Iran Social Survey

Capturing citizen behavior and attitudes towards elections.


In an effort to capture citizen behavior and attitudes towards presidential and parliamentary elections, political mobilization by candidate campaigns and access to various news media, the Iran Social Survey (ISS) surveyed a nationally representative sample of 5,000 Iranian residents after the 2016 Majles (parliamentary) and Assembly of Experts elections. 

Approach and Objectives

ISS interviewers asked respondents about civil society participation, household usage of state social services, self-identification across ethnic or language groups and family demographics including parents' and grandparents’ occupational histories. The ISS was made possible with the help of the European Middle East Research Group, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.


Journal of Agrarian Change July 2019 - cover image listing articles

"Pen to the tiller: Land reform and social mobility across the 1979 Iranian revolution"

Author: Kevan Harris

Publisher: Journal of Agrarian Change. 2019; 19: 465– 486.

"Giovanni Arrighi joined together questions of agrarian political economy with questions concerning the livelihoods of rural migrants and the fate of peasant communities as they dissipated. This article applies Arrighi's concerns to the case of Iran to examine how processes of agrarian transformation link with trends in social stratification and upward mobility. Through the use of a new survey dataset, it shows how pre‐1979 land reform in Iran favored segments of the peasantry, not for those who remained in rural agricultural production, but instead for those who utilized landholdings as a means to transfer status and opportunities to their children after the 1979 Iranian revolution."


Voter Behavior and Political Mobilization in Iran: Findings from the Iran Social Survey - book cover with geometric pattern

Voter Behavior and Political Mobilization in Iran: Findings from the Iran Social Survey

Authors: Kevan Harris, Daniel Tavana

Publisher: European Middle East Research Group, Lund, Sweden. January 2018.

"The first brief produced from ISS data, this highlights election-related findings relevant for understanding how citizens engage with the political process in Iran. The authors find low levels of identification with national-level political factions, considerable heterogeneity in citizen preferences for presidential and parliamentary candidates and divergence in where citizens receive information about politics. The brief also illustrates large differences in how candidates contact voters before election day." 


“Iran Barometer: Political Challenge and Social Change in the Islamic Republic”

Workshop, Princeton University, Oct. 2017
View poster


Project Lead

Kevan Harris
Postdoctoral Research Associate


Rouzbeh Parsi
Visiting Fellow