Goal of research: to study interrelations between individuals’ and countries’ resources and values and opinions of people in Russia and other countries.
Methodology: statistical and econometric analysis of international and domestic surveys data
Empirical base of research: European Social Survey (2012, 2014), International Social Survey Programme (2003, 2009, 2013), European Values Study (2008-2009)
Results of research:
1. Research results show similarities in individual and differences in country level factors affecting various kinds of national pride and belief in national superiority. At the individual level, we found strong positive effects of subjective social status and religiosity and negative effects of education level. Thus, national pride and belief in national superiority is higher in those combining higher level of access to resources with lower level of expectations. The GDP pc used as a measure of countries’ economic resources demonstrated four different patterns of determination for different dependent variables. The correlation of countries’ resources with pride in mass achievements is positive, absent with pride in elitist achievements, negative with general pride in one’s country, and nonlinear quadratic, with belief in national superiority. These results show that pride in mass achievements adequately reflects countries’ objective resources, while general national pride, on the contrary, provides symbolic compensation for their deficiency. Belief in national superiority may exercise both these functions depending on a country: in more economically advanced countries, belief in national superiority reflects objective resources, and in less affluent countries, plays a compensatory role. This quadratic dependence indicates coexistence of two different kinds of countries with compatible level of belief in national superiority yet two substantively different kinds of determination.
2. The results show that individual demand for income redistribution by the state depends on an individual’s resources. More affluent people demonstrate lower support for income redistribution than the needy, objective and subjective estimates of income level having similar effects. Possessing human capital and enhancing it via professional development and education, as well as improved health have a moderating effect on opinions on income redistribution. Support for redistribution is also lower in those holding highly ranked positions in the job market: managers and professionals express less support for income redistribution than others. The results demonstrate the relation of attitudes towards income redistribution not only to resources but also to their connection to the state. Individuals receiving any kind of state support, such as old age pensions or salaries for the state-employed, demonstrate stronger support for income redistribution, while in those getting no benefits or other kinds of payment from the state the level of support is considerably lower. The results show that intergenerational mobility lowers support for income redistribution, thus supporting A.Hirschman’s “tunnel effect” hypothesis. Objective social mobility and its subjective perception yield essentially the same effect, which is more consistent for the subjective estimate, while the effect for objective mobility is absent in postsocialist countries. The support for income redistribution is also found to depend on popular ideas about ways of achieving success in life. Belief in meritocratic ways to success leads to reliance on internal resources and lower demand for income redistribution, while those believing in the primary role if nonmeritocratic ways and the necessity of external resources have higher expectations from the state. Within this worldview, state support appears as one of many external resources, and a relatively moral one compared to nepotism or corruption. These mechanisms also operate at the country level: countries with lower level of corruption demonstrate lower level of support for income redistribution. For this reason, the two factors - social mobility and notions on paths towards success - may not only act independently, but also moderate each other.
3. The research results show that most characteristics of democracy are attributed lower importance by Russians than by East and West Germans. The exception are the characteristics comprising the social dimension (fight against poverty and income inequality) and holding referendums, which are more important for Russians than for Germans. In Germany, higher level of satisfaction with implementation of electoral and liberal characteristics of democracy is registered in respondents with higher, and in Russia, with lower income. In Russia, unlike Germany, the social aggregate dimension of democracy is evaluated as the most important one, while the satisfaction with the implementation of the social dimension is lower than of other dimensions in both countries. In both countries, better educated and more affluent respondents attribute less importance to the social dimension of democracy; in East and West Germany, they also attribute more importance to the liberal and electoral dimensions. East and West Germans are more similar in their evaluation of implementation of various dimensions of democracy than in their attributed importance. Russians, especially those with higher incomes, demonstrate low opinion on implementation of all dimensions of democracy, and Germans, only of the social dimension.
4. The research results demonstrate that the earlier positive effects of interpersonal trust on attitudes towards euthanasia are not reproduced with different indicators. Respondents participating in a survey are not involved in actual decision-making and are motivated by general notions on voluntary life termination instead of logically consistent detailed understanding. Thus, respondents do not consider trustworthiness of those involved in the procedure of euthanasia. In general, negative relation between institutional trust and support for euthanasia is confirmed: countries with higher trust in institutions demonstrate more negative attitudes towards euthanasia. This negative effect cannot be explained by attitudes towards state policy, which in most countries bans euthanasia. Instead, this effect can be attributed to the positive relation between institutional trust and conservative value orientation. At the country level, however, the effect is positive: both interpersonal and institutional trust are positively related to support if euthanasia.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
The research results have been of help in the lecture course “Data analysis and visualization in R” taught to the 4th year bachelor’s degree students at the Department of sociology of the NRU HSE. They have been of help in the supervision of the above-mentioned students working at their annual and graduate theses as well. The current research has provided information for several public presentations in the Russian mass media as well.