Read this article in Reykjavik Grapevine, it is a finding of a study being conducted by Jón Gunnar Bernburg @University of Iceland, Berglind Hólm Ragnarsdóttir @City University of New York and Sigrún Ólafsdóttir @Boston University. The title of the paper is “Subjective Injustice during the Icelandic Recession 2009-2010” where the authors have done a survey of 948 people representing a good cross section of the Icelandic population. If you want to read the whole report you can find it here. There were a bunch of graphs that I thought were very interesting.

  • 81% of the respondents felt that it was necessary or quite important to “know the right people”!
  • 75% agree that everything is so uncertain these days that it feels like anything can happen
  • 50% think it is necessary or quite important to have political connection
  • 15% think it is important to bribe somebody
  • Over 57% of the respondents feel that their status in the society is unjust!
  • 35% feel that their standard of living will get much worse in the near future
  • 79% agree that everything is chaotic that it is difficult for people to know where they stand fro day to day
  • 37% get angry or frustrated due to their status in the society


The authors hypothesis the following from the study:

  1. We predict that under the circumstances of reduced living standards and uncertainty about future living standards individuals who have internalized high monetary goals will be more likely to experience status injustice. 
  2. We predict that individuals having expectations about their future economic status tend to exhibit more subjective status injustice, again net of their actual economic position.
  3. We hypothesis individuals who believe that the opportunities for achievement are corrupted by personal ties, political connections, or bribery will be more likely to experience subjective status injustice
  4. We expect the perception of uncertainty and instability regarding social institutions to undermine subjective status justice
I think the consequences of those experiences and perceptions are important.
This study is quite surprising to me. What do you think? Do you think Iceland is a fair and just society? What about starting a business here?