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‘Measuring Social Integration and Community Cohesion in Pakistan’


Gallup Pakistan working with Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) at the University of Nottingham and UNDP Pakistan

Academic researchers involved: Professor Chris Starmer, Dr Emily Wyman and Dr Umar Taj

Subjective perceptions of closeness to others can be easily measured, and have been shown to reliably index aspects of social relationships that affect decision-making processes and so determine concrete outcomes for individuals and groups. Pertinent to measuring social integration, one branch of ongoing research at CeDEx has investigated ‘Oneness’, a measure of how subjectively close people feel to other individuals. CeDEx research has shown, firstly, that this simple tool can be used to reliably index an impressive range of relationship attributes (e.g. how often individuals interact, how close they feel) and, secondly, that Oneness scores strongly predict levels of group cooperation.

Oneness might be adapted in different ways for different purposes. For instance, they might

be used to assess basic variations in vulnerability between populations (e.g. to assess whether youths in certain locales perceive themselves as particularly distant from family, or key figures in the local community). They might also be used to address hypotheses about the efficacy of specific interventions (e.g. how community centre or skills training interventions increase a sense of youth integration and group cohesion, or reduce identification with high-risk groups).

Due to socioeconomic conditions, youth populations in some parts of Karachi have been identified as at special risk of vulnerability. As part of a strategy for tackling this issue, UNDP Pakistan has been providing skills training to youth from these vulnerable areas of Karachi and helping them find employment in the textile and garment industry in Karachi. This project comprises a field experiment that will, in collaboration with UNDP Pakistan use Oneness to empirically and quantitatively monitor changes in youth integration and social cohesion.

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