Measuring Postmaterialism Using a Street Survey in Myanmar (under review)

Abstract: In this research note, my experiences with conducting a street survey in Yangon, Myanmar, will be shared. The pre-study aimed to measure postmaterialism among Burmese using Roland Inglehart’s four-item measure. The paper discusses the key features and advantages of the street survey method in difficult sociopolitical environments, the design and implementation of the study, as well as the final results. Moreover, the ethics one ought to consider in Myanmar, a former military dictatorship, are emphasized. Contrary to what was expected, the data suggests a skewed distribution towards materialism in society. More surprisingly, a similar distribution was found among a smaller sample of youth activists, who were, according to the four-item measure, predominantly designated as being materialist or mixed-materialists. The pre-study confirmed the feasibility and the advantages of the street survey method in Myanmar. At the same time, in Myanmar, difficulties in translation and the counter-intuitive findings raise questions regarding the internal validity of Inglehart’s measure.

Keywords: Myanmar, street survey, postmaterialism, protest

Please contact me if you are interested in the working paper.