quinta-feira, janeiro 10, 2013

The social consequences of the crisis: Greece and the rest

Talking to a Greek colleague today, I was again reminded that "financial crisis" or "austerity" are really too general descriptors to talk about countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain, or Ireland. One way of seeing this is through the Flash Eurobarometer surveys that have been conducted to "monitor the social impact of the crisis" since 2009. For some unfortunate reason, as far as I can tell, the very last one is Flash Eurobarometer 338, whose fieldwork was more than a year ago, back in December 2011. Nevertheless, here are some really eye opening questions and results, from July 2009 to December 2011:

Has your household at any time during the past 12 months run out of money to pay ordinary bills or buying food or other daily consumer items? (% 'Yes')

   Which of the following best describes how your household is keeping up with all its credit commitments at present? (% "You are falling behind with some bills\ credit commitments" + % "You are having real financial problems and have fallen behind with many bills and credit commitments") 

As we can see, Greece is really on a different planet from this point of view. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I can't find more data like this since December 2011. But the Standard EB regularly asks questions about "difficulty in paying bills". The ZACAT data on EB 77.4, from June 2012, shows this:

Difficulty in paying bills in the last year? (% "Most of the time)

Regardless of other factors, any discussion on voting behavior, government approval, protest and political mobilization in the aftermath of austerity policies in these countries must take this into account.
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