About the PIDE-Basics Survey
About the PIDE-Basics Survey
Beliefs, Attitudes, Social Capital, Institutions, Community and Self
Why can some populations do better with a given set of resources than others? Why some populations are more receptive to change and able to adapt and innovate while others do not? What are the kinds of influences that trigger and motivate a population to set and then achieve a particular goal? These are some of the questions that have intrigued social scientists, theorists, and policymakers alike. In the quest to find answers to such questions, notions like physical and human capital were found to be lacking. There was something more to it than hard and rather easily measurable factors. Enter social and cultural capital!
Understanding social and cultural capitals improve our comprehension of processes by expanding the range of indicators used to analyze outcomes not adequately explained by socio-economic and demographic indicators. Social capital allows citizens to resolve their conflicts efficiently, people trust each other, and economies and individuals prosper. Likewise cultural factors, norms, attitudes, beliefs and how they mould individuals play an important and subtle role in how societies and communities function and grow.
While several large, nationwide surveys are available to measure the socio-economic and demographic indicators of Pakistan, not much is known about the bonds and trust shared by the citizens of the country at the individual, family, societal, religious and institutional levels. Some of the issues linked to social capital, attitudes and values can be found in the World Value Survey (WVS), but it relies on a smallish sample and does not go deep into the topics. We also do not find regional and provincial differences in the WVS. Pakistan is not a homogenous society, and an issue cannot be understood unless we look at the differences that exist among people of different backgrounds.
 See forthcoming BASICS Notes Number 2 for understanding the much-misunderstood concept of social capital.
 For instance Pakistan Social and Living Measurement Survey (PSLM), Household Integrated Economics Survey (HIES), Labour Force Survey (LFS), Pakistan Demographic Survey (PDS), and Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) to name just a few.
How do Pakistanis feel towards each other, towards people who are like them, and towards people who are unlike them? Do Pakistanis trust their various institutions? What are their values, beliefs and attitudes? Are they able to achieve their ambitions? Do they feel safe on the streets? What are their views about the governance and political system in the country? What are community life and informal sociability like in Pakistan? What is the state of volunteerism and civic involvement? And most importantly, what do Pakistanis consider as their identity?
To answer these questions and more, the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) conducted a nationwide survey- the PIDE BSICS Survey. The survey is the quantitative part of a larger study titled, “Pakistanis: Who Are We?”. While the quantitative part would capture and measure the trends in the factors comprising the BASICS, namely beliefs, attitudes, social capital, institutions, community and self, its qualitative part would try to understand the why and how underlying these patterns.
What Does the Survey Cover?
The PIDE-BASICS survey covers twelve areas to understand the basics of Pakistanis, namely:
I. Personal, including factors linked to education, employment, language, emotional, mental and physical health, self-image, and identity
II. Family, covering trust within the immediate and extended family, level of communication, and reliance on family in case of financial, health or social need,
III. Marriage, probing about beliefs and attitudes towards the importance of getting married and giving dowry, attitude towards dowry, divorce, polygamy and remarriage
IV. Community and Society, looking into issues like satisfaction regarding the area living in, facilities and provisions accessible for a healthy social life including playgrounds, parks, libraries and community centres, prevalence of crime, involvement in voluntary work, feeling of security and trust in the neighbour-hood, membership of social clubs/organisations, involvement in decisions linked to the community, and trust in various social institutions and in people who are different in some way.
V. Ambitions and Aspirations, asking for the biggest influence and ambition in life, reasons for lack of fulfilment of ambitions, and inter-generational mobility.
VI. Education and Technology, questioning the importance of and reason for getting an education, the type of activities and interactions taking place in educational institutions, the role and use of technology, and time spent on social media.
VII. Sports and Recreation, including the type of indoor and outdoor sports played, exercise done, sporting events arranged in the community, source of recreation, and who is part of such activities.
VIII. Economics and Employment, looking into the importance of being employed, preferred types of jobs, reasons for progression, trust in conducting business, and security in financial transactions.
IX. Corruption, probing the prevailing concept of corruption and idea about how corrupt or otherwise people are in different public and social institutions.
X. Government and Politics, covering people’s beliefs and attitudes towards the political setup, processes, elections, government tenures and political parties, trust in politicians and the political system, and preferred political system and party.
XI. Religion and Faith, including factors like religiosity, belief and practice of various religious rituals, acceptance of other religions, source of religious knowledge, and meaning of life.
XII. Ethics and Morality, covering attitudes and beliefs regarding different aspects of morality, and endorsing/not endorsing several acts linked to ethics.
A final section of the survey asks for some background information about the individual like household income, ownership status of the house living in and the number of household members.
The purpose of asking all these questions is to understand how the people of Pakistan interact with each other, their trust in each other and their institutions, and what bonds and binds them. Conflicts arise when social capital is low. Economies suffer when there is a lack of trust. There is resistance to change if society’s beliefs and attitudes are contrary to what is being suggested. Community life lacks vigour if there are lack of facilities and opportunities for people to interact in a positive environment. It is premised that it is factors like these that determine how effectively and cohesively a nation, a population, and a community can function.
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