ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance


2020 Vision: Concise Results from the European Social Survey

Session Organiser Mr Stefan Swift (European Social Survey, City, University of London)
TimeWednesday 17th July, 16:30 - 17:30
Room D30

To mitigate against long and overcomplicated conference presentations, I propose a mixed methodology and substantive session that will feature up to six speakers presenting for a relatively short amount of time. The session is inspired by a format of presentation - PechaKucha - created in 2003 by Tokyo based-architects, Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein.

Papers will be invited from a carefully chosen selection of speakers who have the ability to meet the requirements of the presentation format. Ideally, the session will include a balanced mix of substantive and methodological presentations, based on data from the European Social Survey and other sources, where relevant. Each speaker will be allocated 10 minutes for their presentations with time for questions.

Substantive papers that will be invited will look to cover diverse topics such as political participation and political trust of natives and immigrants; attitudes towards climate change and welfare - fielded in Round 8 (2016/17) of the European Social Survey; and the effect of media coverage on survey responses.

Methodology papers that will be invited will look to cover how to include institutionalised populations in social surveys; mitigating for measurement error; the future of fieldwork collection modes; and social desirability bias. Other substantive or methodological topics will be considered following the open call for papers.

As session organiser, I will encourage paper submissions to the session, review these proposals, liaise with presenters, liaise with conference organisers and chair the session during the conference. Whilst most conference sessions tend to include no more than four presentations, this format dictates that the session should include up to five speakers in an hour long session.

Significant time and effort will be allocated to assisting speakers in preparing for what will be a challenging task, especially if some of the topics covered include complicated theoretical concepts, in such as short amount of time. Examples of short presentations are available on the PechaKucha website, and this will be an invaluable resource.

Invited speakers will also be encouraged to use unconventional presentation software, such as Prezi or LaTeX.

Keywords: PechaKucha, survey methods, substantive results, politics, immigration, welfare, climate change

Who Understands Basic Income?

Mrs Mare Ainsaar (University of Tartu) - Presenting Author

This is a PechaKucha style presentation on desire of social equality and the problems related to it’s measurement. The story starts with examples of human desire for equality and attempts to achieve the equal society. Two slides are dedicated to theoretical discussion whether solidarity is realistic goal or not at all. Then we will visit the ESS effort to measure attitudes about the Basic income in 2016.
Idea about Basic income support is one of the most challenging concepts in current welfare policy discussion. ESS 2016 was brave enough to include this this hot theme of social policy as survey items. Standard ESS included quite lengthy question about whether person is against or in favor of this scheme after taking into account that the government pays everyone a monthly income to cover essential living costs, it replaces many other social benefits, the purpose is to guarantee everyone a minimum standard of living, everyone will receive the same amount, people can also keep the money they earn from work or other sources. Estonian ESS survey included additional question in the very end of all ESS survey „Should everyone get some sum of money from a country, regardless of their income, situation and contribution to the life of a country?“. We show results and can conclude that measurement of social equality and solidarity is difficult mainly because it is difficult to understand and recognize social equality and solidarity.


Disentangling the Sanction-Policy Linkage: Public Perceptions and the Influence of the Party System

Dr Andrea Fumarola (Universitetet i Bergen) - Presenting Author

In its dynamic conception democratic responsiveness is described as the correspondence between the actions undertaken by governments and the preferences expressed by the majority of citizens. This declination of representation also implicates the existence of a bottom-up process that under certain conditions allows citizens to influence government’s preferences and shape the policy-making process.
Moving from the conceptualization of representation as a ‘chain’ that through connected stages links citizens’ preferences to policy outcomes, the present article aims to analyze the ‘sanction-policy’ linkage connecting electoral accountability and responsiveness. It empirically tests the anticipatory effect of electoral accountability on government responsiveness from the perspective of citizens and investigates how the perceived existence of an effective mechanism of sanction enhances their perception of the political responsiveness of the national government. Finally, the article also examines the potential moderating effect exerted by specific characteristics of the party system – namely fragmentation, volatility and polarization – on the main relationship.
Applying multilevel models to survey data from 25 European countries included in the sixth round of the European Social Survey, the study finds a strong positive relationship between electoral accountability and government responsiveness and shows that the link is conditional upon the characteristics of the party system.


Working Hours Mismatch and Mental Health in Europe

Mr Andoni Montes (UCM) - Presenting Author

The increasing flexibility of labour market and the characteristics of the new economy have altered the power of employees to decide on their working conditions. This could be leading to an increase on the mismatch between actual and preferred working hours of employees in Europe. I examine its impact on their mental health. The results suggest that the gap between both variables has a negative impact on employees´ mental health, especially in cases of underemployment. However, income and working part time, which are very likely characteristics of this phenomenon, absorb the largest share of this correlation. Furthermore, underemployment appears to be more harmful for women than for men. In contrast, overworking is found to be more harmful for men´s mental health than for women´s.


Can We Use the European Social Survey to Study Same-Sex Partners in Europe?

Dr Ceylan Engin (University of Milan) - Presenting Author
Dr Giulia Maria Dotti Sani (European University Institute)

In recent years, an increasing number of researchers have been paying attention to the position of sexual minorities in society, particularly in Western countries. In light of the increased visibility of these groups, a clearer understanding of their characteristics and their distribution in the population is long overdue. However, due to the lack of nationally representative datasets of sexual minorities, quantitative examinations of these groups remain extremely limited. Indeed, most studies on this topic predominantly involve qualitative inquiries with snowball sampling methods, the results of which cannot be generalized to the whole population. To overcome this limitation, this article investigates whether an existing comparative dataset, the European Social Survey (ESS), can be used to study sexual minorities. Specifically, the article addresses the lack of quantitative literature regarding sexual minorities by focusing on a) the sociodemographic characteristics of partnered gay men and lesbians in the ESS sample, such as their income, education, occupation, and family structures; b) whether there exist significant gaps in the attitudes, values and orientations of partnered gay men and lesbians vs. heterosexuals. Analysing data from the eight waves of the ESS between 2002 and 2016, we explore the prevalence and characteristics of same-sex partnerships in Europe across countries and overtime. Preliminary results indicate that the survey proves to have an ample sample size, around 2,200 same-sex partners, for a robust analysis at the aggregate level, allowing us to explore differences between heterosexuals, gays and lesbians in terms of sociodemographic characteristics, attitudes and values.


Secularization – A Tendency, but Why? What Remains When Cross-Sectional Differences Are Purged from a Longitudinal Analysis

Professor Heiner Meulemann (Universität zu Köln) - Presenting Author
Professor Alexander W. Schmidt-Catran (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)

Tendencies of secularization have been found abundantly in comparative survey research. Yet the theory of secularization which postulates two macro forces reducing religiosity, differentia-tion and pluralization, has been rarely tested. Using the ESS 2002-2016, the impacts of both on church attendance and self-ascribed religiosity are tested, controlling for individual-level determinants of religiosity – that is, for belonging (cohort and denomination membership) and choice (education, urban residence, marriage, parenthood, and employment) – with multi-level models which separate between from within country effects of the macro variables. Differen-tiation is measured by the Actual Individual Consumption of households, social spending, the employment ratio, and the Gini index; pluralization by the Herfindahl index of denomination-al diversity, the number of TV channels, the percentage of tertiary education and the percent-age of urban population. Without controls for country and individual level effects, there is a negative effect of time on religiosity – a secularization tendency. But controlling for belonging annihilates this effect entirely and strongly reduces individual-level as well as country-level error variances, while additionally controlling for choice does so only slightly; cohort succes-sion has a strong negative effect, and denomination membership increases religiosity as such and specifically. The assumed negative effects of differentiation and pluralization on seculari-zation are rarely confirmed between countries and only once within countries. When belong-ing is controlled for and within country effects are purged from between country effects, the secularization detected in cross-sectional studies and often interpreted as a development in time vanishes. Secularization theory fares badly in the appropriate longitudinal, and even in the inappropriate cross-sectional perspective. It describes correctly a linear tendency which it is as yet unable to explain.


Does Public Support for the Welfare State Translate into Support for the Environmental State?: Multilevel Evidence from the European Social Survey

Mr Kirils Makarovs (University of Essex) - Presenting Author

Climate change is a serious global threat and national and supranational collective measures are needed to mitigate its negative effects. Collective approaches to eradicating Beveridge’s ‘five giants’ of want, disease, ignorance, squalor, and idleness were established in the immediate post WW2 period and are known under the name of the welfare state. The idea of the environmental state emerged around the 1980s acknowledging the state’s crucial role in mitigating a sixth ‘giant’ – environmental risks. Drawing on the important role that lay citizens play in supporting and legitimizing public policies, this paper asks whether Europeans who are supportive of the welfare state are also in favour of government intervention into the environmental realm. To answer this question, I adopt Value-Belief-Norm theory to model how values and beliefs are linked to environmental concern and support for an environmental state, and the extent to which the same values predict support for the welfare state. The data come from round 8 (2016) of the European Social Survey and I employ a multilevel structural equation modelling framework to account for individual effects and country-level differences. The results suggest that self-transcendence values and climate change belief are the strongest predictors of support for the environmental state, while the welfare state support has a significant, yet modest positive effect. The implications for the social policy are discussed.