The nature of postmaterialism: a comparative study of West Germany and the United States
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The social and economic structures in western societies are changing and with them are the political values of their citizens. This study investigates the nature of post-materialist value orientations in the United States and West Germany. The research aimed at determining whether the indicators that Ronald Inglehart developed almost twenty years ago for explaining valueâ shifts are reliable tools to predict the nature of post-materialist values. These factors are: rising levels of education, a distinct cohort experience, and increased levels of economic security.With the help of mass-survey data from 1974 and 1980 that were collected in the United States and west Germany it was shown that there are other factors that are more powerful for predicting post-material values than the ones specified in Inglehartâ s theory. Moreover, the predictors are of a different explanatory power in the two countries under consideration. A preliminary attempt was made to find the reasons for the phenomenon of national differences.
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