A postmaterial crisis? Did the 2008 economic crisis led to a decline in postmaterial values hold by citizens of advanced industrial countries?

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Modernization theory holds that economic development is linked with coherent and, to some extent, predictable changes in culture and social and political life. Inglehart is a prominent scientist standing in this modernization tradition, whereby he focuses on (postmaterial) values hold by citizens. He argues that starting from the 1960s citizens more dominantly hold postmaterial values. This is linked to modernization in the sense that he claims that prolonged periods of prosperity tend to encourage the spread of postmaterial values, economic decline tends to have the opposite effect. This thesis focuses on the second effect and test whether the 2008 economic crisis has led to a decline in postmaterial values. This is descriptively tested on a macro level (advanced industrial countries) and causally tested on a micro level (citizens of advanced industrial countries). The causal model holds that citizens are more insecure about their income due to the economic crisis and therefore have less postmaterial values. The hypotheses are tested using the World Values Survey and the European Social Survey. After examining the different analyses, with varying results, I conclude that it seems to be the case that the expected mechanism is going on. The effects are however that small that I conclude that the change in material vs postmaterial values is not one of the important elements describing the effects of the 2008 economic crisis. Furthermore the dichotomy between material and postmaterial values is criticized.
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