Critical Thinking Against Populism

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From year to year, Ukrainian society has been waiting for substantial transformations in the country, which would improve the standard of living. However, people often do not support the reforms, which could contribute to the quality of life. This happens mainly because many Ukrainians are sensitive to populism.

Populists act against the reforms and often receive wide support. They use manipulations, stereotypes and cognitive biases to promote ideas aimed at preserving their status quo or getting benefits for small groups at the expense of long-term interests of the whole society.

Project «Critical Thinking Against Populism», initiated by the Center for Economic Strategy with the support of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ukraine:
The project targeted the most common populist stereotypes in the five reforms that have been identified as high-priority areas by the government and international donors: land reform, pension reform, education reform, health reform, and privatization.

A representative survey of Ukrainian citizens was conducted in order to find out what risks people are most afraid of when thinking about the reforms. We evaluated whether those risks are stereotypes or threats which should be effectively addressed, when correcting the implementation of the reports or when communicating them to the public. All conclusions are presented in the research «Five reforms of the government: how to get public support».
Main project goal is promoting reforms and anti-corruption initiatives, and fighting populism by developing and implementing effective advocacy campaign based on the principles of critical thinking.

The research provides the following data for each of the reforms:
• evaluation of the public awareness concerning the essence of the reforms,
• degree of overall public support,
• support of the key components of the reforms proposed by the government,
• assessment of risks’ probability.

 

The survey was conducted by GfK Ukraine using telephone interviews and focus groups.
2070 interviews were conducted on key reforms – pensions, education, medicine, land and privatization. In order to optimize the duration of the survey, each respondent evaluated in average two randomly selected reforms. In addition, 10 focus groups were held in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Lubny – two for each of the reforms. The survey was conducted in July-September 2017.

The sample is representative to the adult population of Ukraine by gender, age, region of residence and the size of the settlement (excluding occupied and uncontrolled government territories). The maximum theoretical sample error is 2.2%.

Sampling error for the reform:
• Assessment of pension reform: 816 respondents were polled, the maximum theoretical error of the sub-sample was 3.4%
• Assessment of medical reform: 837 respondents were polled, the maximum theoretical error of the sub-sample was 3.4%
• Assessment of education reform: 848 respondents were polled, the maximum theoretical error of the sub-sample was 3.4%
• Estimation of privatization reform: 847 respondents were polled, the maximum theoretical error of the sub-sample was 3.4%
• Assessment of land reform: 833 respondents were polled, the maximum theoretical error of the sub-sample was 3.4%

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