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Eurobarometer 52.1: Modern Biotechnology, Quality of Life, and Consumers' Access to Justice, November-December 1999

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Melich, Anna (European Commission)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • Eurobarometer Survey Series
Publication Date
Free Keywords
attitudes; biotechnology; cloning; economic integration; European unification; European Union; family life; genetic engineering; health care; health status; income; information technology; Internet; leisure; life satisfaction; public opinion; quality of life; social change; social life; standard of living; technological change; technology
  • Abstract

    This round of Eurobarometer surveys queried respondents on standard Eurobarometer measures such as public awareness of and attitudes toward the European Union (EU), and also focused on applications of modern biotechnology, quality of life and lifestyle, the EC symbol, and consumers' access to justice. Respondents were asked whether they believed that new, developing technologies such as biotechnology and genetic engineering, computers and information technology, telecommunications, the Internet, new materials and substances, solar energy, space exploration, and nuclear energy would improve their lives over the next 20 years. They were also prompted for what came to mind when they thought of modern biotechnology, and if they had a positive or negative opinion about specific areas of biotechnology such as the cloning of animals or humans, health research, and genetically engineered food. Those queried were asked to indicate whether a number of statements having to do with modern biotechnology were true or false, including "There are bacteria that live in waste water" and "Yeast for brewing beer consists of living organisms." They were also asked to agree or disagree that various applications of modern biotechnology are useful, a risk for society, morally acceptable, or should be encouraged. Agreement/disagreement was also sought on a number of statements, such as "Cloning animals will bring benefits to a lot of people," "Genetically modified food will bring benefits to a lot of people," "I would buy genetically modified fruits if they tasted better," and "I feel sufficiently informed about biotechnology." Respondents were asked if they felt that the various entities involved in modern technology (i.e., newspapers and magazines, the biotechnology industry, ethics committees, consumer organizations, environmental groups, the government, shops, farmers, churches, and doctors) were doing a good job for society and which sources, if any, they could trust to tell the truth about modern biotechnology. Regarding quality of life, respondents were asked about their satisfaction with life in general, their health, the health care system, family life, social life, personal safety, their financial situation, employment situation, home, and neighborhood. They were asked how their current satisfaction in these areas compared to two years ago and if they thought they would be more or less satisfied in these areas two years from now. From a list of 15 choices, respondents were asked to select three factors that contributed most to their current quality of life and three that would most improve it. Given a list of places people might visit (e.g., work, a health center, the hospital, the supermarket, etc.), respondents were asked how long it would take to get there and to which places they would walk. Other questions queried respondents about their current standard of living and monthly income, whether they had a healthy lifestyle, had a good diet, exercised, drank alcohol, smoked, or were stressed, whether in the last 12 months they had consulted a family doctor, a dentist, or a medical specialist, whether they had been a patient in a hospital or clinic for overnight or longer, and if they had any long-standing illness, disability, or infirmity that limited their activities. They were also asked what types of leisure activities they participated in and which they would do, or do more of, if they had more time. In addition, respondents were asked if the Internet, personal computers, or mobile phones were positive or negative in terms of their quality of life, if the government should spend more to ensure everyone access to these new technologies, and if respondents had participated in training activities related to these new technologies. Several questions about the poor and the socially excluded asked if respondents had given money, goods, or their time to help these groups and if, in their opinion, housing authorities, employment services, social services, religious institutions, charities, businesses, trade unions, their family, the European Union, or the poor themselves currently provided the most help. Another series of questions asked respondents about the EC symbol -- its meaning, who put it on products, on which items they had seen the symbol, and how often they took the symbol into account when they bought products. They were asked how well informed they felt as consumers, in what form they would like to get information on their rights as a consumer (i.e., an outline, a detailed booklet, a complete description, a videotape, etc.), if they had ever had to complain about a purchase, whom they complained to or would complain to, and whether they complained or would complain in person, by phone, in writing, by e-mail, or in some other fashion. They were asked if they had heard of bodies such as arbitrators, counselors, ombudsmen, etc., that deal with consumer disputes and if they would be willing to bring their problem before one of these agents or if they had fears about them. Further questions queried respondents about whether in the last five years they had had a problem that they could not get resolved, what type of product or service was involved, and what they did when they could not resolve the problem. They were questioned as to the minimum amount it would take to bring the problem to court, why they would not bring it to court for less, whether they had insurance that would cover the legal costs, if they would be more likely to go to court if they joined other consumers with the same problem, what would most encourage them to defend their rights in court, in whom they had the most confidence to defend consumers in court, how much confidence they had in the courts to settle disputes, and who could best protect consumer interests. Similar questions were asked concerning products bought abroad -- the amount it would take to bring the dispute to court, if they had ever had a problem with a product or service bought abroad, if they did anything about the problem, how satisfied they were with the results, and if it would be useful to have one form that could be used throughout the European Union to complain about a product or service problem. Information was also collected on whether anyone in the household owned a color TV, a video recorder, a video camera, a clock radio, a home computer, a still camera, an electric drill, an electric deep-fat fryer, two or more cars, or a second or holiday home. Standard demographic information collected included age, sex, nationality, left-right political self-placement, marital status, age at completion of education, number of people in household, number of children in household, current occupation, previous occupation, religiosity, household income, type of residence, size of locality,region of residence, and nationality.
  • Methods

    Please review the "Weighting Information" section of the ICPSR codebook for this Eurobarometer study.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1999-11-01 / 1999-12-15
    Time period: 1999-11-01--1999-12-15
  • 1999-11-01 / 1999-12-15
    Collection date: 1999-11-01--1999-12-15
Geographic Coverage
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Europe
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Global
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
Sampled Universe
Citizens of the European Union aged 15 and over residing in the 15 EU member countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Smallest Geographic Unit: country
Multistage national probability samples.
Collection Mode
  • face-to-face interview

    The original data collection was carried out by INRA (International Research Associates [Europe]) on request of the European Commission.

    The codebook and setup files for this collection contain characters with diacritical marks used in many European languages.

    The documentation and/or setup files may contain references to Norway, but Norway was not a participant in this wave of Eurobarometer surveys. This collection contains no data for Norway.

    A split ballot was used for one or more questions in this survey. The variable V700 defines the separate groups.

2010-05-05 The data have been further processed by GESIS, and the SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files, and the codebook have been updated. Also, the SAS transport (XPORT) file has been replaced with a SAS transport (CPORT) file, an SPSS portable file has been replaced with an SPSS system file, and a tab-delimited ASCII data file and a data collection instrument have been added.2007-02-12 The data for this study have undergone further processing completed by the Zentralarchiv (ZA). This study has been updated to include the full ICPSR product suite including SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files in addition to SAS transport (XPORT), SPSS portable, and Stata system files.2002-02-22 The data producer has updated the data and SPSS setup files to include Variables D8 and D11 and to exclude Variables D8_B and D11_B. Also, data for all previously-embargoed variables are now available.
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 2893 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR02893.v1
  • Hayat, Muhammad Azmat, Farvaque, Etienne. Public attitudes towards central bank independence: Lessons from the foundation of the ECB. European Journal of Political Economy.28, (4), 512-523.2012.
    • ID: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2012.05.001 (DOI)
  • Cullis, John, Hudson, John, Jones, Philip. A different rationale for redistribution: Pursuit of happiness in the European Union. Journal of Happiness Studies.12, (2), 323-341.2011.
    • ID: 10.1007/s10902-010-9190-1 (DOI)
  • Simon, Richard M.. Gendered contexts: Masculinity, knowledge, and attitudes toward biotechnology. Public Understanding of Science.20, (3), 334-346.2011.
    • ID: 10.1177/0963662509344272 (DOI)
  • Dion, Michelle. When is it rational to redistribute? A cross-national examination of attitudes toward redistribution. Society of Political Methodology.Iowa City, IA. 2010.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Simon, Richard M.. Gender differences in knowledge and attitude towards biotechnology. Public Understanding of Science.19, (6), 642-653.2010.
    • ID: 10.1177/0963662509335449 (DOI)
  • Costa-Font, Joan, Mossialos, Elias. The public as a limit to technology transfer: The influence of knowledge and beliefs in attitudes towards biotechnology in the UK. Journal of Technology Transfer.31, (6), 629 -2006.
    • ID: 10.1007/s10961-006-0019-3 (DOI)
  • Costa-Font, Joan, Mossialos, Elias, Costa-Font, Montserrat. Erring on the side of caution? The heterogeneity of public perceptions of biotechnology applications in the European Union. Journal of Economic Issues.40, (3), 767 -2006.
  • Bonfadelli, Heinz. Mass media and biotechnology: Knowledge gaps within and between European countries. International Journal of Public Opinion Research.17, (1), 42 -2005.
    • ID: 10.1093/ijpor/edh056 (DOI)
  • Costa-Font, Joan, Mossialos, Elias. 'Ambivalent' individual preferences towards biotechnology in the European Union: Products or processes?. Journal of Risk Research.8, (4), 341-354.2005.
    • ID: 10.1080/1366987042000275091 (DOI)
  • Costa-Font, Joan, Mossialos, Elias. Is dread of genetically modified food associated with the consumers' demand for information?. Applied Economics Letters.12, (14), 859-863.2005.
    • ID: 10.1080/13504850500365830 (DOI)
  • Durant, Robert F., Legge, Jerome S., Jr.. Public opinion, risk perceptions, and genetically modified food regulatory policy: Reassessing the calculus of dissent among European citizens. European Union Politics.6, (2), 181-200.2005.
    • ID: 10.1177/1465116505051982 (DOI)
  • Vilella-Vila, Marta, Costa-Font, Joan, Mossialos, Elias. Consumer involvement and acceptance of biotechnology in the European Union: A specific focus on Spain and the UK. International Journal of Consumer Studies.29, (2), 108-118.2005.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2004.00425.x (DOI)
  • Bonny, Sylvie. Enjeux, determinants et perspectives de l'opposition aux OGM en France et en Europe. Perspectives of the Agri-Food System in the New Millenium.Bologna, Italy: Cooperativa Libraria Universitaria Editrice Bologna. 2003.
  • Grunert, Klaus G., Bredahl, Lone, Scholderer, Joachim. Four questions on European consumers' attitudes toward the use of genetic modification in food production. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies.4, (4), 435-445.2003.
    • ID: 10.1016/S1466-8564(03)00035-3 (DOI)
  • Priest, Susanna Hornig, Bonfadelli, Heinz, Rusanen, Maria. The "Trust Gap" Hypothesis: Predicting Support for Biotechnology Across National Cultures as a Function of Trust in Actors. Risk Analysis.23, (4), 751-766.2003.
    • ID: 10.1111/1539-6924.00353 (DOI)
  • Gutteling, Jan M.. Biotechnology in the Netherlands: Controversy or consensus?. Public Understanding of Science.11, (2), 131-142.2002.
    • ID: 10.1088/0963-6625/11/2/303 (DOI)
  • Rusanen, Timo. Challenging the risk society: The case of Finland. Science Communication.24, (2), 198 -2002.
    • ID: 10.1177/107554702237845 (DOI)
  • Morris, Shane H., Adley, Catherine C.. Irish public perceptions and attitudes to modern biotechnology: An overview with a focus on GM foods. Trends in Biotechnology.19, (2), 43-48.2001.
    • ID: 10.1016/S0167-7799(00)01527-4 (DOI)
  • Noussair, C., Robin, S., Ruffieux, B.. Genetically modified organisms in the food supply: Public opinion vs. consumer behavior. Purdue University, Working paper. 2001.
  • INRA (Europe)--ECOSA. The Europeans and Biotechnology. Brussels: INRA (Europe)--ECOSA. 2000.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 12 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Melich, Anna (2000): Eurobarometer 52.1: Modern Biotechnology, Quality of Life, and Consumers' Access to Justice, November-December 1999. Archival Version. Eurobarometer Survey Series. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.