The International Social Justice Project is an international collaborative research project which has explored popular beliefs and attitudes on social, economic and political justice through two large-scale opinion surveys fielded in thirteen countries in 1991 and six countries in 1996. The 1991 survey was fielded in Russia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Germany (eastern and western), the United States, England, Holland, and Japan. The 1996 survey, replicating most of the questions from 1991, was fielded in Russia, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Germany. Results of the 1991 survey are reported in Social Justice and Political Change: Public Opinion in Capitalist and Post-Communist States, edited by James R. Kluegel, David S. Mason and Bernd Wegener (Aldine deGruyter, 1995). The 1996 survey results, with comparisons to 1991, appear in David S. Mason and James R. Kluegel, Marketing Democracy: Changing Opinion about Inequality and Politics in East Central Europe (Rowman and Littlefield). For the contents of these books and for other publications based on the 1991 and 1996 surveys, see the ISJP publications pages. The project coordinator is David S. Mason at Butler University, Indianapolis.
The ISJP has been supported by grants from the National Council for Soviet and East European Research, the National Science Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and funding agencies in each of the countries involved in the project.
The 1991 international dataset for this project has been deposited with the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR; STUDYNO=06705 added May 14, 1996) at the University of Michigan (ICPSR Page) and at the Central Archive in Cologne, Germany, where it is accessible to other scholars.
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The 1991 project included social scientists from all thirteen countries involved in the survey. Through a series of meetings that involved all countries, the project group conceptualized and then developed the questionnaire on this topic; agreed on standard procedures for sampling, interviewing, and coding; fielded the questionnaire to national representative samples in each country; and then worked together in analyzing the data and producing reports, papers and the project volume.
The 1991 common questionnaire, which was developed, debated and adopted by the entire international group, consisted of some 100 standardized questions that were administered in an hour-long face-to-face interview in each country (nationally representative samples of some 1500 respondents in each). The questionnaire consisted of roughly equal numbers of questions in four categories: "background" questions, and questions tapping, respectively, social, economic and political justice. The background section included standard demographic questions, plus questions about educational background, family and household characteristics, income, work experience, social status, religious belief, etc. The attitudinal section included, for example, questions about poverty (and wealth) and its causes; personal experiences of injustice; the causes and acceptability of inequality; the role of government in the economy; personal satisfaction with job, income, etc.; and political activity and affiliations. For the post communist countries, we also asked questions about attitudes towards socialism, privatization and the free market.
At a meeting in Warsaw in May 1994 (supported by the International Research and Exchanges Board) the project participants agreed that the dynamics of the situation in the post-communist states merited a replication of the 1991 survey in those countries only. That first study had been comparative but static; a replication would enable an analysis of the changes (or stability) in attitudes from the beginning of the transition to its midpoint. We agreed in Warsaw that the 1996 survey should be designed as a true replication preserving as many questions from the original questionnaire as possible as well as the order in which they were asked.
A number of questions, however, were added in order to take account of the development in the five years interval since the first data collection. The new questions were related to the changed circumstances of the post-communist states since 1989, and focus on the relationship between justice perceptions, on the one hand, and democratization, political stability, and market-oriented reform on the other. The new questions included: a "mobility table" tapping changes in the respondent's economic situation and perceived status since 1989; and questions tapping how scarce goods and services should be distributed in different life domains; on political values and political participation during and after the 1989 revolutions; on changed economic values and perceptions of economic achievements/failures; on experiences of injustice before and after 1989; and some additional background questions, for example, on alternative sources of income (e.g. investments and side jobs).
The replication was fielded in the Czech Republic in 1995 and in Russia,
Estonia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany in 1996. Project participants met
at the Rockefeller Foundationís Bellagio Conference Center in May 1997
to plan the merging and analysis of the data, and the publications to emerge
from the replication.