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ESRA 2023 Glance Program

All time references are in CEST

Survey research on work, labor market and welfare 2

Session Organiser Mr Felix Bitterer (Bielefeld University)
TimeThursday 20 July, 14:00 - 15:30
Room U6-28

This session showcases results of survey research that concentrate on work, labour market and welfare. The focus lies on the interaction between society, work life and individuals. For this purpose, the session will include studies on particular societies as well as cross country-comparisons to participate in the recent societal and scientific discourses.
We will discuss how opinions on welfare in different countries affect individuals’ working life. For example, this session showcases research on the gendered division of labour and a study on the public expectations about the role of the welfare state, both as cross country-comparisons.
Furthermore, this session presents results on questions how societal events affect the working conditions and individuals’ attitudes. In this context, results on work-related changes during the COVID-19 pandemic in the EU and on the perception of economic fairness in Northern Ireland in times of Brexit, COVID-19 and instability of political leadership will be presented.
Moreover, we will discuss the significance of individual skills and attitudes for the working world. The session showcases research on improving the measurement of informal work in El Salvador and a study on the importance of political values on the decision to work in public service in Germany. In addition, a study about the cognitive abilities and financial literacy among tribal street workers in North-East India and research on the motivation of people who continue working after retirement age in Israel will be presented.

Keywords: attitudes towards welfare, labor market, work


Perceptions of Economic Fairness in Northern Ireland: Evidence from the 2021 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey

Dr Paula Devine (Queen's University Belfast) - Presenting Author
Dr Sabrina Bunyan (Ulster University)
Dr Erin Early (Queen's University Belfast)
Professor Ann Marie Gray (Ulster University)
Dr Martina McKnight (Queen's University Belfast)

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing economic, health and social inequalities. Following the pandemic, economic recovery halted with the outbreak of war in Ukraine fuelling inflationary pressures and dampening economic growth. In the UK, Brexit and instability in political leadership intensified the effects of these worldwide upheavals, with the impacts being felt most strongly by the most vulnerable in society. In Northern Ireland, challenges to the implementation of the EU Withdrawal Agreement have been central to the suspension of the Northern Ireland Executive. Without a functioning government, critical policy responses to the most recent crises, as well as the longstanding social inequalities and societal disjunctures that preceded them, are subsequently obsolete. However, the efficacy of policy responses to immediate and persistent inequalities and promoting a fairer society is dependent upon understandings of how these imbalances are perceived and experienced in everyday life.

This paper is based on 2021 Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) survey data (n=1,391), which explored adults’ opinions on fairness relating to incomes, taxes, social security, financial hardship and the cost of the living. The fieldwork took place in autumn 2021 when many people had suffered personal loss and unprecedented shocks to their health and wellbeing, and households were beginning to experience increased energy, food and fuel prices.

The analysis of this study critically examines variations in perceptions of fairness in income distribution, taxation and social security benefits according to social determinants such as respondents’ socio-economic position, demographic characteristics, and financial security. The survey measures used to capture attitudes towards economic fairness and their application in Northern Ireland will be critically discussed, before the results from a multivariate analysis are presented. The analysis of NILT data illustrates the complexity of understanding economic inequality and attitudes towards such topics among different social groups during this turbulent period.

Virtual Encounter Simulations for Comparing Public Expectations About the Role of the Welfare State

Dr Georg P. Mueller (Univ. of Fribourg) - Presenting Author

By the end of September 2022, a Swiss plebiscite about a new pension law revealed once more that the western region of the Arc Lémanique (AL) is politically different from the rest of Switzerland. Newspapers argued that this is the result of the proximity to France, due to cultural exchange, which is facilitated by a common language.

This paper tries to find out, how far political opinions of the AL are away from German speaking Switzerland and how close they are to France. In order to deal with this research question, the author uses a new methodology from computational social science: virtual encounter simulation, which he successfully applied in earlier publications to similar problems. The main idea is to use survey-data for constructing random-dyads of persons, who can subsequently be compared with regard to their political attitudes. By averaging the inter-individual differences of dyads of persons belonging to the same group and those belonging to different groups it is possible to compare ideological intra-group- with inter-group-conflict. In comparison with traditional analyses based on group-specific mean-values, virtual encounter simulation has two major advantages: First, it avoids ecological fallacies, as it moves from lower to higher levels of aggregation. Second, it also considers asymmetrical conflict: by taking two different levels of intra-group conflict as references, inter-group conflict may for one group be more important than for the other.

In order to tackle the initial research question of the ideological position of the AL, the author analyses the international ISSP-2016 survey focussed on the role of government, also with regard to public old age pensions. By virtual encounter simulation it is possible to determine the intra-group conflicts of the AL, German speaking Switzerland, and France, and to compare these three base-line measurements with the inter-group conflicts between the three areas.

Improving the Measurement of Women and Youth’s Informal Work in Non-Urban Settings: The Impact of the Use of List of Activities and Self Responses

Ms Ivette Contreras (World Bank) - Presenting Author
Ms Valentina Costa (World Bank)
Ms Lelys Dinarte-Diaz (World Bank)
Ms Amparo Palacios Lopez (World Bank )
Ms Steffanny Romero (World Bank)

Measuring informal work is crucial for policy making, especially in low-income countries where informal work represents a high share of total employment. Despite the relevance of the informal work in the labor market, there is still a lack of a universally accepted definition of ‘informality’ and of accurate survey tools for capturing it. First, many surveys rely on questions to capture traditional types of employment, and do not use appropriate screening questions to encompass all types of activities, possibly leading to the undermeasurement of the activities performed by individuals engaging in atypical work, such as self-employed workers in the informal market. Second, data on youth and women may disproportionally suffer from ‘proxy response’ bias because the respondent may accurately report their own activities, but under‐ or overreport activities of other household members, especially of household members who primarily engage in atypical work, or whose contribution to household expenses is low. This paper provides experimental evidence to overcome these limitations and to improve data collection on informal work, with a focus on women and youth in rural and peri-urban areas in El Salvador. We designed a methodological experiment that aims to assess how the measurement of informal labor is affected by the use of a screening list of activities and/or proxy responses. As part of the experiment, we conducted qualitative field activities with women and youths to create a list of paid and unpaid activities defined as ‘work’ in rural and peri urban communities. Finally, we explored women and youth’s preferences on non-informal work attributes through a discrete choice experiment using vignettes to distinguish different bundles of options under different job attributes, we use this information to understand the associations between these choices and risk preferences using incentivized-field experiments.

Examining the cognitive abilities and financial literacy among tribal street entrepreneurs: A field experiment in North-East, India

Miss Aayushi Lyngwa (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur) - Presenting Author
Dr Bimal Sahoo (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur &Bhubaneshwar)

The paper discusses the relationship between cognitive ability on the financial literacy of street vendors. It is driven by the objective of examining the effect of mathematical ability on their financial ability and determining their financial literacy. The study is a field experiment conducted on 203 tribal street vendors in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram. We formulated questions based on adopted strategies from the literature. The data is analyzed through an ordered logit model. The Model aided in determining the effect of mathematical ability on cognitive ability on one hand and cognitive ability on the financial ability of the street on the other. We found that the street vendors' cognitive and financial abilities correlated highly. The findings of the paper present that cognitive ability positively affects financial literacy through the increase in educational attainment levels. Regular street vendors are more likely to have better cognitive abilities than temporary street vendors. Also, street vendors with more cognitive and financial abilities gained better monthly profits and performed book-keeping habits. We attempt to draw a particular focus on a set-up which is economically and socially marginalized in the Indian economy. The study's finding contributes to understanding financial literacy and provides inclusive financial systems solutions in an economy limited to tribal street vendors.