English title: National Institutional Structures and Self-Enhancement Values: A Multilevel Approach Using the European Social Survey

Author(s): Dennis Köthemann -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2011


Contemporary market-societies can be characterised by a “culture of competition” (Coleman 1987). Competition is “a builder of character, a test of personal worth, and a powerful stimulus to individual achievement that ultimately produces the maximum economic value for society as a whole.” (ibid.) From this point of view living in a market-society has a strong impact on individual value priorities. But as Messner/ Rosenfeld (1994) point out, the influence of market-mechanism on individuals differs between market-societies and depend on national institutional arrangements. Konty (2005) makes the idea more concrete when he agues that the more influence economic social institutions gain the greater the people’s importance of self-enhancement-values. Other social institutions like the family or the polity can counterbalance these effects of societal economic institutions. However recent studies usually use either samples of specific social groups and examine only micro-micro-relations (e.g. Konty) or just take macro-macro-relations into account (e.g. Messner/ Rosenfeld). It lacks research about the question, how different institutional structures at the societal level influence the priority of self-enhancement-values at the individual level. To shed light on the mentioned question in a first step some multilevel-confirmatory-factor-models for self-enhancement-values (Schwartz 1992) with data from the third round of the European Social Survey are estimated. After finding a model supporting cross-country configural invariance in a second step covariates concerning the national institutional structure (Gini-coefficient, Decommodification-index etc.) are introduced. At first glance there is evidence that the more social politics protecting citizen against market-forces the lower the priority of self-enhancement-values. After controlling for national socioeconomic development (GDP per capita, etc.) this effect disappears. Thus not mainly the national institutional structure rather the socioeconomic development seems to be the main social force influencing the priority of citizen’s self-enhancement-values.

Conference name: 4th Conference of the European Survey Research Association

Location: Lausanne

Start date: Jul 18, 2011

Type: Paper

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