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Journal Article

Measuring Postmaterialism

Ronald Inglehart and Paul R. Abramson
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 93, No. 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 665-677
DOI: 10.2307/2585581
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2585581
Page Count: 13
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Measuring Postmaterialism
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Abstract

This article responds to two critiques of the value change thesis in this issue. Davis and Davenport claim that the four-item index developed by Inglehart is invalid because respondents' first and second choices are randomly related and that it fails to predict respondents' positions on theoretically relevant social issues. We maintain that they make unwarranted assumptions about how responses to ipsative items should be related and demonstrate that the value indicators are powerful predictors. Clarke et al. argue that the trend toward postmaterialism does not result from long-term generational change but simply reflects declining inflation and rising unemployment over the past quarter-century. We show that period effects, particularly inflation, influence observed values. But after controlling for inflation, there is still a substantial shift toward postmaterialism. Moreover, rising unemployment partly offsets the effect of falling inflation.

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