World Values Survey

by Henry Farrell on December 14, 2005

I’ve just discovered when poking around for some figures that you can now analyse data from the “World Values Survey”: online. This is a very neat tool, not only for political scientists and sociologists, but for anyone else who’s interested in getting basic information on attitudes in different countries to politics, society and religion. You don’t have to be a stats wizard to play around with the numbers. As far as I’m aware, the Survey is outstandingly the most comprehensive database of its kind.

In other news, Sam Rosenfeld points in comments to an interesting “response”: to the Bartels paper that I “blogged”: a couple of days ago. According to David Gopoian and Ralph Whitehead, whether Bartels is right depends on how you define the white working class, and Bartels, by their books, is working with a non-standard definition. Bartels talks a bit in the paper about definitional questions, but it would be interesting to know what his counter-response would be.



Grand Moff Texan 12.14.05 at 3:38 pm

An interesting site. I wonder if there’s a way to measure, worldwide, the gulf between stated and performed values?


John Emerson 12.15.05 at 11:20 am

In a broad version of the prevailing definition, the white working class consists of white voters whose education has stopped short of a four-year college degree.

Median white working class income was $44,000, which means that many working-class people are making $50,000, $60,000, or more.

Using college as a decider effectively makes the cultural factors dominant — a college graduate earning $25,000 in a coffee shop would not be working class. Using poverty as a decider makes it a compassion issue. (However, excluding retired workers from the working class is tendentious.)

If you imagine two people making $50,000, one college-educated and one not, then the dividers probably will be cultural.

If the working class were redefined as low paid workers of all races (including the lower half, say, of the standard working class), plus retired workers, you would have a politically usable category. Calling someone making $65,000 a year “working class” because he doesn’t have a four-year degree is stupid.

Part of this story may be the way some college degrees have become economically useless, whereas some two-year programs lead to good jobs, and hi-tech as I understand is not degree-obsessed. I’ve known several people who entered two-year tech programs AFTER they’d recieved 4-year degrees.


radek 12.15.05 at 8:22 pm

Am I reading it wrong or does it say that in US in 1990, 71% of respondents Disaproved of abortion when the woman’s unmarried, and 75% when married?

Is this true? If so I’m pretty surprised.


Adam Stephanides 12.16.05 at 10:00 am

I’m no expert, but I was a sociology grad student for a while, and I don’t recall ever seeing anyone define working class the way Gopoian and Whitehead do. I’ve always seen class and education treated as separate variables.

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