30 Dec

Trust and Gender in the Caucasus

I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about interpersonal trust (using EBRD data). One of my arguments is that Azerbaijanis have very low interpersonal trust. After a conversation with a girlfriend, I had the idea to look at gender differences in trust as well. This is with CRRC data.

First, without gender, you can see that generally Azerbaijanis have much lower trust in others than Armenians or Georgians do, but this varies by question. (These are on a 1-10 scale with 1 not trust, 10 trust completely or 1 total disagree and 10 totally agree).






In this next chart with gender, you can see gender differences in a variety of questions related to interpersonal trust. The only time that there was no significant difference in trust between men and women is for Armenians with the question “there are many people I can trust completely” – otherwise all these differences are significant.


But looking at the two extremes – completely agree and completely disagree, things are also interesting…


In this question of people that one can trust completely, Georgians seem to have it the worst, with only 3 or 4% having someone like that. Overall gender differences aren’t that stark in this question.


Here for money lending, big country differences. Georgians can’t get a break, huh? Gender differences here exist, but not too harshly.


For reliable people, Georgians again are in a bad spot.


Help repair the apartment – well, this is a lot to ask of people, right? Georgians again are not doing well here.


I don’t want to get sick in the Caucasus. Looks like people have trouble finding people to  help care for them. Again, no major gender differences here.

So overall, despite there being a statistically significant difference in trust between genders, it doesn’t really manifest in these practical questions.


30 Dec

Material Deprivation in 2012

A few years ago I wrote a piece about measuring poverty in the South Caucasus.

That paper ended with 2010, but I was talking about it with someone yesterday, so I did some quick 2012 updates.

As far as monthly household income in 2012, the distribution hasn’t changed much since that 2010 paper, but you can see that Armenians and Azerbaijanis are doing much better economically.




In the paper I argue that material deprivation is the best measure of economic wellbeing because it reflects household ability to buy consumer goods.

This is the 2009-2010 distribution of material deprivation:


And this is the 2012 update.


Armenia didn’t change much. Azerbaijan has less people at the poverty end of the scale, so that’s a positive change. Georgia had a bit of a change in more people in the enough for food category, but about the same in poorest category.


It is hard to see economic changes in such a short period of time – it would certainly be worthwhile to do some trend analysis here. Maybe next year!

12 Dec

Attitudes toward IDPs in Azerbaijan

Sometimes sitting around in a coffeeshop brings interesting ideas. While sitting with Jale Sultanli today, she speculated that IDPs in Azerbaijan hold different attitudes toward Karabakh than other Azerbaijanis. I, always the nerd, said LET’S TEST THIS!

So we did a series of analyses comparing IDPs and non-IDPs. Here is the first set of attitudes – questions about IDPs’ role in society.

The first issue is – are IDPs disadvantaged. Unsurprisingly, IDPs believe they are more disadvantaged than non-IDPs believe they are. A third of non-IDPs think that IDPs are not disadvantaged at all.


But are IDPs different from other Azerbaijanis? This is more of a mixed bag. (And perhaps an odd question.) IDPs are mixed – 22% say they are completely different and 29% say not different at all. While most non-IDPs (29%) are in the middle on this.


So, do IDPs feel that they are a part of Azerbaijan’s society? The IDPs themselves sure think so! Over three-quarters feel that they are completely part of the society. A little over half of non-IDPs believe so.


Jale told me that a lot of non-IDP Azerbaijanis think that IDPs don’t want to move back – they like their new digs more. However, according to this, this is just not true. Three-quarters of IDPs say they will immediately move back when possible. Whereas under a third of non-IDPs believe (completely) they the IDPs would move back.


Some non-IDPs were unhappy (early on) that IDPs were coming to Baku, so there may be lingering concerns about the amount of support that the IDPs receive. Moreover, some Azerbaijanis feel that IDPs perhaps are taking advantage of the support they receive by not working. Unsurprisingly, three-quarters of IDPs feel that the government should be supporting them more. While a little over a quarter of non-IDPs feel this way. 19% of non-IDPs feel that the government assistance should be cut.


03 Dec

#putinout hashtag analysis

civilnet (Via Civilnet.am)

There is a series of protests in Armenia right now, focused on Vladimir Putin’s visit, but overall critiquing Armenia’s possibly joining the Eurasian Union.

Unzipped does a nice summary here.

Here’s my Dec 3 hashtag analysis that is the following relationships. It is basically Armenians (far left), foreigners (middle), and Russians (right).


You can see that pretty much everyone in Armenia that is on Twitter follows each other. 🙂

This is the Dec 3 reply analysis of the hashtag – much clearer about small communication networks.



Here is Dec 4 reply analysis.


02 Dec

Interpersonal trust in Europe and Eurasia

Interpersonal trust is, arguably, the most important concept for a society. Interpersonal trust is understood as the general inclination of people to trust their fellow citizens (Hall, 2002). Interpersonal trust is related to EVERYTHING – democratization, economic wellbeing… you name it.

I did an analysis of some of the trust measures in the ERBD Life in Transition survey from 2011.

The first question asks to what extent people trust their family. So since it was a scale of 1-5 (1 = completely distrust; 5 = completely trust), you can see that people in nearly every country trust their families!

These groupings 1-11 are statistically significant differences in the averages. Countries are listed in multiple columns because, for example, there is no statistically significant difference between Poland and the Czech Republic. But there is also no difference between the Czech Republic and France. Yet there is a difference between Poland and France. Make sense?

Poles are the least trustful of their family (but again, a 4.36/5 – still really trusting!) and Tajiks are the most trusting. There is an argument that poverty results in higher trust because you need these people to survive. Yet, Sweden (as usual) is at the height of family trust. Of interest to this blog’s readers, Armenians and Azerbaijanis really trust their families 4.92 and 4.89/5. Georgians are a little lower at 4.71/5.


The next question asks about trusting one’s neighbors. I suspect that there are some rural/urban differences here, but for the purpose of this blog post, I’m focusing on country-level.

Slovakians are the least trusting with 3.46/5. Uzbeks are the highest with 4.37/5 (although, as I’ve written before, I don’t really trust the Uzbek data in this study.) Georgians are fairly trusting of neighbors with 3.92/5; Azerbaijanis at 3.81/5; and Armenians at 3.76/5.


Then trusting one’s friends, where Albanians are the least trusting with 3.59/5. Azerbaijanis and Armenians aren’t terribly trusting of their friends either – 3.76 and 3.78/5. Again, Swedes are the most trusting of friends with 4.57/5.


Next is people you meet for the first time. This is really important.

Azerbaijanis are the lowest with 1.89/5! Wow – Azerbaijanis REALLY don’t trust new people, do they? Wow! Armenians aren’t too trusting either, 2.29/5, but still, significantly higher than Azerbaijanis. Swedes are the most trusting, 3.57/5. Georgians fall in the middle, 2.58/5.


People of another religion is next. Armenia, a very homogenous country, comes in with the lowest trust 1.83/5. Azerbaijan is next, 2.18/5. Other post-Soviet countries are also quite low here. Guess that whole Soviet tolerance thing wasn’t so solid. Swedes come in the highest, as usual.


Then trusting people of different nationalities – Armenia and Azerbaijan come in as the least trusting again, with 2.23 and 2.27/5. The most trusting, of course, is Sweden. Kazakhstan is high too, probably because it is so multi-ethnic.


So overall, this is important because if people don’t trust each other (in the neighborhood, friends, other people in the country), they aren’t going to be able to engage in positive collective behaviors. They also will be less inclined to want to have good things for everyone – like good healthcare and education.

And, for better or worse, interpersonal trust isn’t easily built.