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Hofstede, Inglehart and beyond. New directions in empirical global value research

Tausch, Arno (2015): Hofstede, Inglehart and beyond. New directions in empirical global value research.

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However much we appreciate the enormous scientific contribution by Professor Ronald Inglehart, who initiated the international data collection of the World Values Survey, our re-analysis of the very World Values Survey data [“roll-outs” of the World Values Survey data wvs1981_2008_v20090914.sav] brought us to question Inglehart’s theories, with which he and his associates interpret the mass of the World Values Survey data. Their theoretical approach does not use a sufficiently number of hard-core indicators how global publics view central issues of economic policy, and their theories overemphasize a secularistic view of the religious phenomenon in modern society. Their theories predict the gradual waning of the religious phenomena in parallel with the increase of human security, and even cherish at times the tendencies brought about by such a waning of the religious element in advanced democracies. Inglehart spells them out: higher levels of tolerance for abortion, divorce, homosexuality; the erosion of parental authority, the decrease of the importance of family life et cetera. Is that really something to cherish?

Today, societal and economic development is discontinuous; regional centers of the world economy shift at an enormous speed; and above all, religion and family values can be an important assett in the stability of capitalist development. Economic growth inexorably shifts away from the North Atlantic arena towards new centers of gravitation of the world economy. Alberto Alesina’s and Paola Giuliano’s new maps of global values (Alesina and Giuliano, 2013) present a real break with the hitherto existing secularistic consensus of global value research. Their maps of family ties, respect for parents et cetera coincide with the global map of economic growth today.

Leading representatives of the global economics profession now start to take up the challenge to interpret the mass of the data from the World Values Survey project on their own. The essay by Barro and McCleary (2003) was an important beginning and a good example of how today economic research uses data from the World Values Survey project to study the relationship between religion, denominations and economic growth.

Alesina (2013); Alesina and Angeletos (2005); Alesina and Fuchs-Schündeln (2007); Alesina and Guiliano (2010, 2011, 2013); Alesina, Cozzi and Mantovan (2012); and Alesina, di Tella, and MacCulloch (2004) all show how the economic discipline can gain hard-core, quantitative and valuable insights from comparative knowledge about such phenomena as generalized trust and social capital, individualism, family ties, morality, attitudes toward work and perception of poverty, and religious practice for economic processes.

In our re-analysis, we use the advanced statistical multivariate analysis technique of the Promax factor analysis, which allows for correlations between factors. It is available to the global public via the IBM-SPSS statistical package XXI. We eliminated missing values by listwise delition.

In our first re-analysis, there were 92289 interview partners from around the globe with complete data for all the 30 variables of our research design. Our main model explains 47.89% of the total variance of all the 30 variables. We highlight the relationships between the original 30 variables and the newly derived factor analytical dimensions:

a) economic permissiveness

b) traditional religion

c) racism

d) higher education for the younger generation (education gap between the generations)

e) distrust of the army and the press

f) authoritarian character

g) tolerance and respect

h) the 'ego' company (i. e. the rejection of obedience and unselfishness as values in education)

i) [predominantly] female rejection of the market economy and democracy

We also look at the trajectory of global society by analyzing the factor scores along the path of the Human Development Indicator of the UNDP (“human security indicator”, also used by Inglehart and his associates).

- Economic permissiveness clearly captures the dimension of lawlessness, moral-ethical decay and the shadow economy, so prominent in contemporary economic theory of growth. In statistical terms, it is the most important of all the resulting factors.

- Traditional religion is linked in a very complex way to the absence of economic permissiveness. We also look at the exceptional performers (“residuals”) which best avoided economic permissiveness on each stage of secularization.

We also present Chropleth maps of human values across the globe, and show the regional implications of our analysis.

Our global value development index combines law-abiding and social capital, avoiding racism; trust of the army and the press; no authoritarian character; a high degree of tolerance and respect + post-materialism; and a female acceptance of the market economy and democracy. The weight, given to each factor, corresponds to the Eigen values listed in this work. Our country results show that the five best ranked countries of our entire globe are all western democracies with a solid historical anchoring of their societies in the traditions of the Enlightenment – Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia. But we already find among the next five countries Canada, the two developing countries Vietnam and Tanzania, and the EU-member countries Italy (predominantly Roman Catholic, with a long history of liberal Catholicism since the Second Vatican Council) and Finland (predominantly Protestant). Our global value development index ranks the predominantly Muslim nation of Morocco twelfth – just behind the United States of America – and still ahead the Latin American democracy Uruguay and the EU-country Germany, to be followed by Bosnia and Indonesia.

While in general terms our analysis is quite optimistic about the civil society foundations for a stable democracy for several Muslim countries, including Morocco, Bosnia, Indonesia, Turkey and Jordan, our analysis is fairly pessimistic for the former communist countries and successor states of the former Soviet Union, predominantly Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

In a second factor analysis, we re-analyze the question of Islam and feminism, based on an analysis of all respondents from the World Values Survey. The Muslim population covered in this survey comprises representatives of 62.6% of the Muslim population of our globe.

The data were based on the following variables:

* Age

* Education level (recoded)

* Highest educational level attained

* How important is God in your life

* How often do you attend religious services (never?)

* Important child qualities: religious faith

* Jobs scarce: Men should have more right to a job than women (reject)

* Sex (Gender)

* University is more important for a boy than for a girl (reject)

* Acceptancy of woman as a single parent

The respondents (all denominations) comprised n = 173231 representative global citizens in 83 countries and territories. After Promax factor analysis, three factors explained 53.8% of total variance. While the distance to religious practice is explained to some 4% by the education level (correlation between the two factors is 0.192), one can say with certainty that there is no real sharp contradiction between religion and feminism on a global scale. And while gender determines feminist convictions, contained in our analysis to some 40%, it is also evident that feminist convictions are not only held by women, but also increasingly by enlightened men, non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Interestingly enough, our data also show that people supporting typical feminist contentions, like female access to tertiary education and jobs even at a time of crisis (Factor 3), are not necessarily too strongly in support of the acceptancy of women as a single parent (factor loading 0.352, i. e. only 12.39% of variance explained). Single parenthood is a form of household organization very common now in Western countries: the argument is that marriage is an outdated institution et cetera. Support for single parenthood by women is rather an expression of the distance towards religion around the globe (factor loading of 0.431, i. e. 18.58% of variance explained).

Data emerging from the World Values Survey in the first decade of the 2000s also seem to suggest that the precariousness, which more and more characterizes the economies of leading Western countries leads toward an implosion of what Inglehart and his sociological school of thought interpreted as “self-expression values”. Our analysis of the time series element in the World Values Survey data shows that indeed, global value change seems to correspond to various ups and downs. To this end, we calculated which countries – in descending order – had very high increases or decreases in non-traditional values over preceding World Values Survey surveys from the original WVS website Inglehart’s own data (http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/wvs/articles/folder_published/article_base_54). The very idea that self-expression values in the West are imploding, while in other regions of the world they are rising, is a challenge to existing value theories.

The world, described by Inglehart and Baker, 2000, where in advanced industrial societies people pay large sums of money and travel long distances to experience exotic cultures no longer seems to exist for the “1.000 Euro” generation born after 1975, which experiences more and more job insecurity and hardly finds full-time tenured work opportunities, let alone the financial means to travel to long-distant countries. No wonder then that “self-expression” is dramatically declining in the West.

We also highlight the fact that the latest wave of World Values Survey data, wave 6, from 2010 - 2014, released in May 2014 contains an item which directly asked 74,044 respondents in 52 countries whether they think that self-expression is an important value for child education. The correlation between these data and Inglehart’s self-expression index is negative and the R^2 between the two variables is almost 20%.

Among the twenty countries of our globe with a strong resilience of the self-expression tendencies, there is a greater number of Muslim countries (i.e. members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) among them. Let us think for an instance Inglehart’s theory to its end: according to the World Values Survey data, among the twenty superstars of a resilient trend towards self-expression we find Jordan; Pakistan; Bangladesh; Nigeria; Turkey; Algeria; Egypt; and Uganda!

The most notable implosions or slow developments of self-expression – independent from the secularization process – had to be noted by contrast in western democracies. The resilience of self-expression is explaining more than 1/5 of economic growth in the world system. Muslim countries are among the trend leaders in both directions, i.e. the resilience of self expression, and economic growth during the crisis years. Our Choropleth maps in this part of our article underline our contentions. Even a pure Inglehartian world values analysis would have to come to the conclusion that the value basis of Western society is eroding.

So while the methodology of the two approaches – Inglehart’s and our own – is different, the same conclusions can be drawn from it.

With all the extensions of the World Values Survey project over the last decades, both in terms of geography as well as the completeness of the data, the Inglehart world map of global values recedes into the memory about a world order, which no longer exists and which was severely shattered in its foundations by the tsunami of the global economic crisis of 2008. As we try to show in this article, it was also shattered by the long shadows of the internal corrosion, which social decay and the loss of values brought about long before the 2008 crisis hit the North Atlantic arena.

In addition, we present a still more conclusive proof of the interrelationship between the different types of permissiveness and the weight these factors have in relationship to the other variables contained in the World Values Survey data. Based on our analysis of the complete available data based on 28 items from the World Values Survey from 70 countries of the world, including the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) member countries Albania; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Burkina Faso; Indonesia; Jordan; Kyrgyzstan; Mali; Nigeria; Turkey; and Uganda we attempt to show the interrelationships between permissiveness, the shadow economy, educational values, and other socio-political variables, like fundamental positions on the market economy and democracy.

The nine factors to be extracted from the data for more than 90.000 representative respondents in 70 countries are the following:

- moral (sexual) permissiveness (‘Permissiveness 1’)

- acceptancy of the shadow economy(‘Permissiveness 2’)

- distance from religion (‘Permissiveness 3’)

- educational values: independence and imagination

- distance to market economy values

- education values: responsibility and tolerance

- educational values: determination and perseverance and being against saving

- right wing acceptance of inequality

- educational values: favoring unselfishness, rejecting hard work

Contrary to Inglehart’s expectations about a positive role of the low importance given to religion in society, and divorce and abortion being fully accepted, it emerges that the two factors of permissiveness (permissive family values and the loss of hard-core Max Weberian economic values) are closely interrelated with one another and with the loss of religious values.

Table 5.3 of our article shows the factor loadings for each of the variables analyzed here. The variables with a high importance for “effective democracy”, i. e. tolerance and respect for other people, rejection or acceptance of corruption, and the assessment of democracy as such and vis-à-vis military rule, are highlighted in our Table 5.3. Nowhere there is a notable negative or positive factor analytical loading of beyond 0. 333 (>10% of variance explained) confirming that religious people are antidemocratic, right-wing, and pro or anti-market.

In addition, the structure of the factor loadings even suggests the following:

a) distance from religion is even a motive to reject a democratic political system

b) moral/sexual permissiveness goes hand in hand with economic and social decay

Table 5.4 shows the correlations between the promax factors, extracted from the correlation matrix between the variables of our model. Table 5.5 and Maps 5.1 to 5.9 show the country values for our analysis (“factor scores”) as well as the cascades of moral and social decay in the Western countries and also the evidence for the Muslim countries with available data. Graph 5.5 finally summarizes the pessimistic research findings, which rather support the views of Barro and Schumpeter against the secularistic and permissive logic, proposed by Inglehart.

In Table 5.6 we provide our readers with clear-cut Pearson-Bravais correlation coefficients between the data presented by Hofstede and Inglehart and the factor scores from our own analytical dimensions, presented in this work on the bases of promax factor analysis with individual data from up to more than 80 countries. Table 5.7 shows the Pearson-Bravais correlations between the Ralston et al. dimensions and our results. Ralston et al. is an application of the Schwartz categories to global business people. There was an enormous reception of the works of Shalom Schwartz, an Israeli psychologist and Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem especially in the expanding field of international business studies. Our quantification of Schwartz’s theory relies exclusively on Ralston et al. The reason is simple: Ralston et al., 2011 – somewhat in the tradition of Hofstede - use samples, based on business people (Hofstede: one company, IBM; Ralston et al., 2011: business people in general). Thus his sampling is restricted to a certain segment of society, while Schwartz’s categories are much more encompassing. To provide more encompassing tests of Schwartz’s theory in the framework of theories of overall global value change would be the theme for another essay, and is beyond the scope of this paper.

In Chapter 12 we analyze correlations and also show the relationships of the Ralston et al. business people data with our own dimensions. As with Hofstede and the GLOBE Project, influenced by Hofstede, there is, as we already mentioned, a problem of limited country samples in Ralston et al., 2011. To understand the Ralston et al. framework, one has to emphasize that Schwartz himself presented analyses of data from up to 73 countries, validating seven basic cultural orientations and the structure of interrelations among them: West European, English-speaking, Latin American, East European, and South Asian, Confucian influenced, and African and Middle Eastern.

His seven dimensions are

1. Embeddedness

2. Hierarchy

3. Mastery

4. Affective Autonomy

5. Intellectual Autonomy

6. Egalitarianism

7. Harmony

In many ways, we can show that Hofstede’s Power Distance, Individualism versus Collectivism, Long-Term Orientation, and Indulgence versus Restraint very well correspond to our own factor analyses. The same happens with Inglehart’s main dimensions, traditional versus secular, and survival versus self-expression, which we can well interpret in our own system. In all cases, however, we could avoid some of the problematic assumptions, still inherent in the research by Hofstede and Inglehart.

Table 5.8 shows the correlations of the country scores from Ralston et al.’ work with standard socio-economic indicators. Interestingly enough, Muslim population shares and OIC membership present high correlations with the Ralston et al. factors “Embeddedness”, “Hierarchy” and “Mastery”.

We then debate current contentious political cleavages, especially in Europe in the light of the empirics, as suggested by the World Values Survey. These days, in the leading world newspapers we read stories which tell us a lot about the conflicts about global values in countries like Europe today. Is prostitution justifiable? Is homosexuality justifiable? The French socialists, it seems, for example seem to think that one is not, and the other is. President Hollande and his administration put considerable political energy into legalizing homosexual marriages and prohibiting prostitution. But global citizens hold another view, and there is a high positive correlation of 0.632 between the two items in the World Values Survey, based on 218877 individuals from around the globe. I.e. people in favor of the complete acceptability of homosexuality will also be in favor of the complete acceptability of prostitution and vice versa.

Graph 5.1 highlights the politically, socially and ethically robust and globally applicable message of our article on the drivers of “effective democracy”: a sound gender political agenda, ending the political discrimination of women, and economic freedom will be conducive to “effective democracy”. Nevertheless the path towards “effective democracy” will be one of ups and downs, and especially in developing countries, there will be also certain limits for a too rapid economic liberalization in terms of “effective democracy”.

As the manuscript to this article was about to be finished, the new data of the World Values Survey, 2010-2014 were released, containing yet another enormous wealth of new data, including on the Muslim world. We have chosen to concentrate on two phenomena, which received a large attention on the pages of this article – tolerance and democracy.

In Table 5.12 we calculate a simple UNDP Human Development Index type of Index of Tolerance, minimizing the rejection of neighbors with the following characteristics among the publics of the above mentioned countries of wave 6 of the World Values Survey:

- People who speak a different language

- People of a different religion

- Immigrants/foreign workers

- People of a different race

According to the World Values Survey data, the most tolerant nation on earth today is Uruguay, followed by Sweden; New Zealand; Spain; Trinidad and Tobago; Poland; Rwanda; Colombia; Chile and Australia.

Uzbekistan, Morocco and Kazakhstan are nowadays ahead of Germany; and Pakistan, Qatar and Tunisia are more tolerant than the EU-member country Romania. Some Muslim countries such as Turkey (which is still ahead of the OECD-member country South Korea), have still a poor performance.

Table 5.13 and Maps 5.9 to 5.12 list the World Values Survey results for the average importance given by the global publics to democracy and the standard deviation of this indicator. Where the standard deviation is low, opinions on democracy – either way – are undivided, while high standard deviations indicate that the publics are – often bitterly – divided on the issue of democracy.

Countries with an above than average importance assigned to democracy, and very high internal divisions on this issue are Tunisia; Mexico; Romania; Armenia and Yemen. While there is a general consensus that democracy is important, there are important dissenting voices. Nostalgia for past more authoritarian patterns of government can go hand in hand with economic discontent with present conditions. Countries with an above than average importance assigned to democracy, and very low internal divisions on this issue are the Netherlands; Egypt; Sweden; Turkey; and Cyprus. For anyone, attempting to turn back the clocks of history in such countries could result to be a very costly error. The recent introduction of internet censorship in Turkey would be just one example showing the relevance of this hypothesis.

Countries with still a below than average importance assigned to democracy, but already very high internal divisions on the issue are Libya; Philippines; Qatar; the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and Russia. In these countries and territories, debates on the issue of democracy will surge, one way or the other. While the average importance assigned to democracy is still lower than the world average, the divisions on the issue are already very high, and unforeseen events could trigger a popular movement for more participation and democracy. Finally, countries with a below than average importance assigned to democracy, and very low internal divisions on this issue are Singapore; Rwanda; South Korea; Estonia; and Lebanon. One might expect that the current stagnation in the democratic development of the country will continue: publics don’t assign a great importance to democracy, and they are hardly divided on this issue.

Table 5.13 and our maps also have another, more immediate and direct implication: the dire state of the support of democracy in many Western countries, currently hit by the economic crisis and austerity packages, and the surge of democracy in the Muslim world and the Arab world in particular. That Egypt is ahead of Germany, Uzbekistan ahead of the EU-members Poland and Spain, and a number of other Arab and Muslim countries in general ahead of the United States; and Qatar ahead of the EU-member Estonia with justification could be celebrated by the Arab and Muslim readership of this article.

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