May 19, 2010

Caucasus Barometer | A New Name for the CRRC's Data Initiative

The CRRC’s annual Data Initiative Survey will be renamed into the Caucasus Barometer starting from 2010. At CRRC, we think that the new name better reflects the essence of the survey and is more understandable for the general public and the journalists.

The Data Initiative was first launched in 2004. Since 2007, a representative sample of approximately 2,000 respondents is interviewed annually in each of the counties. They answer core questions about household composition, social and economic situation of households, employment status, assessments of social and political situation in the countries, as well as respondents’ perceptions about direction of life. In addition, we include questions about media, health, crime, and other topical issues.

The change of the name, however, will not cause any changes in the way the survey is carried out – it is still an annual survey conducted every fall in all countries of the South Caucasus, employing the same methodology and the same survey instrument. Its major goal is to get reliable longitudinal empirical data to understand various aspects of the processes of social transformation in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. We are committed to ensure the highest possible scientific quality through all the steps of survey implementation.

The data and the survey documentation are open to all interested researchers and represent a unique tool for further quantitative analysis. You can find more information about the Data Initiative/Caucasus Barometer on our website.

This is a cross-post from
Social Science in the Caucasus blog.

May 12, 2010

The Number and Reintegration of Armenian Migrants

On May 6, 2010 Vahram Gharakhanyan presented the main findings of his research "The Number and Reintegration of Armenian Migrants Returned to Homeland from the USA: 1991-2008" conducted within CRRC-Armenia Research Fellowship Program.

Mr. Gharakhanyan investigated the number and trends of immigration by sex and age groups, the main reasons that compelled the immigrants from Armenia in the USA to return to home country, and the problems the returnees encountered during their reintegration period in Armenia. The driving forces of return migration is the failure and disintegration in receiving countries, successful termination of migration experience (especially labor) planned by a migrant prior to his/her departure from the homeland, retirement in receiving countries because of old age and/or invalidity, as well as, compulsory removal and/or deportation from receiving countries.

Both quantitative and qualitative data has been gathered to implement the study. In particular, face-to-face and in-depth interviews were conducted with the migrants returned from the USA. Additionally, special questionnaires have been developed and employed to collect the necessary data about the returnees. The sampling, rather the detection of the participants has been taken through the “snow-ball” method.

View more presentations from CRRC-Armenia.
The presentation has gathered professionals in the migration sphere including representatives from State Migration Service, the US Embassy, Caritas-Armenia, Heifer-Armenia, “Advanced Social Technologies”, and Subcommittee of Diaspora, and it was followed by an engaging Q&A session.

The research paper (~600 KB, PDF) is available for download at CRRC-Armenia website here.

May 5, 2010

Domestically Issued Public Debt as a Sustainable Alternative Instrument to Meet the Needs of Public Budget Deficit

On April 29, 2010, Artak Kyurumyan presented the main findings of the research "Domestically Issued Public Debt as a Sustainable Alternative Instrument to Meet the Needs of Public Budget Deficit" conducted in the scope of CRRC-Armenia Research Fellowship Program.

View more presentations from CRRC-Armenia.
The researcher studies the Armenian experience of funding public budget deficit and the potential for borrowing more in the domestic market instead of borrowing internationally on commercial and concessional terms. Originally the intention was only to reveal the potential that the Armenian domestic financial market has from public debt management standpoint (how much can the Government of Armenia borrow in the domestic market). However, as the financial and economic crisis unfolded (as of the end of the third quarter of 2009 Armenian GDP decline reached 18.5 percent), the government faced problems with collecting revenues, it became obvious that it will need to borrow more to support expenditures and stimulate the economy at crisis times.

The study revealed that there are huge volumes of savings and excess reserves in the hands of population and in financial system – comparable to amounts borrowed internationally – that are not channeled neither to government securities market nor to financial sector or to real economy. Moreover, there is a huge potential to increase long term savings if the government of Armenia goes ahead with pension and insurance reforms (the implementation of pension reform was postponed twice from January 1, 2009 to January 1, 2011 although the legal act necessary to start it are mostly drafted.

Finally, the fellow presented recommendations on how to improve domestic debt management capabilities and rely more on domestic financial market. Policy options include develop debt management strategy, implementing pension system reforms, broadening relations with primary dealers, broadening the role of monetary authority in the secondary market of government securities and standardizing the instruments and issuance calendar, ensuring that the behavior of the issuer is transparent but the issuance program is volatile.

The research paper in English (~1 MB, PDF) is available at CRRC-Armenia website here.