Special module of the National Barometer

The economic crisis and social cohesion in Spain


The economic crisis of 2008-2014 hit Spain hard, leading to high unemployment rates, evictions, and emigration. Research has amply shown that individual incomes and the national GDP affects individuals' social and institutional trust. However, research into trust typically ignores the effect of networks. We hypothesized that individuals are not only influenced by their own situation but also by what they observe in their social worlds. People who are well off are likely to observe fewer consequences of the crisis both individually and in their networks than people in the lower-income classes. While typical surveys only allow us to analyze individual effects, we proposed to assess, with this special module of the National Barometer (a national survey frequently conducted by the Center for Sociological Research in Madrid) to what extent the negative consequences of the economic crisis individuals observe in their social environments affect their social and institutional trust.

Specifically, we proposed to answer the following questions:

(1) To what extent is there a cumulative effect of various consequences of the economic crisis (unemployment, emigration, etc.) in the social environment of individuals? That is, how do people vary to the extent that their social environment is affected by the crisis? We will distinguish between the general social environment and various relevant sub-contexts such as family, friends, or the neighborhood.

(2) To what degree is the concentration of various effects of the crisis in the social environment of an individual related to the individual's own socio-economic markers? For example, will younger and more educated individuals know more people who have emigrated in recent years than older people?

(3) How does the concentration of effects in the social environment of the individual (total and by sub-contexts) affect the trust he has in his compatriots and in public institutions? Does this have an explanatory value added to the individual's own socio-economic markers?

The project was led by Miranda Lubbers. The data can be accessed via the website of the Center for Sociological Research, study 3036.


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    WHEN NETWORKS SPEAK VOLUMES: VARIATION IN THE SIZE OF BROADER ACQUAINTANCESHIP NETWORKS Lubbers, M. J., Molina, J. L., Valenzuela-García, H. (2019). Social Networks, 59: 55-69. DOI / Dissemination article