Blog of Sara Jakša

World Value Survey, Slovenia and Justifiable Actions

When I was reading the article The boundaries of culture: do questions about societal norms reveal cultural differences?, I came across a very interesting passage for me (because I am Slovenian). This is the passage in question:

We noted that Slovenia exhibited some very unusual response patterns in 2005-2008. For example, unlike the respondents in any other country in the WVS, absolutely all Slovenes avoided the first four positions on the illegal-dishonest items. Therefore, we excluded Slovenia from our analysis.

This was the analysis of the following questions from the World Value Survey:

  • V198. Claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled
  • V199. Avoiding a fare on public transport
  • V200. Cheating on taxes if you have a chance
  • V201. Someone accepting a bribe in the course of their duties

That would me, that the people in my country avoided 4 positions in the 10-level measurements. That is almost half of measurement. It would means, that around 1000 of people that they asked, all of they has the same general direction of thinking.

World Value Survey does publish the summary information in their website. So I went and checked it. And what I found was not, that they avoided half of the answers. This are the answers:

Question Never justifiable 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Always justifiable N
V198 402 125 136 68 44 104 41 21 7 22 1037
V199 412 91 122 74 50 103 34 42 21 25 1037
V200 565 135 97 49 30 49 25 19 10 18 1037
V201 699 109 68 29 17 33 15 10 5 10 1037

The numbers don't sum up, because of answered don't know or refused to answer.

Well, here it seems, that while it is skewed, the people in Slovenia used the whole range of answers. And I was so happy, that I would be able to find some proof in how corrupted with are in Slovenia (the idiotcracy of the stolen sandwich scandal not withstanding). Well, so much about that. It seems that most of them find it unacceptable. Around half of them find it unacceptable all the time. Which is completely different from the narrative, that is present in the Slovenian culture.

It also means, that not every detail can be trusted, even in scientific articles, without checking the data itself. Here it was easy, since it is publicly available, but what about when it is not? Plus, not everybody understand statistics enough to figure out something out of the data.