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Regular version of the site

Socio-Economic Security: Concepts, Forms and Measuring Methods

2007
Department: Institute for Social Development Studies

People’s socio-economic security and protection against the consequences of various social risks has been an essential part of modern development. Historically, international experience reveals that periods and areas of mass insecurity have always bred a loss of social norms, intolerance, extremism and violence in the society. Lack of protection is also instrumentally bad, making people less innovative and less able to take productive risk-bearing options. Uninsured risks shorten people’s time-horizons and narrow their choices. These and some other considerations make socio-economic security an important research problem.

The research carried out within the framework of the Program for Fundamental Studies in 2007 is the latest in a series of research which has been conducted by the Institute for Social Development Studies since 2001, when the Institute’s experts took part in a cross-cultural research project carried out by the International Labor Organization (ILO) devoted to comparative analysis of socio-economic security. Based on the methodology developed within that project, sociologic surveys were conducted in Russia between 2002 and 2004. Their results, along with the analysis of certain statistical data, were used for the subsequent calculation of socio-economic security indicators and indices, providing the integration of objective and subjective information and data comparability both over time and across different countries and regions.

The research of 2007 aimed to contribute to the future creation of a socio-economic security monitoring system in Russia. The objectives of the work are: to develop ILO methodology in order to better reflect Russia’s specific features, at the same time providing for international comparisons using the ILO SES database; to provide empirical data for the evaluation of the socio-economic security of the Russian population and of the developments in this field within a five year period.

In June 2007, sociological surveys were conducted in St. Petersburg, Ivanovo and Samara Regions (1800 respondents representing the adult population of pilot regions). The measurements included evaluation of access to basic social services, i.e. healthcare, education and housing, as well as labor related issues, in particular employment, job, skills and workplace security, as well as voice representation opportunities. The research revealed that though substantial progress has been made since 2002, the general level of socio-economic security reflected in people’s opinions and perceptions remains much lower than those in more developed countries.

In addition to methodological and empirical research in the field of socio-economic security, analyses of the impact of the national projects in the areas of housing, healthcare and education were performed, which revealed that their overall effect on the socio-economic security of the population was quite limited. In many cases financial resources of national projects were spent inefficiently as the projects were carried out within the existing outdated system of institutes and administrative mechanisms. In a number of cases it appeared that the measures undertaken actually contributed to an increase in inequality in access to social services.