Projects

The following are research projects of the CONSIRT Program within the last five years:

POLPAN, 1988 – 2018

The aim of this project is provide the academic community with information on the advantages of using long-term panel studies – defined as panel studies with more than two waves – in social science research. POLPAN is the focus of this project. A primary objective is to compare POLPAN to other panel and non-panel studies. In addition to the archiving of POLPAN at GESIS and the Polish Social Data Archive (ADS) and dissemination of research stemming from these data, CONSIRT administrators organized multiple conferences and seminars in Poland on the development and use of POLPAN included many OSU graduate students and alumni.

Experiences on the Labor Market, Risk of Unemployment and Probability of Returning to Work, 1988-2008: Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses 

Project carried out in the framework of the 2010 – 2013 grant received from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (1353/B/H03/2010/39; PLN 100,000).

We combine quantitative and qualitative data in an innovative study of moving in and out of unemployment, and of the major determinants of finding and keeping a job following an unemployment spell. The Polish Panel Survey POLPAN 1988-2008, conducted on representative national sample of Polish citizens in five-year intervals, is the source for the quantitative information, which serves two purposes. First, POLPAN allows for statistical investigation of the odds of entering and exiting unemployment, since respondents provide their full employment history, together with all their career interruptions. Second, POLPAN provides the frame for selecting individuals with whom in-depth interviews about coping with unemployment, especially finding or not finding a job, are conducted. Two major questions are: ‘How do people affected by structural unemployment differ from others without work?’ and ‘Why do some people find a job, while others remain unemployed for long periods of time?’ We identified four groups of respondents: (i-a) those finding themselves in unemployment due to the structural transformation of the economy, or (i-b) unemployed for other reasons, and (ii-a) people who exited unemployment, or (ii-b) did not do so.  In addition to the four-group main sample (N=139), we also identified housewives (N=39) and respondents who, at the time of the 2008 POLPAN fieldwork were abroad (N=57). The data from all these interviews provide the base for analyzing how men and women from different groups and at different stages of their careers define their life situations and what mechanisms they employ for dealing with unemployment.

Joint information from POLPAN and from the qualitative data have already provided the grounds for the workshop, “Doświadczenia na Rynku Pracy i Pozostawania Poza Rynkiem Pracy” (Experiences on The Labour Market and Being Outside The Labour Market) (Warsaw, June 12, 2012), which CONSIRT has co-organized with the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology – PAN, and with Fundacja Miejsce Kobiet (Women’s Place Foundation). We are currently preparing a series of articles for publication submission and for presentations at international professional meetings.

Democratic Values and Protest Behavior: Data Harmonization, Measurement Comparability, and Multi-Level Modeling

Project conducted in the framework of the grant received from Poland’s National Science Centre for an international cooperation between the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University (UMO 2012/06/M/HS6/00322, PLN 578,375)

The goal of this project is twofold, substantive and methodological, with a clear link between them. Substantively, we are intrigued by the observation that democracy – however measured – impacts soft political protest behavior and hard political protest behavior differently. Studies consistently show that a relatively high level of democracy is positively related to soft protest, but negatively related to hard protest. However, we lack a sound explanation as to why this is so. In our view, the absence of a comprehensive empirical base for analyzing individual and contextual determinants of political behavior, including their interactions, is largely responsible for our gap in fully understanding the relation of democracy and protest. We are convinced that ours is just one of the many research questions in comparative, cross-national studies that would greatly benefit from better data. By this we do not mean more surveys, but rather integrated surveys. Hence, the methodological goal of our project: bringing together a series of international projects conducted between 1973 and 2012, which, taken together, cover over 100 countries and involve 1344 surveys, with ca. 1.5 million people interviewed. We are in the process of combining information from the European Social Survey, European Values Study, World Values Survey, International Social Survey Program, Eurobarometer, Asian Barometer, Afrobarometer, Arab Barometer and Latinobarometro into multi-layer files, which will be available to the research community at large. In our endeavor, we focus on three important and well-defined fields of methodology: (a) data harmonization, (b) measurement comparability, and (c) multi-level modeling. We apply knowledge from data management used in informatics to harmonization. Confirmatory factor analysis and regression imputation are two of the procedures employed to solve the many problems of comparability of indicators and constructs. Once we complete these steps, we will have a comprehensive multi- country/multi-years data set, which should lead to new knowledge on determinants of protest behavior, as well as on many other social science topics that require cross-national investigation.

For more information, please visit the Harmonization newsletter in this website and the project website, dataharmonization.org.

A New Approach to Analyses of the Relationship between Democracy and Trust: Comparing European Countries Using Quantitative and Qualitative Methodology

Project carried out in the framework of the 2013 – 2015 grant received from the National Center for Science (UMO-2012/05/N/HS6/03886; 122,661 PLN)

The objective of this project is to solve a puzzling empirical result: In some European countries average trust in public institutions clearly diverges from the pattern typical for democratic countries with market economies. According to the theory-stipulated pattern, trust at the aggregate level should be positively related to the level of a country’s level of democracy. Thus, most democratic countries are assumed to be most trustful. However, among countries whose “democraticness” or its different aspects are marked by smaller or bigger flaws, the average level of trust in institutions and the quality of democracy seem to be negatively correlated, which means that countries with low democratic quality have surprisingly high levels of institutional trust. The proposed theoretical approach offers a set of hypotheses regarding specific configurations (interactions) of individual and country-level factors, which distort the country-level “democracy-trust” relation. Within this approach I demonstrate that (a) intersectionality of gender, class and ethnicity, and status inconsistency could be conceptualized as a multidimensional location of people in the social structure, and (b) the effects of this location on trust depend on macro-characteristics of countries, and in turn affect the country means.

Research goals include improving the theoretical approach behind the study of trust and democracy (by accounting for the effects of intersectionality and status inconsistency on trust within different national contexts), using a combination of quantitative analyses and qualitative assessments, and creating a new, harmonized data set, which will offset many problems that the current state of fragmentation in data collection create. Specific products of this project will include publications – articles in high-ranked journals and a monograph – a new publicly available dataset, research workshops, as well as reports for democracy-supporting organizations.

Electoral Control in Eastern Europe

This project is funded by Poland’s National Science Centre under the title, ”Who Wins and Who Loses in the Parliamentary Elections? From Formal Theory to Empirical Analysis”, to be carried out 2013 – 2015 (359,875 PLN). Theory tells us that by conditioning their ballots on policy outcomes, voters can use elections to control politicians. Presumably, politicians anticipate that they will be sanctioned for poor party-performance, and thus have an incentive to implement policies, through their parties and other political units, that correspond to the preferences of the electorate.  Does the system of repeated elections function as a mechanism of electoral control, and if it does, what factors influence its effectiveness?  We consider this question in a broad context of studies on parliamentary elections.  This project is to build a research team to collect, disseminate and analyze data on parliamentary candidates in post-communist Europe.  Once completed, the dataset, Eastern European Parliamentarian and Candidate Database (EAST-PaC), will contain the universe of parliamentarian candidates for all elections since 1989 in Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, and contextual data.  The principle investigator is Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow.  For more, please visit the project website, electoralcontrol.org.

Temporal Orientations, Time-Use Patterns and Social Inequality

Project carried out in the framework of the 2013 – 2015 grant received from Poland’s National Science Centre (UMO-2012/05/N/HS6/03884; 100,000 PLN)

How people relate to and use time is crucial to understanding everyday choices and decisions and, ultimately, stratification outcomes. The objective of this project is to carry out a quantitative study on temporal orientations of Poles on a representative national sample of adults and combine it with data from an existing study of time-use patterns in Poland that the (Polish) National Statistical Office completed in 2003/2004 under the Harmonized European Time Use Study (HETUS) framework. A main point of interest is the impact of attitudes toward time (such as being present-oriented and future-oriented) on social stratification processes. This study will also provide detailed insights into patterns of daily activities by analyzing time-use diaries. Social origins, current socio-economic status, gender and belonging to specific age cohorts are some of the main categories where attitudinal differences to time are to be expected.

This project will yield valuable data for social science research on the relation between perceptions of time and position in the social structure that will be in the public domain for social scientists to use. In addition to constituting the core data source for the dissertation of CONSIRT affiliate Ewa Jarosz (Polish Academy of Sciences), the project will lead to the preparation of articles for publication in international peer-reviewed journals, and provide the base for methods training in the area of time and time-use research. Thus far, two such trainings, called “Time Use Studies – Method and Data Analysis” were organized in the South Caucasus region: the Caucasus Research Resource Center’s office in Tbilisi, Georgia (July 22, 2013) and at the Caucasus Research Resource Center’s office in Yerevan, Armenia (July 25, 2013).  A further workshop, to be held in Warsaw, Poland in 2014/2015, is being planned.

Political Inequality in Cross-National Perspective

Political inequality refers the extent to which there are structured differences in the influence on decisions of decision-making bodies within political systems. Critical to this conceptualization is that the social stratification structure impacts influence over government. The aim of this project is to address four crucial questions regarding political inequality in cross-national perspective: (1) How do we define and measure political inequality?; (2) How politically unequal are modern democracies?; (3) What causes political inequality?; and (4) What are the consequences of political inequality on peoples, societies and social structures? The principle investigator is Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow.  For more information, please visit the project website, politicalinequality.org.

 

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