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Attitudes toward Individual Responsibility and Political Reform in the Former Soviet Union

Ada W. Finifter
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 90, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 138-152
DOI: 10.2307/2082803
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2082803
Page Count: 15
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Attitudes toward Individual Responsibility and Political Reform in the Former Soviet Union
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Abstract

Based upon a survey of the USSR in December 1989, Finifter and Mickiewicz (1992) found that respondents with higher education were less inclined than those with lower education to support individual, versus state, responsibility, and that supporters of individual responsibility were slightly less likely than those favoring state responsibility to support political change. A recent critique challenged this analysis, arguing that higher education is always associated with support for individual responsibility and that preference for individual responsibility is always positively associated with support for political reform, and reported findings to that effect. This analysis resolves these discrepant findings and clarifies why they occurred. A replication using data from 40 societies demonstrates that the relationship between education and locus of responsibility is not universal; indeed, it appears in only a few countries. Moreover, large differences in sampling and measurement procedures and extraordinary changes over time in the real world contributed to the differences between our findings and those of our critics.

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