The effect of economic priorities on the measurement of value change: New experimental evidence


Journal Article

The Euro-Barometer values battery has provided much of the empirical evidence for the thesis that a shift from materialist to postmaterialist values has occurred in advanced industrial societies over the past two decades. It has been argued, however, that this widely used instrument is seriously flawed because of its sensitivity to current economic conditions. We present data from experiments in Canada and Germany that tested the performance of the values battery in an era of joblessness. Analyses reveal that (1) substituting an unemployment statement for the standard inflation statement in the battery has major consequences for the classification of respondents as materialist or postmaterialist and (2) answers to the battery are conditioned by the interaction between its content and respondents' economic issue concerns. These findings support the argument that much of the shift from materialist to postmaterialist values recorded by the Euro-Barometer since the early 1980s is a measurement artifact.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Clarke, HD; Kornberg, A; McIntyre, C; Bauer-Kaase, P; Kaase, M

Published Date

  • January 1, 1999

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 93 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 637 - 647

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-5943

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-0554

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2307/2585579

Citation Source

  • Scopus