Survey: Institutional performance and social values in Hungary

The following report is based on data collected during ethnographic fieldwork, as a part of the ANTICORRP project, Work Package 4 – The Ethnography of Corruption. In particular, it deals with the results of a survey conducted in Hungary on a small sample of 103 inhabitants of the city of Budapest.

The aim of the survey is to collect information on how different areas of the public and private life are perceived by the respondents, and in particular: public institutions, local development, local customs, and values. The main focus of the questions is to investigate how people deal with the problem of corruption (if perceived at all), its effects, practices, social and cultural norms, as well as with the anti-corruption discourse, both at a local and national level. It is important to stress that the word “corruption” itself is not directly used in the survey, with one exception in section D, where it is used to address one of a series of hypothetical scenarios. Avoiding direct references to corruption as a phenomenon was a choice based on the awareness that corruption itself is hard to define and to frame, since it consists of multiple practices not always perceived as fraudulent or illegal, which are not necessarily fitting the social understanding of object corruption. Using a word that has such strong moral and social implications in the public discourse would have possibly influenced the results of the survey, and make the respondent feel at unease or bias their responses when dealing with such matters.

The survey target has been the ordinary residents in the above mentioned cities, in an attempt to give a bottom-up perspective of the relationship between the citizen and the institutions at multiple levels (from local to nations and supranational), as well as to underline how the citizens relate to such institutions in matter of social trust and ability to interact with them.

The survey is aimed at providing comparable data among the countries it has been conducted in, in the scope of the WP4 research. Therefore it serves the purpose of providing information which could be used in a wider, comparative framework.