People’s security surveys: An outline of methodology and concepts

Type Journal Article - International Labour Review
Title People’s security surveys: An outline of methodology and concepts
Volume 141
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 309-328
There is a general feeling around the world that insecurity in work and life is increasing because of rapid change caused by phenomena such as technological innovation and globalization. Yet, relatively little empirical information is available about the various dimensions of insecurity, how people feel about security and insecurity, how people cope with insecurity, and what policies and social rules people consider appropriate to help them deal with insecurity. There is even less information about how insecurity varies across countries and development levels or by socio-economic status, sex, age, etc. In light of this situation, the ILO’s InFocus Programme on Socio- Economic Security began a household survey programme in 2000, which it dubbed People’s Security Surveys (PSSs). This initiative was driven by a desire to learn from the voices of people about their securities and insecurities in work and life so as to ensure that policy formulation could take account of people’s experiences and views. But going from a desire to learn from people’s voices to a useful survey was a major jump. For example, it implied that the PSS questionnaire needed to include both objective factual questions and subjective perception questions. It also implied that a wide range of socioeconomic securities needed to be covered. The wide range of subjects and types of information covered in the PSSs implied that concepts and surveys from a number of disciplines were relevant (e.g. economics and especially labour economics, industrial relations, demography, health, sociology, gender, poverty, psychology and opinion polls). Further complicating matters for an international organization such as the ILO was the great variety of country settings and, therefore, of socioeconomic security in the world, which meant that PSS questionnaires needed considerable adaptation to local settings.