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International Social Survey Program: Role of Government III, 1996 (ICPSR 2808) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):


The International Social Survey Program (ISSP) is an ongoing program of cross-national collaboration. Formed in 1983, the group develops topical modules dealing with important areas of social science as supplements to regular national surveys. This survey is the third in a series exploring the "role of government" topic. The first survey on this topic was conducted in 1985-1986 (ICPSR 8909) and the second in 1990 (ICPSR 6010). Participating countries in the 1996 survey include Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. Citizens' opinions were elicited on the function of their national governments and on what governments should and should not be doing. Respondents were asked whether they approved of economic policies such as wage and price controls, job creation programs, including public work projects, support for ailing private industries, and the forced reduction in the industrial work week, as well as conservative measures, such as reductions in government spending and business regulations. Government spending was another topic, with respondents questioned as to their support for greater spending on the environment, health care, police and law enforcement, education, military and defense, culture and the arts, old age pensions, unemployment benefits, and housing for the poor. A number of questions dealt with respondents' attitudes regarding democracy, political power, and protest. Respondents were asked for their views on the rule of law when it is in conflict with private conscience, various forms of anti-government protest (public meetings, protest marches and demonstrations, nationwide strikes), whether the right to protest should be afforded to those who advocate the overthrow of the government by revolution, and the conflict between security needs and privacy rights. Other questions focused on the role of elections in democracies, including whether voters understand political issues, whether elections force governments to confront pressing political issues, whether certain institutions (unions, government, business and industry) have too much power in affecting election results, whether politicians really try to keep their election promises, whether civil servants can be trusted to work in the public's interest, and whether various industries (power companies, hospitals, banks) are better off being run by the private sector or by the government. Opinions were also elicited as to whether government had a legitimate role in the redistribution of wealth in the country, by tax policy or otherwise. Demographic variables include age, sex, education, marital status, personal and family income, employment status, household size and composition, occupation, religion and church attendance, social class, union membership, political party, voting history, and ethnicity.

Access Notes

Study Description


International Social Survey Program (ISSP). INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SURVEY PROGRAM: ROLE OF GOVERNMENT III, 1996. Cologne, Germany: Zentralarchiv fuer Empirische Sozialforschung [producer], 1999. Cologne, Germany: Zentralarchiv fuer Empirische Sozialforschung/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 1999. doi:10.3886/ICPSR02808.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arts, attitudes, budget cuts, defense spending, education, government, government performance, government spending, gun control, health, law enforcement, national economy, public confidence, public opinion, social protest, taxes, unemployment

Geographic Coverage:   Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Global, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1996

Date of Collection:  

  • 1996--1997

Universe:   Persons aged 18 years and older in the nations of Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data file is in SPSS export format.

The codebook is provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

The data dictionary, bivariate frequencies, and full question text portions of the PDF codebook are also provided in ASCII format.

This collection has not been processed by ICPSR staff. ICPSR is distributing the data and documentation for this collection in essentially the same form in which they were received. When appropriate, hardcopy documentation has been converted to machine-readable form and variables have been recoded to ensure respondents' anonymity.


Sample:   Varies by nation.

Data Source:

personal interviews, self-enumerated questionnaires, and mailback questionnaires


Original ICPSR Release:  

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