«

»

RESOURCE OF INDUCED MOBILIZATION IS EXHAUSTING

Real after-tax money income of population over January-November 2014 amounted to 101.1% relatively to the same period of 2013. A year before this figure was notably higher – 117.2%. However, such a considerable decrease of income growth rate influenced the perception of economic crisis quite paradoxically: in December 2013 68.6% of respondents shared the opinion that Belarusian economy is in crisis, while in December 2014 this share amounted only to 52.3% (graph 1). Why did crisis perception by public opinion decrease only by 16.3 point against the background of a catastrophic decrease of income growth rate? What made Belarusians abandon rational perception of macroeconomic events?
This is another example of Anomaly 2014. Man cannot live by bread alone, particularly a man whose rationality was set too high for no good reason.
Dynamics of social indices confirms Belarusians’ irrationality. Let us compare financial standing indices for December 2013 and 2014 (Table 1). Difference between them doesn’t exceed statistical error, but this cannot be said about the difference in population’s income growth rate.
Table 1. Dynamics of answering the question: “How has your personal financial standing changed for the last three months?”, %
Variant of answer
06’11
12’13
03’14
06’14
09’14
12’14
It has improved
1.6
12.6
10.1
9.3
13.5
13.7
It has not changed
23.2
58.1
63.3
57.6
58.8
53.6
It has become worse
73.4
28.4
25.2
32.1
24.6
31.0
FSI*
–71.8
–15.8
–15.1
–22.8
–11.1
–17.3
* Financial standing index (the difference between positive and negative answers)

Let us turn now to dynamics of expectation index. In December its value dropped by 6.4 points comparatively to September. Let us remind you, that December survey was conducted before the 30% devaluation of Belarusian ruble. But there was a wide stream of negative information (mainly from Russia) in November as well. It couldn’t but influence the confidence in the future.
But if we compare December values of EI in 2013 and 2014 (just as we did with FSI), then the resulting growth of positive expectations in 2014 will be evident (Table 2). The foundation for EI growth was laid in March. After “Crimeaisours” EI gained 21 points at once (due to elections of local Councils deputies the survey was conducted in the third decade of March).
Table 2. Dynamics of answering the question: “How is the socio-economic situation going to change in Belarus within the next few years?”, %
Variant of answer
06’11
12’13
03’14
06’14
09’14
12’14
It is going to improve
11.9
12.5
24.0
28.6
18.6
23.6
It is not going to change
20.3
46.1
45.0
35.0
49.5
33.4
It is going to become worse
55.5
35.9
26.1
28.7
22.5
33.9
EI*
–43.6
–23.1
–2.1
–0.1
–3.9
–10.3
* Expectation index

Policy correctness index is the most politically charged one of three social indices that IISEPS measures quarterly (Table 3). After March jump by 16.2 points it continued to grow, and in the end of the year it has been fixed in the positive zone. Neither FSI, nor EI achieved positive values.
Table 3. Dynamics of answering the question: “Do you think the state of things is developing in our country in the right or in the wrong direction in general?”, %
Variant of answer
09’11
12’13
03’14
06’14
09’14
12’14
In the right direction
17.0
31.9
40.2
42.3
43.0
43.8
In the wrong direction
68.5
54.1
46.2
42.3
43.5
42.9
DA/NA
14.5
14.0
13.6
15.4
13.5
13.3
PCI*
-51.5
–22.2
–6.0
0
–0.5
0.9
* Policy correctness index

December decrease of FSI and EI was expected. Similar processes happen in Russia since September. Surveys, conducted monthly and weekly, documented a split of the monolith of public opinion into two parts: the first, symbolical one, is connected to the level of collective ideas of national unity, great power, power authority and so on, and the second one, which takes into consideration real evaluations of state of business in economy and households.
In Belarus such level of social integrity (80-85%) is generally unattainable. It is not without reason that during the year of “induced mobilization” there were no major differences between values of positive and negative evaluations of country’s policy. In Russia, according to Levada-Center, PCI amounted to 29 points in December (right direction – 56%, wrong direction – 27%) and to 42% in August!
December values of social indices let us make a conclusion that mobilization resource, which emerged in Belarusian society because of Ukrainian events, is going to be exhausted quite soon.