap is larger in Georgia, where men report more involvement in household labour than in Armenia.

The perception gap is more striking for the activities in which men reported higher levels of equal involvement. For example, as we see below, 20% of Armenian men and 40% of Georgian men said that childcare duties were shared equally, while only 7% of Armenian women and 18% of Georgian women agreed. Regarding grocery shopping, 57% of Armenian men and 57% of Georgian men said that men and women were equally responsible, while only 39% of Armenian women and 42% of Georgian women agreed.


This is not unique to Armenia and Georgia: it’s consistent with trends from other contexts showing that even when both parents work outside the home and aspire towards an equal division of household labour, in practice, women usually still end up doing more. Surveys from the US show that although men are doing more in the house than ever before, they still do not do as much housework or childcare as their partners. Despite this, men are more likely to say that duties are shared equally.

Indeed, in Armenia and Georgia, when asked about the actual time people spent on tasks, women were likely to report higher average hours for most tasks. While men and women reported roughly equal time spent grocery shopping, and men spent more time fixing things, the amount of time required for these tasks was much less than women reported spending on childcare, cooking, or cleaning.


So how do men and women feel about this? Despite these differences, most people in Armenia and Georgia said they expressed satisfaction with their household labour division.  Only 6% of Armenian men, 10% of Armenian women, 5% of Georgian men, and 9% of Georgian women said that they were either ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with the breakdown of labour in their household.
Gender stereotypes appear deeply rooted in labour distributions in families in both countries. Women bear primary responsibilities for most household activities, while ‘repairing things around the house’ is the only predominantly male activity. Even when men think they are sharing household duties, in practice, women are still likely to be doing more.

This article was written by Meagan Neal, an International Fellow at CRRC-Georgia, and Kristina Vacharadze, CRRC-Georgia’s Programmes Director.

The data used in this article are available at CRRC-Georgia’s Online Data Analysis tool

The views presented in this article are the views of the authors alone and do not represent the views of UN Women. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Who doesn’t want democracy for Georgia?

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia adopted western-style democratic institutions. They have never functioned in a fully democratic manner, fluctuating between more liberal and authoritarian tendencies. That is, Georgia is and has been a hybrid regime.

But what do people want?

CRRC-Georgia and NDI’s December 2018 survey suggests that about half of the public thinks a western style liberal democracy (53%) is most suitable for the country. The other half of the country is split between not knowing what would be best for Georgia (14%), and thinking a system like the Soviet one, but more democratic and market-based (11%) would be suitable. One in ten (10%) report the Soviet system itself (10%) would be best, and another 10% report a strong authoritarian system that places order above freedom would be most suitable. Relatively few want a monarchy or hereditary autocracy (2%).

This leads to the question, who doesn’t think democracy is suitable for Georgia?

As the chart below shows, ethnic minorities, older people, and people with children in their home are less likely to think that democracy is the most suitable system for Georgia. People with higher levels of education are more likely to report a democracy is the most suitable form of government for the country. Having a job may also be associated with a higher level of support for democracy. There is no statistically significant difference between those who use the internet once a week or more often and those who use it less often; between different settlement types; or sexes (male, female).


There is also a substantively large differences between poorer people and the relatively well off. The survey asked about ownership of ten different assets, and individuals who own 10 assets have a 63% chance of reporting that democracy is the most suitable system for Georgia compared with 41% for those with 0 of the assets asked about on the survey.



Preferences for democracy are also associated with different party preferences, as measured by intended vote choice. GD and UNM supporters (as measured by who they reported they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow) are a bit more likely to support democracy than supporters of other parties, those who refused to identify what party they support, and individuals who do not support any party.  In some sense, this might not be surprising. After all, both groups have substantial representation in parliament, likely meaning that they have at least some sense that democracy is serving their interests.


Who is less likely to think democracy is suitable for Georgia? Older people, poorer people, ethnic minorities, people with lower levels of education, those with children in their home, and those who do not support a party.

The data which the above analysis was made using is available here.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Perceptions of prosecutors’ and judges’ wheelings and dealings

On January 19th, 2019 the Rustavi 2 TV channel broadcast an investigative documentary Studio Monitor and Radio Liberty produced. The documentary “Judges in the Government’s Service” followed up on the government’s attempted confiscation of Constanta Bank from its founders in 2011. It further hinted at alleged misconduct by the prosecutors and judges.

Between January 28 and February 4, 2019 CRRC-Georgia conducted a follow-up phone survey to find out whether and how the public viewed the documentary. The survey asked about a number of issues presented in the documentary including:

  • If people knew that the Department to Investigate Offenses Committed in the Course of Legal Proceedings existed in the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia; 
  • Generally, in their opinion, how likely it was that the Prosecutor’s Office effectively prosecuted representatives of the justice system (judges, prosecutors) if it found they had committed offences in the course of legal proceedings;
  • How frequent or rare cases of judges in Georgia making deals with the government to have decisions favorable for them are;
  • If they could recall a specific, recent case of government representatives seizing property from private individuals. 
The phone survey resulted in 804 completed interviews. Its results are representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.6%. Results discussed in this blog are based on all completed interviews (804) and are weighted to the demographic characteristics of the population.

The documentary was broadcast on Rustavi 2 and shared on the websites and social media pages of Radio Liberty and Studio Monitor. Only 3% of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country reported watching the film. Most of them (66%) saw it on Rustavi 2. Most respondents that saw the film (54%) found it convincing.

A small share of the public had heard of the Department to Investigate Offenses Committed in the Course of Legal proceedings. Only 12% of the adult Georgian-speaking population had heard that a special department was established at the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to investigate offences committed in the course of legal proceedings. A large majority (87%) did not know about it.

People are often uncertain about the Prosecutor’s Office serving as a neutral actor in relation to the judiciary. About a quarter (26%) said it was fully likely or more likely than unlikely that the Prosecutor’s Office prosecuted judges and prosecutors if it found that they had committed offences in the course of legal proceedings. About the same share (27%) reported that it was more unlikely than not or entirely unlikely that the Prosecutor’s Office effectively prosecuted representatives of the justice system. For the most part, people found it hard to respond to this question and the most frequent response was ‘Don’t know’ (46%). One percent of respondents refused to answer the question.


As for judges making deals with the government, about a third (30%) of the population reported that in their opinion it was frequent, 27% said it was rare, and only 6% responded that it was never the case. A plurality (37%) could not answer the question.


Few people can recall a case of the government seizing private property. Respondents were asked to recall a specific, recent case of a government representative seizing property from private individuals. Only 1% could. Respondents generally said they did not know (49%), they could not recall a specific case (46%), or refused to answer the question (4%). Only a few people named specific cases. Those that did pointed to the Omega case, TBC Bank case, and Anzor Kokoladze case.


Overall, the data suggests a small share of the public is aware of the Prosecutor’s Office’s department for investigating crimes committed during legal proceedings. They are also generally uncertain about how the Prosecutor’s Office would deal with issues in the judiciary.

The phone survey conducted in January 28-February 4, 2019 resulted in 804 completed interviews. Its results are representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.6%. They survey is part of the “Promoting Prosecutorial Independence through Monitoring and Engagement (PrIME)” project funded by the European Union.  This blog post has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of CRRC-Georgia and IDFI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Georgians are split over the Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia

On November 3, 2018 Rustavi 2 broadcasted an investigative film created by the Studio Monitor and Radio Liberty about a suspended investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. The film How to subjugate a judge? focused on accusations against prosecutors and judges related to the abuse of power, seizure of real estate, and giving of land to private individuals.

On November 16-28, 2018 CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey to find out if people watched the film and what was their attitude towards the issues raised in it. The survey specifically asked about:

  • How often people think prosecutors abuse power and make deals with judges; 
  • If the Prosecutor’s Office prosecutes current and former high-ranking officials impartially;
  • What the goal of the restoration of justice investigations was.
The phone survey resulted in 599 completed interviews. Its results are representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.4%. Results discussed in this blog are based on all completed interviews.  The data are weighted to reflect the demographics of the population.

Even though the film How to subordinate a judge? was broadcasted on Rustavi 2 and shared on the websites and social media pages of Radio Liberty and Studio Monitor, only 2% of the adult Georgian-speaking population reported watching it. The majority of those who watched saw it on Rustavi 2 and found the film convincing or partially convincing.

Respondents were asked if abuse of power by prosecutors in Georgia was, in their opinion, frequent, rare, or never occurred. Even though few watched the investigative video, a quarter of the public (27%) said abuse of power was frequent, 44% said it was rare, and only 8% reported it never happened in Georgia. About a fifth (21%) did not know what to answer to the question.
The same scale was used to ask about whether prosecutors made deals with judges to have favorable decisions. About a quarter of the population (28%) said they did not know. Another quarter (23%) said it happened frequently, 37% said it happened rarely, and 12% said it never took place.




Opinion on the Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia is relatively split. On the survey, about half the public (52%) reported trusting the Prosecutor’s Office (22% fully trust and 30% trust more than distrust). With current officials, 41% say the Prosecutor’s Office will prosecute them impartially and 41% partiality. The public is also split about former officials, with 41% reporting they would be prosecuted impartially and 38% partially. Interestingly, in terms of both current and former high-ranking officials, only 4% and 3% of the population, respectively, said the Prosecutor’s Office will not prosecute them at all, whether it is reasonable to do so or not.


Of those who responded that the Prosecutor’s Office will prosecute high-ranking officials very un-objectively (17%), more than a quarter (28%) recalled Saralidze’s case, 6% named the cases of Saralidze and Machalikashvili, and 3% the Partskhaladze case as recent examples of unfair prosecutions. However, almost half (49%) could not recall a specific case of unfair prosecution.
Of those who said the Prosecutor’s Office will prosecute former officials very un-objectively (11%), half (50%) could not recall a specific case, 6% named the Saralidze’s case, 4% the Mirtskhulava case, and 2% the cases of Robakidze and Merabishvili.

Studio Monitor and Radio Liberty discussed the “restoration of justice” that the Georgian Dream government initiated after coming to power in 2012. Respondents were asked their opinion about the “Restoration of Justice”. Officially, the process was meant to prosecute former high-ranking officials who allegedly abused power during the previous government. Although some groups argued that it was used for justifying persecution of political rivals. When asked what the goal of those investigations was, the most frequent response was “restoration of justice” (31%). A fifth (21%) reported it was a way to present the government positively to the public. About a third (30%) named political retribution as a goal of the “restoration of justice” investigations. Less than one fifth of the population (17%) said it was to punish criminals, and 12% related it to the protection of human rights. Another 16% of the population did not know what to answer to this question.


Note: Respondents were allowed to give multiple answers. Therefore, percentages do not add up to 100%.

Overall, the public is relatively split in terms of attitudes towards the Prosecutor’s Office. About half the public trusts them, and relatively equal shares think they will do their job impartially and partially when it comes to prosecuting current and former officials. This suggests the need to work towards increasing trust in the Prosecutor’s Office among the public that distrusts them.

[Note: The survey is part of the Promoting Prosecutorial Independence through Monitoring and Engagement (PrIME) project implemented by the Institute for Development of freedom of Information (IDFI) in partnership with CRRC-Georgia and Studio Monitor with the financial support of the European Union (EU).  The contents of this blogpost are the sole responsibility of CRRC-Georgia and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union, IDFI, and Studio Monitor.]

Monday, April 08, 2019

The election environment in minority areas of Georgia is getting worse

[Note: This article was published together with OC-Media. It was written by Dustin Gilbreath. 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.]

Post-election polling by CRRC-Georgia suggests that not only are elections most problematic in Georgia’s ethnic minority regions, they are also getting worse.

The 2018 presidential elections, and particularly, the events surrounding the second round, have come to be considered a setback for Georgia’s democratic trajectory. Between the first and second round, it was announced that 600,000 voters would have debt relief immediately following the elections, leading some to suggest this was a form of vote buying. A number of instances of electoral fraud were also alleged. The use of party coordinators around election precincts was also widely condemned.

Elections in minority regions have generally been worse in quality than in ethnic Georgian populated regions. Some statistical evidence suggests irregular voting behaviour if not fraud in these regions. Moreover, these regions of the country consistently vote for whoever is in power.

The situation appears to be getting worse, at least when compared with the parliamentary elections of 2016.

CRRC-Georgia and the National Democratic Institute’s 2016, 2017, and 2018 post-election polling asked voters, ‘Thinking back to the situation when you voted in the polling station/place (either in the 1st or 2nd round), please say whether you agree or disagree with the following?’

  • It was well ordered;
  • It was overcrowded;
  • It was intimidating;
  • The election officials were well prepared.
Respondents were also asked whether they noticed party coordinators around the polling station asking for personal information.

The results suggest that people in predominantly minority settlements were about three times more likely to report seeing party coordinators collecting personal information outside polling places. People in minority areas were 2.5 times as likely to report that the polling place was intimidating and four times more likely to report the polling station was overcrowded. They were 14 percentage points less likely to report that election officials were well prepared, and 13 percentage points less likely to report that the polling place was well ordered.


All respondents were also asked ‘Please tell us whether [each of the following] occurred or not during the election process’:
  • People voting more than once (including carousel voting);
  • Intimidation of voters or party representatives;
  • Use of administrative resources to benefit a campaign;
  • Bribing of voters;
  • Pressure to donate or not donate to certain candidate/party;
  • Mobilising state employees to participate in campaign/vote for a certain candidate;
A similar pattern as the above holds with these questions, with respondents consistently reporting most of the above problems more often in predominantly minority settlements than in ethnic Georgian settlements. The only activity which was not reported more often (statistically) in minority settlements than ethnic Georgian ones was putting pressure on people to donate.


The data suggest that problems with elections in minority regions are on the rise. The share of individuals in predominantly minority settlements reporting that the polls were intimidating more than tripled between 2016 and 2018. The share reporting it was overcrowded more than doubled between 2016 and 2018. The share of individuals in predominantly minority settlements reporting that the election precinct was well ordered also declined between 2016 and 2017.

In predominantly ethnic Georgian settlements, there was a decline between 2017 and 2018 in terms of how well prepared election officials were perceived to be. There was also a slight decline in terms of people reporting that the polling station was overcrowded. However, there was no change in the share reporting it was well ordered or intimidating.

The 2018 elections had problems. While the conduct of elections in predominantly minority areas in Georgia has been historically problematic, these problems appear to have gotten worse, at least by comparison to the elections in 2016 and 2017.