English title: Bringing Values Back In: The Adequacy of the European Social Survey to Measure Values in 20 countries

Author(s): Eldad Davidov - Peter Schmidt - Shalom H. Schwartz -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2008


Values are prominent in public discourse today. Theorists have long considered values central to understanding attitudes and behaviour. The Scwartz (1992) theory of basic human values has promoted a revival of empirical research on values. The semi-annual European Social Survey (ESS) includes a new 21-item instrument to measure the importance of the ten basic values of the theory. Representative national samples in 20 countries responded to the instrument in 2002-3. We briefly describe the theory and the ESS instrument and assess its adequacy for measuring values across countries. Using multiple group confirmatory factor analyses, augmented with mean-structure information, we assess the configural and measurement (metric) invariance - a precondition for comparing value means across countries. Only if such equivalence is established can reasearchers make meaningful and clearly interpretable cross-national comparisons of value priorities and their correlates. The ESS values scale demonstrates configural and metrice invariance, allowing researchers to us it to study relationships among values, attitudes, behaviour and socio-demographic characteristics across countries. Comparing the mean importance of values across countries is possible only for subsets of countries where scalar invariance holds.

Volume: 72

Issue: 3

From page no: 420

To page no: 445

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1093/POQ/NFN035

Journal: Public Opinion Quarterly

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